It seems that School boards consider themselves and their schools "special snowflakes" that respond to economic downturns by making YOU tighten your belt, not them. And of course, they always blame the Arizona Legislature for not giving them more money.
Mesa has a population of 452,084. About 26.3% are children under the age of 18. That’s about 119,000 kids, not all of whom are going to school, and some of whom are attending charter schools.
In this recent article by Michelle Reese of the East Valley Tribune, we learn that:
1. The Mesa Unified School District governing board approved Tuesday night a $562.3 million budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which began July 1.
2. The total budget for the district is just about $6 million less than last year’s budget. (They "tightened their belts” by 1%.)
3. The bulk of the budget – $372 million – goes toward maintenance and operations funds, money used primarily to fund staff salaries and benefits.
4. The district estimates its overall tax rate on Mesa property owners will increase .6784, from 6.8714 to 7.598.
5. Mesa voters approved a $230 million bond package in November to buy buses and technology, repair schools and construct buildings where needed.
6. Teachers in Mesa got a raise this year, though they are also seeing an increase in state-mandated retirement contributions, as they have for the past few years.
7. Teachers will receive 3 percent more during the upcoming school year. Other bonuses may be available.
8. Teachers received a 2.2 percent increase last year and a stipend and 1 percent increase the prior year.
How much indebtedness exists in the Mesa Schools?