2016 Bond/ Override

Letter to the Community

THE 2016 Override
Proposition 451


prop 451

The passage of Proposition 451, a Capital Override, would provide the district $1 million each year for the next 7 years. 


THE 2016 Bond
Proposition 452



The passage of Proposition 452 would result in a $25 million bond for a new K-8 school as well as new classrooms on the main campus (by replacing old portable buildings on the main campus.)


See the Summary of the May 2016 Community Survey to determine the level of public support for proposed elements of a 2015 bond initiative for the district.

Bond Publications

2016 Bond/Override Presentation

Voter Information Pamphlet


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a school bond?

Much like a home mortgage, a bond is a contract to borrow money and repay it with interest. Bonds allow the district to finance new school construction, renovations and additions, equipment, technology infrastructure and the purchase of land.

What is an override?

Overrides are used to provide additional funding to support what happens inside school classrooms (teaching, learning and operations). A Maintenance and Operations override (M&O) supports things such as teacher salaries, benefits, supplies and general operations. A capital override funds equipment, furniture, technology, vehicles, etc.

What are capital improvements?

Capital improvements are large expenditures expected to have long-term use, such as new schools, renovations, furniture, equipment, school buses, technology infrastructure and school sites.

What challenges led to the calling of the 2016 Bond/ Override Election?

Arizona’s school districts have lost about 85% of funding for capital outlay, due to State budget reductions. These funds pay for facility repairs, books, school buses, instructional technology, fine arts and athletic equipment, and classroom furniture. Over the last five years, SUSD has grown in student enrollment by an average of about 4% per year, which was about 200 students this past year.

How was the amount of the Bond/Override Election determined?

In order to proactively plan for future needs, SUSD is constantly reviewing sources of data, including student enrollment growth trends, capacity of school facilities, financial data, and emerging development directions. The data clearly indicates ongoing, significant growth patterns and diminishing school capacities to accommodate the growth. Stakeholder outreach efforts, including community conversations and surveys, were implemented to communicate about the issues, and gather feedback about possible solutions. After considering the data and possible solutions, a recommendation was made to the SUSD Governing Board.

What is the proposed duration of the property tax used to repay the bond? 20 years, 30 years, 7 years?

The duration of property tax used to repay the bond would be 20 years.

How far into the future will this bond program support the district?

As a growing district, in a growing community, it is foreseeable that new schools will continue to be part of our future. This particular building is anticipated to relieve the current and emerging pressure in the K-8 levels for the next five (5) years. These trends are constantly being monitored in order to support proactive planning efforts.

How does the bond program affect me if I do not have children in school?

Good schools correlate with higher property values. By investing in the public schools in Sahuarita, you are investing in the long-term value of your home.

What will happen if voters do not approve the bond package?

Class sizes at the K-8 grade level will continue to grow. Schools will exceed maximum capacity, and non-instructional spaces will have to be used as classroom space.

When was Sahuarita USD’s last bond election? Override election?

The last voter-approved bond was in 2009. All targeted bond objectives were completed, on time, and at or below budget. A bond proposal appeared on the November 2015 ballot, but was narrowly defeated.

The last voter-approved capital override was in 2007. The capital override was not renewed on the 2014 election ballot.

What can we do to help the bond and override pass for our school?

Information is available about the school needs, objectives of the bond, costs, and overall implications through the school district. There is also an advocacy organization, called Yes For Sahuarita Schools, which welcomes community involvement in overt efforts to pass the bond and override.

Can bond funds be used to hire more teachers or improve teacher salaries?

Bond funds may not be used for operating expenses like teacher staffing or raising teacher salaries. Basically, they are designed to fund bricks and mortar type of projects and associated equipment.

Does the district pay for short-term assets (such as technology and buses) over a 30-year period of time?

Bond dollars may be used to buy some capital assets with a shorter lifespan. Although the regulations require such items to be paid within a shorter, five(5) year time span, community feedback suggests a preference for purchasing capital items with a shorter lifespan via a current year capital override, hence the determination to pursue a capital override.

If voters approve the bond referendum, is the entire amount issued all at once?

No bonds authorized to be issued by an election held after November 24, 2009, may be issued more than ten years after the date of the election.(15-1021). However, given the urgency of the targeted objectives, it is anticipated that these bonds will be sold within two years, to support the opening of a new school by Fall 2018. 

Does Sahuarita USD use competitive bids for construction projects?

