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Washington Voices

EVSD may seek bus, tech funds

During Tuesday night’s East Valley School Board meeting, Interim Superintendent Tom Gresch and Assistant Superintendent Brian Aiken discussed the possibility of putting levies for transportation and technology in front of voters in February.

Gresch said it used to be that technology was a luxury in schools, but that’s no longer true.

“Nowadays it’s a necessity,” Gresch said before the meeting Tuesday.

Also, this past year, the district lost two buses, one a 1991. Gresch said the district could get on the state’s depreciation schedule with new vehicles to keep the fleet up-to-date in the future without returning to the voters for more funds.

Though East Valley voters haven’t passed a bond since 1996, they have supported levies.

And Aiken told the board that research shows voter attitudes are supportive of technology and safe buses.

Levies are generally paid off in two to six years, depending on the type, and need a simple majority for approval.

Bonds are generally used for buildings and are paid off over a longer period of time, often 20 years. They require a supermajority of 60 percent for approval.

Gresch said the district needs to ask for the “meat and potatoes,” and be specific.

His staff is putting together a plan for the levies, which he promised to have ready for the board in October.

Also at the meeting, board members got their first look at the budget for 2014-15.

Aiken projects revenues of $48,355,006. Almost 21 percent of that will be from local levy funding, up from almost 20 percent in 2013-14. The state will provide East Valley with 69.9 percent of its budget, which is down from last year from 70.3 percent.

Federal funds will make up 7.6 percent of the budget, down from 8.6 percent.

Aiken expects staffing levels to be reduced by 8.08 full-time equivalent certificated staff members – 7.08 FTE in instructional staff, 1.0 FTE from the central administration and 2.4 FTE in the classified staff.

Expenditures are expected to be $47.49 million, which is up about $107,000 from last year.

There will be a public hearing and the board will vote on a resolution to adopt the new budget at the July 8 meeting.