Legislative Initiatives 2013 and Associated Historical Information
The Higley Unified School District is promoting it’s 2013 legislative agenda which is supported by members of the Education Finance Reform Group (EFRG). 2013 will be the first year of legislative work whereby HUSD will not have Bond Cap as the lead legislative item.
In 2010, HUSD tried to obtain legislative remedy for repairs to Power Ranch Elementary School. Power Ranch Elementary School was constructed in 2000-2001 using developer donations and School Facility Board funds. The school structures have shown signs of movement in the soils to the extent that the Support Services Division of HUSD contracted with engineers, contractors, architects and attorneys to mitigate the issues at that school. The aforementioned after House Bill 2323 failed to pass approval by the legislature.
In 2011, HUSD tried yet again to obtain the funds necessary to mitigate issues at Power Ranch as well as issues involving maintenance at other HUSD schools. In addition, the continued growth within the district prompted the need for passage of SB 1263. Senate Bill 1263 passed the legislature and was signed into amended session law by Governor Jan Brewer. This legislation allowed HUSD to use the remaining 2006 bond authorization, or $51million Dollars. One law firm in Phoenix felt that SB 1263 was special legislation that might potentially create legal challenges; and as a result of their unwillingness to support SB 1263, other bond counsels also became hesitant and would not subscribe to SB 1263 or the potential sales of bonds under that session law.
In 2012, HUSD tried through the assistance of the Education Finance Reform Group (EFRG), to remove the date amendment to SB 1263 from 2011. This met with opposition from Senate President Steve Pierce who held the bill until it died in his Rules Committee. This action by Senator Pierce in effect removed any chance that HUSD would be able to use the remaining 2006 bond dollars authorized by Higley Voters to improve our schools and construct new schools as growth dictated.
In 2013, HUSD through EFRG is advocating for the following legislative items:
1. Include “All Day Kindergarten” in override calculations, and
2. Restore the Building Renewal Fund (BRF) to the School Facilities Board Budget, and
3. Restore the Bond Capacity for school districts, and
4. Extend the length of override to ten years from the current seven years, and
5. Fund the Capital Outlay Revenue Fund or CORL, and
6. Restore funding to Soft Capital fund.
HUSD will also ask that the legislature require public utility companies to schedule rate increases between January and April of each year. This will allow districts to incorporate rate increases into the budget which is due in July of each year to the State of Arizona. HUSD will also be seeking for the removal of the five year lease restriction for public schools. This would allow for growing districts to address facilities needs until the reforms in school funding can be realized.