The bid process is closely governed by specific procurement rules and regulations. The District could go out in a traditional “hard bid” process. More common in today’s school construction environment is the Construction Management At Risk (CMAR). In CMAR, the District will go out in a Request For Qualifications (RFQ), where different contractors present their credentials for such a large project. A committee of qualified professional members will review, evaluate, and make a recommendation to the Superintendent for final approval by the Governing Board.

The District then works with its architect to develop the project and determine a guaranteed maximum price. This collaborative process supports a cohesive and shared commitment to delivering the final product on time, under the GMP, and to a high standard.

Will Sahuarita USD be able to sell its bonds at a favorable rate?

Interest rates in the current market are still favorably low. Barring any major fluctuations in the coming months, it is anticipated that the lending rate will be in line with current trends, although market conditions are subject to change.

Is there a limit to how much debt the district can take on?

Yes, the bonding capacity of the district is statutorily determined to be a given percentage of the total assessed valuation of the cumulative properties that make up the district. That amount is 10%. This bond would put the district at 98.9% of its capacity.

What are the parts of the district tax rate and how are they used?

The Primary tax is used to fund Maintenance and Operation budget/District Additional Assistance (DAA). In addition, a Secondary tax is utilized to fund Class B Bond interest and Redemption and a Secondary tax funds Maintenance and Operations Overrides.

Has the tax increase from the 2009 bond election been reduced?

In FY 15-16 our bond rate was $1.39. In FY 16-17 it was estimated that our bond rate would have been $1.58, but the District was able to buy down the rate to $1.49.

If the bond is approved, what is the process of purchasing land?

The District is working with the Rancho Sahuarita Company to secure a generous land donation in the path of projected growth. The proposed site is about 1 mile south of Sahuarita Rd., along the line of Rancho Sahuarita Blvd.

If Sahuarita USD builds a new school, where would it be located?

The new K-8 school will be located on a parcel of land one mile south of Sahuarita Rd. on the new extension of Rancho Sahuarita Blvd.

If the bond package is approved, when will it take effect and construc­­­­tion start? When is the new school projected to open if the bond passes?

It is anticipated that the bonds will be sold shortly after the new calendar year in 2017, and formal design, planning, and construction phases will commence in sequence after that. The target opening date for the new K-8 school is Fall 2018.

What students will go to the new school?

The objective of the new school is to accommodate growth and support appropriate class sizes at all schools. If the school bond is approved, a comprehensive process will ensue, with a leadership committee of multiple stakeholders, and parent engagement, to establish boundary realignment criteria, and begin pursuing the most sound, efficient, and logical attendance areas.

What is the capacity of the new school?

Approximately 800 students.

I want my kid to go to the newest, best school. How can I enroll him/reserve him/her a place? If not, how and when are you determining who is going to attend the newest, best, school?

The new school will incorporate K-8 students of families from the new development of houses that will be built near the new school. In addition, it will be used to alleviate overcrowding at Sahuarita Primary, Sahuarita Intermediate, and Sahuarita Middle School.

The planning process is focused on advancing equitable program and operating objectives at all schools. This includes goals about class sizes, instructional programs, facility amenities, and educational technology. The boundary realignment process will address criteria, input, communication, and procedural norms for determining student assignments and open enrollment options, as allowable.

Is the $$ for equipping the new school included in the $25m bond? If not, what is the proposed source of funding for equipment, furnishings, furniture, instructional materials, etc. for the new school? Does the capital override provide funding for these items and if so, what happens if the bond passes and the override do not?

A limited percentage of the bond may be used for furniture and equipment. For example, some of the millwork and cabinets may be paid from the bond. However, we are counting on the DAA Override to generate dollars to support the purchase of necessary furniture and equipment, such as desks and chairs.

Will the 1 million dollar bond make up for the 85% loss that the district received?

The current capital outlay formula provides SUSD with $2,700,000 in allocation. In this year’s budget, about $2,300,000 of that was cut through State reductions. If an additional $1,000,000 is added to the difference (about $400,000), the deficit is offset to a degree thus lessening the reduction.

Marana just built an elementary for 18 million and so will 20 million be enough for the K-8 including sports fields, etc. Are they included in the budget or is it going to be like Anza where the sports fields are provided by the parks and recreation?

Preliminary analysis suggests that the District can build a K-8 school for the $20,000,000. The District has strong collaborative relationships with both private and public sector partners, and we are certainly open to exploring further cooperative and mutually beneficial endeavors, such as the shared arrangement at Anza Trail K-8 with the Town of Sahuarita Parks and Recreation Department.