The East Valley School District will only collect half of a $3 million transportation levy following a clerical error.
The two-year levy was approved in April of 2015 and was meant to replace the district’s aging buses, some of which are 18 years old. The district failed to certify the levy, however, meaning the county didn’t collect any levy money in 2016.
According to a letter sent to East Valley residents earlier this month, the school board believes collecting the full amount in one year would “place a financial hardship on some of our residents.”
District Superintendent Kelly Shea said community members who spoke to the board of directors were evenly split about whether to collect the full amount in one year, or to only collect half.
With half the money, the district will be able to buy 12 or 13 new buses, about half of the district’s fleet. Shea said after collecting the $1.5 million in 2017, the district will reassess, potentially considering putting a $1.5 million transportation levy back on the ballot.
Shea said the older buses are still “solid buses, they are still running.”
The primary reason to modernize the fleet is to get all buses on the state’s depreciation schedule, which requires buses to be newer than 13 years old. Buses on that schedule are eligible for reimbursements from the state.
For the $1.5 million to be collected, voters will pay roughly 52 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The collection will start in January 2017 and will end in December.
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