Dear Parents, Community and CCUSD Staff,
The 2017 Arizona Legislative Session is currently in session and in the process of creating, reviewing and voting on bills that will either not move forward or continue through the Legislative process until they become law. Many of you received emails from me over the past few weeks asking for your help with House Bill (HB) 2001. This bill is sponsored by Representative Heather Carter, who represents the western portion of our school district (District 15). In case you missed it, here is some of the detail of HB 2001 and why we feel it would be helpful to CCUSD and 8 other AZ school districts in similar situations:
In July of 2007, the State of AZ forced the area known as Troon-Rio Verde into our school district. Prior to that, this area was "unorganized" and did not pay school district taxes. Not wanting to be in a school district, Troon-Rio Verde formed their own school district-Christopher Verde School District-although they had no students or schools. The state still said they would have to be part of CCUSD since most of the students in the area went to our schools. At that point, Troon-Rio Verde and the Christopher Verde School District sued the state of AZ and ultimately lost. In 2008, their tax bills reflected school taxes for CCUSD.
Since that time, CCUSD has not been able to pass override elections, with a large number of "no votes" coming from the Troon-Rio Verde area. About 3 years ago, our CCUSD school district taxes dropped so low, that the state started assessing an additional tax on our homeowners called "Additional Education Aid-Cave Creek" as part of our tax bills. This tax collects about $5.4 million dollars that goes out of the district and into the General Fund. CCUSD is a "non-state aid" district, meaning that our CCUSD taxes pay for our schools and we do not receive our funding from the General Fund. However, almost all school districts and all charters do get their funding from this fund. So, our additional tax is funding our district neighbors who also have overrides, but none of this tax goes to support CCUSD schools. We would like to keep funding generated by our community in our community.
Representative Carter's HB 2001 would allow CCUSD schools to receive a portion of the $5.4 million, as long as we do not have an override in place. It would allow us, and the other 8 districts in similar circumstances, to recoup the average amount per pupil that the districts contiguous to us receive. More specifically, we would receive the average amount per pupil that Paradise Valley Unified School District, Deer Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills receive from their overrides. It would come out of the money our taxpayers are already paying and would not be an additional tax.
HB 2001 has already passed out of the Ways and Means Committee (thank you especially Reps. Ugenti-Rita and Lawrence in CCUSD's District 1 for voting for it) and will next need to be placed on the Rules Committee for consideration. We will keep you posted. Please call 480-575-2016 for further information. I look forward to seeing you in our schools!
Debbi Burdick, Ed.D.