Oracle voters OK school budget hike - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Oracle voters OK school budget hike

SaddleBrooke residents lend their support to spending plan

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Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 12:00 am

Voters in the 450-student Oracle School District approved a budget override in last month’s election.

The approval continues an override passed in 2004.

Voters agreed to let the district increase its budget by 10 percent to pay for operations costs.

“I’m very pleased that we live in a community that values education,” Oracle Superintendent Todd Kissick said recently.

Money from the override will continue funding of art, physical education and music programs started after the 2004 election.

It also funds increased teacher pay and smaller class sizes.

Before the past override, most district classrooms had nearly 30 students.

District officials say the average class size now has 22 students.

Teachers also benefited from increased pay with the previous override.

“They’ve made some really good gains,” said Kissick, who came to the district from Seligman, Ariz., at the start of the school term.

With passage of the override, the tax rate will go from $2.92 to $2.87.

The lower tax rate can be attributed to higher property values.

The override amount totals 15 cents per $100 of assessed value and would account for $323,388 in additional funding.

In SaddleBrooke, 56 percent of voters said “yes” to the two override questions.

Voters throughout the school district voted in favor the override by 58 percent.

A third question on the ballot caused some confusion among voters.

The question involved consolidating the district.

The move, also approved by voters, does little more than change the district’s name to Oracle Unified School District.

Kissick said the unification came at the request of state department of education officials. For districts to include elementary and high school programs, unification is required.

While Oracle does not now have enough students to require a high school, the move was taken as a precursor should it become necessary in the future, he said, adding the change will not affect tax rates in the district.

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