Citizen's Committee Recommendation

Governing Board Calls for Special Election
t*Update 5/22/2014*

Last night the Governing Board adopted the resolution to call for a special election to renew the Maintenance & Operation Override.

Thank you to the  Citizens Committee and specifically the Co-chairs for their time and effort on behalf of the district. The positive partnership with our community members truly works for the best interest of GUHSD students.

Additionally, we appreciate our Governing Board!  Not every district can get unanimous approval on such major decisions.  Their true concern for our students and staff is unsurpassed.   

On May 7, 2014, Citizen Committee co-chairs Barbara Hettinger, Paul Maland, and Patti Hussey provided the Governing Board with a recommendation to call for a renewal of the district Maintenance and Operation (M&O) Override election.  

This recommendation comes after the board unanimously approved the formation of a citizens committee to study the current state of the district budget and offer recommendations on the following: 

1)    Whether to call for a Maintenance and Operation Override (M&O) renewal election to be held on November 4, 2014, and if an M&O renewal election is not called for or if the election should fail, the committee was to recommend budget reduction to district programs over the next three years to eliminate the need for override funds, and:
2)    Whether to call for a Capital Outlay Override election to be held on November 4, 2014, and review the need for capital funding and recommend district priorities, and;
3)    To seek alternative sources of revenue in lieu of override funds

With representatives from each school consisting of parents, students, teachers, support staff, community members, and administrators, the citizens committee was formed. The group initially met on February 8, 2014 and were provided an overview of the district maintenance and operation budget, the district capital budget, and participated in a discussion on alternative sources of revenue in lieu of the need for override funding. The committee also discussed possible M&O budget reductions affected by a loss in funding and priorities for capital budget expenditures. 

The information gathered was incorporated into presentations for additional community members on March 10, 11, and 12, 2014. During these presentations questions were answered and community members were able to provide the committee with written input on whether they felt the district should ask the community to support the need for the Maintenance and Operation Override.

On April 17, the committee re-convened to formulate final recommendations for presentation to the Governing Board. After a review of both the committee and community input with regard to district budgets, program costs, capital needs, and possible alternative sources of revenue, the committee offered the following recommendations:   

To the first charge of the Governing Board

“The Citizens Committee unanimously supports the need to call for a renewal of the district Maintenance and Operation Override election and the listed recommendation for budget reductions, if needed. 

The Glendale Union High School District offers a comprehensive and quality education to the children of our community. The loss of $7.2 million dollars would severely impact the district’s ability to continue to provide the valued and necessary programs and education that our students deserve. The renewal of the override funding is the only responsible action that the Board can take. 

The committee was unable to determine specific reductions to the district budget and would not have negative consequences to our schools. Because budget reduction amounts are mandated by state statute, we offer more general areas for budget reduction decisions to be made by the district with the following criteria: 

•    Reductions should have the least impact on the district core curriculum
•    Reductions should affect the fewest number of students possible
•    Reductions should be spread among all stakeholders
•    Reductions should not result in a loss of equity in programs among schools
•    Reductions should be made to modify before elimination of programs 

o the second charge of the Governing Board

The Citizens Committee recognizes the need for capital funding to replace old equipment, upgrade existing facilities, purchase textbooks and buses, and upgrade classroom technology. However, the reality of running two elections, at the same time, could cause confusion and result in the loss of Maintenance and Operation funding. This would be devastating to district programs and to the education of our students. The committee did identify priorities for expenditures of available capital funds. 

The Citizens Committee recommends that a Capital Override election be postponed, but that the district maintain priorities for capital expenditures of safety, technology, and textbooks. 

To the third charge of the Governing Board

The Citizens Committee discussed possible alternative sources of revenue to eliminate the need for budget override funding. It is the conclusion of the committee that alternative revenue sources can generate revenue for the district. However, alternative revenue sources are not sustainable and are not significant enough to forego the need for override funding. 

We understand that ultimately the Governing Board must make the difficult decisions. The committee would like to voice their appreciation to the Board for soliciting input from our community. In addition, as committee co-chairs, we are sincerely grateful to all committee members for their time and effort toward the development of these recommendations. It is our hope that the Board will call for the Maintenance and Operation Override election and that it will be successful. We pledge our support toward this effort.” 

The district is currently in the fifth year of a Maintenance and Operation Override. According to State Law (ARS 15-481), authorization to continue the Maintenance and Operation Override funding must be provided by a majority of votes in a special election. 

On May 21, during their regular 7:30pm meeting, the Governing Board will vote on the Citizens Committee recommendation.   

Related stories:
District seeks community input
Budget overview presentation