Facing limited funding from the state and rising costs, the Chino Valley Unified School District has formed a committee to explore putting a 10-year, $10 million bond measure on the November ballot.
The committee, headed by CVUSD superintendent Duane Howard, has met twice in the past few weeks, most recently Tuesday, April 23, when they toured the bus barn behind the high school.
"Right now we are at the exploratory phase," said Howard. "The reality we're facing is that over the last four or five years, the state legislature has cut public education by 20 percent. For us, the Chino Valley School District, that means we have lost over $4 million that we will never recover. A million bucks a year at a minimum."
Howard said one of the major expenses the district faces is transportation.
"Right out of the gate, we need five buses," Howard said. "Our current fleet is costing us more to maintain that it would be to provide newer, safer transportation. These buses are about $150,000 each."
Howard recently met with local legislators Rep. Karen Fann, Sen. Steve Peirce, and House Speaker Andy Tobin, and said all three recognize the needs of the district.
"These three are facing the same battle at the legislative level, but I firmly believe they understand the issue we're facing and support what we need to do," said Howard.
According to John Scholl, Support Services Director for the CVUSD, the district's last bond proposal was approved in the late 1990s and is expiring this year.
Scholl said it paid for construction of Territorial Elementary School and several projects at the high school, including the science and music buildings, the track, and the football stadium. Scholl added that he's confident if voters approve a new bond to replace the expiring one, the district will be able to tackle some of its major financial problems without hurting the taxpayers too much.
"The bottom line for the taxpayers is that if a bond is approved by the voters, the overall tax base will be the same as now or even a little less," said Scholl.
Under the current bond, the tax rate is about $73 per year on a $100,000 home. The new bond proposal would be closer to $40 for the same $100,000 home.
Scholl said there are several ways districts can raise money, but a bond measure gives the taxpayers the most control over spending.
"We could do a M & O (maintenance and operation) override, we could do a capital override," said Scholl. " But the big difference is that in a bond, we have to lay out exactly what we are going to spend the money for. If we decide to go for the bond, it really gives the taxpayer control over where the money is spent. We have to itemize exactly how the money is spent."
Howard's office sent out 30 invitations for the committee and selected 15 members from those who responded.
"We have a good cross section of the community," said Howard. "We identified people that we knew would have differing views on taxation and education. We wanted to include people that we would have to prove the need to."
Howard said in the initial committee meeting, he explained that the issue isn't as much about spending as it is about funding.
"The reality we face is that we have some major expenses and we don't have the funding," said Howard. "What we want to do is live within our resources. We have already started that process by addressing some staffing issues and some of our square footage issues. We're looking for ways to reduce our spending and live within our means because we want to be good stewards. But without the state funding and without the bond, we wont be able to maintain our buildings and our buses aren't going to run."
Howard said one of the major hurdles for the bond is getting the support of those who don't have school age kids.
"I'm trying to show them that we're in this boat together," said Howard. "Studies show that for every dollar you spend on education, the community gets $1.50 back. It's cost effective to invest in education. Even if you don't have kids in the district, the school is supporting you in that the public education system helps everyone in the community by educating the community."
If the measure gets support from the committee, Howard said he hopes to present the measure to the CVUSD board for approval during the June board meeting.
If approved by the board, the process will then move forward to place the measure on the November ballot.
Board meetings are the second Monday of each month at 650 East Center Street at 6 p.m.
Visit www.chinovalley.schooldesk.net for more information.
Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Article comment by:
SO HE WOULD LIKE NEW SCHOOL BUSES? WITH THE DECLINING SCHOOL ENROLMENT DO WE NEED THEM? SOME ONE FROM PAULDEN ASKED WHY WE CAN'T COMBINE CLASSES / SCHOOLS FOR BETTER USE OF EACH BUS. I JUST TALKED TO MY BROTHER -IN- LAW IN LAS VEGAS. HE IS A RETIRED SUPERINTENDENT OF ONE OF THE THREE SCHOOL BUS BARNS IN LAS VEGAS. THE EARLYIEST THEY RETIRE A BUS IS TEN YEARS. BUT GIVEN THE ROUTES THOSE BUSES COVER IN ONE DAY IS A DROP IN THE BUCKET COMPAIRED TO CHINO. CHAMPIGNE vs BEER or JUST SPARKLETS WATER. THINK ABOUT IT.
Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by:
CVUSD should show us how much they have saved, or not saved, with their upgraded energy system, going to 4 day school weeks, outsourcing the cafeteria service, RIFing teachers, cutting programs, etc. I don't like the thought of dumping more money into a school district if it's not being managed well. I would be more for this if the teachers got a raise. It's my understanding they haven't had one in years.
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by:
NO MORE TAXES!
NO! NO! NO! 44% of my property taxes go to the Chino Valley School District. My taxes are high enough thanks to the school district. NO MORE TAXES for you!