The Higley USD governing board heard a third review of a possible capital bond for the November ballot at its May 19 meeting.

That is the last time the board will hear about it before deciding at its June 9 meeting whether to put it before voters in the fall.

Interim Chief Financial Officer Jeff Gadd and Finance Director Tyler Moore presented the specifics to the board on the proposed $95 million bond as they had done before, saying the emphasis was on funding technology and safety and security, with $15.5 million spent in those areas. It also includes:

  • $3.5 million for transportation;

  • $32 million for a possible lease purchase of one of the district’s two middle schools;

  • $2.5 million for land purchase if needed for another school;

  • $11 million for a major maintenance program;

  • $27 million for major projects; and

  • $3.5 million for contingency.

The $95 million represents most of the district’s $129 million in available bond capacity, but Moore and Gadd noted as assessed values in the district go up, the available capacity will recover in the next few years if another bond is needed.

If passed, the bond would increase the district’s secondary property tax rate by $0.14 per $100 in assessed value, taking it from $1.44 to $1.58.

By way of example, Moore said a home with an assessed value of $246,000 would see an estimated annual cost increase of $140, or less than $12 a month, on the secondary property tax.

The combined primary and secondary property tax rate of $6.91 in HUSD is less than what Is paid in neighboring Gilbert Public Schools, Mesa Public Schools or Queen Creek USD.

Other items

  • Human Resources Executive Director Mum Martens said employees’ vision plan will be changing, and employees will pay slightly more out of pocket in premiums but with some tradeoffs in better benefits.

  • After a lengthy evaluation of two competing proposals, the district will change its insurance carrier for liability insurance and workers’ compensation to the Arizona Risk Retention Trust.

  • The board identified its priorities for the Arizona School Board Association’s legislative agenda: manage the impact of COVID-19 on schools, require public accountability for taxpayer dollars spent on education, rethink and redefine state standardized testing so that it is meaningful, and equitably fund district schools to at least the national median of per-pupil funding. It also chose as alternatives: Fully restore ninth-grade career and technical education eligibility and funding to allow students to explore career fields and/or certification completion, and fully fund full-day kindergarten and include kindergarten students in override calculations.