MARICOPA — Some members of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board disagree on the amount needed for a proposed capital bond issue to go before voters Nov. 5.
The bonds are seen as vital for the needs of MUSD, with plans for a new high school and other capital needs that are set to replace life cycle items and to renovate the schools. The total of all proposed capital projects comes to more than $140 million.
However, during the Wednesday board meeting, members Patti Coutre and Torri Anderson disagreed on the amount. Coutre was set on $75 million in bonds, while Anderson believed that amount was too high and preferred $65 million. MUSD board President AnnaMarie Knorr was on board with the $65 million while Vice President Ben Owens agreed with Coutre on the $75 million. Josh Judd was not present at the meeting, while Knorr participated via phone.
Anderson said the $75 million number is too high and was sure that adding more than $100 more on homeowners' tax bills per year would mean exceeding taxpayers’ expectations. She said MUSD could lose the election and she would rather go for a conservative amount.
“If we lose in this election, we will not pass it in 2020,” Anderson said.
On the other hand, Coutre emphasized that sacrifices need to be made for a prosperous future for MUSD and the growing city of Maricopa.
“I’m willing to make sacrifices for my kids,” Couture said. “It’s going to be worth it at the end.”
Anderson originally wanted to pass a $50 million bond issue and explained the possible plan of asking for another one after five years.
However, Coutre explained that the longer the wait, the more expensive it will be. She also said that passing budget overrides will be harder in the future, and therefore, the $75 million is the right amount.
Although the new high school might have fewer amenities, Knorr wants to make sure the opportunities are still there for the students.
“I just want to make sure that all of our students have equal access to opportunities in all schools,” Knorr said. “And making sure that schools are safe.”
The board members have decided to add a special meeting on July 3 to further discuss the issue and decide on the bond amount.