Mesa Voters To Decide On Public School Budget Increase

By Mariana Dale
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 11:08am
Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 11:09am

Mesa Public Schools
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
Mesa Public Schools is the largest district in the state.

Mesa Public Schools is asking voters to approve a budget increase this fall.

“This allows our local voters to support their schools by providing just a little bit more, 15 percent of our budget, so we can do the programs and provide the quality teachers we’ve been providing for years,” said Scott Thompson,  an assistant superintendent in the district.

Mesa Public Schools has relied on a budget override since 1995. Without a new override, the existing 10 percent override will decrease by one-third starting in the 2020-21 school year.

An override election in 2018 failed. Voters did pass a $300 million bond proposal to fund building repairs, school buses and technology upgrades.

The money for the budget increase comes from local property taxes, an estimated $14.76 additional per month per $100,000 of assessed value.

Without the override, Mesa Public Schools faces more a more than $10 million budget deficit.

“We’ve got expenses that have increased and we’re finding it more and more challenging to provide the services the district has always provided,” Thompson said.

For example, Thompson says the district doesn’t receive enough money from the state to give a promised 20 percent teacher pay raise by 2020. The district also has to increase its minimum wage to $12 next year.

A survey of likely voters conducted by HighGround, Inc. found 60 percent of people think school funding in Mesa is too low. 

People identified attracting and retaining quality teachers, preparing students for college and work and school safety as top priorities. 

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