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SOCSD budget override headed for ballot

The Sedona Oak Creek School District will move toward updating the existing 15% maintenance budget override in a vote on Tuesday, November 7.

“Arizona is [education] It creates a budget, assigns it to districts, and tells you what your base level of support is. This year, that growth rate is 2.92%,” said SOCSD Director of Finance and Human Resources Stacey Sarabo. “And the M&O Override is funding that asks communities to help strengthen some of these programs and will be an addition to state-approved budgets.”

The override requires voter approval and is estimated at $841,695. This funding will be funded by an estimated annual tax rate of $11.72 per $100,000 valuation. This is approximately the current tax rate imposed on existing overrides.

This is not an additional tax or surcharge, and the Board estimates that the tax on a home with an average price of $455,500 will be approximately $53.39. According to local real estate agent Roy Grimm,

The median listing price for a Sedona home in May 2023 is $1.13 million, so the override would cost $132.44 per home.

M&O overrides can be approved for up to seven years. If the nullification is passed in the November election, it will take effect in the 2024-25 fiscal year. If this override is rejected by voters, the current override will be phased out over the next two years, with a 33% reduction in the first year and a 67% reduction in the following year.

SOCSD Superintendent Dennis Dearden said one of his first tasks when he took over the district in 2018 was getting voter approval for the override. The override passed 57.2% for $832,464. His eventual successor, due to be elected during the summer, will be responsible for determining the next invalidation of the polls.

“[It] This basically means that we can go to the public disclosure that we do every six years and ask for an override of up to 15% of the budget,” Dearden said. “We use this for full-day kindergarten, arts programs, music, teacher attraction and retention, technology initiatives, and physical education. will be.”

SOCSD’s total budget for 2022-23 is $6.68 million.

“85% of the total budget goes directly to salaries,” Sarabo said. “So there isn’t much left to spend on day-to-day operations. So to give staff a sufficient increase, we need mostly a budget override, making salaries attractive to staff and future teachers. must be maintained.”

The school district has filled nearly all of its Fall 2023 teaching positions, but is still interviewing English Learner teachers and behavioral intervention specialists. SOCSD is looking to hire coaches and school bus drivers across the school district and is now accepting applications for district superintendent positions.

Sarabo attributes high morale, low turnover and low turnover this year to the near-full staffing. The average salary for all SOCSD teachers is $45,882, up from an average of $44,022 last year, which helps keep classroom sizes low.

This override also supports full-day kindergartens for children in Sedona, filling the budget shortfall as Arizona only funds half-day kindergartens.

“Programs such as arts, music and physical education are curricular activities and we are able to prioritize funding for these positions,” Sarabo added. “[And it also] We support 1:1 Chromebooks per student and ensure our staff are also using the latest computers and technology. ”

The deadline for submissions of pro or against invalidation statements to the Yavapai County School Superintendent’s Office is Friday, August 11.

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