Proposition 403 might be approved - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Proposition 403 might be approved

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Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2009 12:00 am

As of Thursday afternoon, votes are still being tallied for the Amphitheater School District's two budget override propositions. Proposition 403 is currently passing by a narrow margin of 5 votes, according to the Pima County Elections website.

Proposition 404 currently appears to be defeated by 375 votes.

Amphitheater School District's Chief Financial Officer Scott Little is optimistic as the votes continue to be tallied.

"We could just have a couple hundred (uncounted ballots) and it could still make a difference in the outcome of this," said Little. "I have seen this on many an occasion. But, I'm not saying it guarantees the results are going to change. I am just saying it isn't over yet."

Proposition 403, the maintenance and operations override, is currently approved by 5 votes, with 9,526 (50.01 percent) in favor, 9,521 (49.99 percent) against.

Proposition 404, the capital override, is currently defeated by 375 votes, with 9,733 (50.98 percent) against, 9,358 (49.02 percent) in favor.

Thursday afternoon, Amphitheater School District Superintendent Dr. Vicki Balentine was "cautiously joyful."

"The bottom line is we can't declare we have lost," Balentine said. "We are cautiously optimistic that we have a continuation of the M&O override that is very critical for the students in our district in their class sizes, elective offerings, art, music and P.E. that make for a well rounded education."

Proposition 403 would continue the current maintenance and operations budget override of about $7.5 million each school year. Proposition 404 would add a capital budget override of about $2 million each school year.

Out of 71,029 registered voters, 26.9 percent voted.

If proposition 403 is defeated, the school district will have to phase out the current budget override by cutting expenses of about $2.7 million out of the budget annually over the course of three years, until the current, voter-approved override expires.

In 2005, voters passed a maintenance and operations budget override, allotting the district $7.5 million more than the state was already providing. At that time, the proposition passed by a 2-1 margin, 66.03 percent to 33.97 percent. Turnout in 2005 represented 8.3 percent of registered voters.

The maintenance and operations budget override has allowed Amphitheater to maintain lower class sizes in core subjects, to offer expanded elementary school art, music and physical education classes, to provide academic assistance programs, and to augment teacher compensation, among other uses.

The capital budget override is designed to help the district upgrade its computer labs and network equipment. It would also have been used to replace computer workstations, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

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