Dysart Unified School District voters rejected two ballot measures: a bond and a budget override continuation. That could mean cuts in a district that serves more than 20,000 students.
According to a statement, the district will have to delay construction of two elementary schools.
In the Dysart district, 29,898 voted, just under 30% of the total registered voters.
A bond was narrowly rejected, with 15,032 voting against it, topping the Yes votes of 14,667.
A budget override continuation was soundly defeated, with 56% (16,582) voting against, compared to 44% (13.140) voting for.
According to its website, the Dysart Unified School District covers 140 square miles, serving part of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown and Maricopa County in the Northwest Valley. The district boundaries run from Glendale Avenue north to Jomax Road, 115th Avenue west to Airport Road (White Tank Mountains).
The Dysart district has nearly 24,000 students.
According to a statement on the website dysart.org:
“The Dysart Unified School District is extremely fortunate to have dedicated parents, staff, and community members who have worked hard to inform the community about the educational needs of our Dysart schools. Unfortunately, both the bond and override measures on the ballot were not approved.
“The override measure would have secured continued funding for many programs already in place. The funding would have ensured that Dysart can continue to recruit and retain highly qualified staff to maintain manageable class sizes; continue to offer a free full-day Kindergarten; maintain our arts, athletics and physical education programs; and provide math and reading support to students.”
The statement noted override funding is in place (after a successful 2015 election) through the 2020-21 school year.
“If funding is not approved prior to the 2021-2022 school year, the override funding will begin phasing out and cuts will need to be made to balance the budget.”
The bond funding was targeted for “safety and security of our schools, and provided much-needed school and site improvements. We will continue to maintain our fleet of busses, but will not be able to replace our oldest vehicles at this time.
“Despite anticipated growth, we must delay the construction of two new elementary schools and will not yet be able to purchase land for a high school,” according to the statement.
The district is not giving up: “We will not be dissuaded by the low voter turnout, and believe that there is more support for the bond and override than the vote reflects. We will be back next year to again seek community support for these much needed funds.”