By Philip Haldiman, Independent Newsmedia
The Peoria Unified School District’s 2017-18 budget will remain similar to last year’s budget.
Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Hicks said differences will include a 1 percent increase to teachers provided by the state legislature and a small raise to eligible staff.
A public hearing will be held July 13.
The maintenance and operating budget is about $212.3 million, a very small increase from last year’s budget of roughly the same amount, he said.
“The biggest changes this year are compensation increases,” Mr. Hicks said. “But by and large everything is pretty much the same.”
The budget also includes an increase in utilities costs by $49,000, and $776,934 for the implementation of Prop 206, which increased the minimum wage to $10 in 2017, and then incrementally to $12 by 2020.
Mr. Hicks said the budget process is in its last steps, marching toward the 2018 final budget.
At this point the budget can change even though it probably won’t, but it will not go up, he said.
“This is when the board officially approves a proposed budget that then becomes the budget that is posted to our website and to ADE (Arizona Department of Education), and allows our community to look at its detailed forms,” he said. “Then we come back July 13 for the board meeting and approve this budget.”
Mr. Hicks said the maintenance and operating budget and capital budgets are determined by student count.
The weighted student count for the 2018 budget, derived from the PUSD student population, is 47,230, a slight decrease of 130 students from the previous year.
The weighted count adjusts data to reflect differences in the school population and is based on the roughly 37,000 PUSD students, equaling about $5,738 per student.
“If (if the weighted student count) goes up, we get more money but if it goes down we will get less money,” Mr. Hicks said.
Residents can expect an estimated primary property tax rate of $4.34, an approximate decrease of $.44 and an estimated secondary property tax rate of $3.26, an approximate increase of $.01.
Mr. Hicks said the district submits the proposed budget to Maricopa County, where the tax rate is calculated.
“We don’t set the tax rate, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors sets the tax rate in their August meeting, based on more accurate data,” Mr. Hicks said. “These are estimates but our tax rate will be going down. The biggest driver of it going down is actual growth. Our assessed valuation is growing not just by the number of new homes, but by existing homes as well.”