Your Bond Dollars at Work
Strengthening Our Schools & Neighborhoods Together. Thank You!
Each year we like to update you on how we are good stewards of your taxpayer dollars. As you probably recall, because of our community support the 2015 District Bond Election was approved by more than 75% of the voters. This was the strongest support experienced by any district across the valley. Thank you for your support! With your support, we can continue to strengthen our neighborhoods together!
Because school finance can be a little difficult to navigate, here is a quick overview of the types of elections school districts call for and how dollars can be spent according to state law.
There are three types of elections districts sometimes hold. They are:
- Bond Election – Districts use funds from voter-approved bond elections for projects that have a useful lifespan greater than five years. A bond is a loan the district receives from individuals who purchase the bonds. Our district bond rating is A+. Money generated from a bond election can only be spent on buildings and grounds, school furniture, equipment, technology and transportation vehicles. It cannot be spent on salaries.
- Maintenance & Operations Override – To continue existing programs and services, school districts call for Maintenance & Operations Overrides. M&O Overrides work to continue to provide student support services, recruiting and retaining qualified education professionals and delivering high quality curriculum and instruction.
- Capital Overrides – To continue preventative maintenance on buildings and systems, purchase curricular resources and replace aging technology, school districts call for Capital Overrides. Capital Overrides help districts provide funding for technology devices, curricular software and applications, curricular materials and system software.
Here are simple examples of how school districts can spend dollars:
- Maintenance & Operations (M&O) – Funds from Maintenance & Override are used for running the schools and funding employee salaries and benefits, purchasing classroom supplies and providing transportation.
- Capital – Capital funds are used to build and equip schools, repair and upgrade existing buildings, purchase school buses and purchase technology.
Hopefully those examples and descriptions of school finance are helpful as we move forward to explain how we are using the dollars from our 2015 Bond Election to strengthen our schools and our neighborhoods. As is often said, “As the schools go, so goes the community.”
At the November 3, 2015 election, voters approved for the district to request bonds totally $59.5 million dollars. Over the past two years since the election, we have been very focused on updating our infrastructure and buildings and creating classrooms for students that are high-tech, wireless internet enabled and support the integration of a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
Since the 2015 Bond Election was approved by our voters, we have been hard at work making sure our schools are safer and more comfortable for students and staff and enhance our neighborhoods, as well as purchasing new student transportation buses and building the technology infrastructure required to implement updated technology tools for learning. Here is an overview of some of these projects:
10 New Blue Bird Buses were purchased and then received by in November of 2016. Updating our fleet because of voter support enables us to better insure student safety. In addition, our bus drivers complete morning and afternoon safety checks before the buses leave the yard to insure we are always regulations compliant. Our drivers receive multiple hours of training each month on vehicle operations and student management. As a result of all these factors, we are pleased with our bus safety and reliability record.
A technology network infrastructure has been underway since 2015 at all District sites and campuses. It includes all the equipment and cabling necessary to provide connectivity to the main distribution facility at the District office to each site and Internet and is capable of transmitting data, voice and image signals at 10 Gbs Previously we were limited to 1 Gbs. It removes limitations on the types of devices that can be made available in our classrooms and to all District employees. With this new infrastructure online AzMerit testing can be conducted, classrooms can be configured in multiple ways and all students can be on technology tools without impeding the productivity of the network. File servers were replaced and the newest operating system from Microsoft was licensed bringing numerous productivity benefits to students and staff. The purchase of new computers is underway.
To better secure our campus front offices, security upgrades have taken place across our campuses. A few of the security upgrades are presently underway and will be completed by the time school starts on August 2nd. Each school front office now include bullet resistant materials separating school staff from outside visitors and secured doors to determine who may enter.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning upgrades, as well as painting and refrigeration projects are being completed at Garfield, Edison, Heard Schools and ASU Preparatory Academy.
Community members have been highly involved in projects underway at Garfield and Edison Schools to beautify the campuses that will better integrate them into the community and certainly improve the neighborhood and should lead to higher property values. For example, parents at Edison School requested more shade and safe barriers at the front of the school where they wait to pick up their children after school. The parents at Garfield School anxiously await the facelift to the school and have provided critical feedback regarding the community gardens, murals and access to the campus.
Potential Enhancements to Garfield School
The table below provides a quick overview of the $20 million bond dollars approved for spending from the 2015 Bond Election and our progress on those projects to-date.
COMPLETED & UNDERWAY
Furniture, Fixtures & Electrical
Boiler @ Kenilworth
AC in Server Rooms
Parking Lot Upgrades
Fire Alarm Upgrades
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF OUR STUDENTS & STAFF AT PHOENIX #1!