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Capital Override Election
- Frequently Asked Questions
 Attachment L

The following questions have been asked and answered in a variety of venues.  The responses assist with transparency for all constituencies.

 

1.      What is a capital override?

A capital override is a special election requesting voter approval for a secondary tax levy to pay for capital needs that cannot be met by a school district’s regular capital budget.  Arizona Revised Statute §15-481 grants public school district governing boards the authority to call for a capital override election.

 

2.      What will the capital override be used for?

Funds generated through a capital override election are targeted to meet technology needs throughout Washington Elementary School District, including the following:

 

Prototypical Classroom Technology

·         Student wireless computing device assigned to each student in grades 3 through 8

·         For grades kindergarten through 2, a 6-device wireless computing center per classroom

·         Classroom computer management software

·         Interactive white board

·         Projector

·         Document camera

·         Cameras, still and motion

·         Classroom sound system, including voice augmentation

·         Teacher station

·         Wireless computing device for each teacher

 

School-Based Technology

·         Video distribution system

·         Synchronized time system

·         Bell/intercom system, managed through the data network

·         School presentation/sound system

·         Refreshing of all staff computers

·         Refreshing of all fixed computers in the library

 

District-Wide Technology

·         Updated network infrastructure and supporting resources

·         Wireless access points

·         Electronic readers

·         Updated telephone infrastructure

·         Printers

 

Other Technology Needs

·         System management software

·         Parent notification system

·         Distance learning laboratory

·         Upgraded legacy software

 

 

 

3.      Why is WESD asking voters to approve the capital override?

Immediately following WESD’s most recent computer refresh in 2006, the District sought to proactively address technology’s rapid evolution by developing a technology life cycle management and migration plan.  In this plan, funds were budgeted each fiscal year to meet ongoing and anticipated technology needs.  However, every year the State has withheld substantial capital funding (see chart below).  As a result of the nearly $56 million capital funding deficit between fiscal years 2008 and 2013, plus an anticipated additional deficit of nearly $6 million in fiscal year 2014, funding has not been available to implement the technology life cycle plan.

 


Aging technology devices and infrastructure are causing significant instructional and operational concerns:

·         Current computers will not run new releases of many software programs that are presently in use, including Windows, Microsoft Office, Read 180, as well as several other educational software titles.

·         Consistently greater resource demands are causing computer processing speeds to diminish exponentially as time elapses.

·         Technology maintenance needs continue to escalate as the District struggles to keep older equipment functioning.

 

During the spring of 2011, WESD’s Technology Committee identified technology needs throughout the District and suggested technology components to include in a possible capital override, if called for by the WESD Governing Board.  Focus groups were then held as a means of gauging stakeholders’ level of support for a possible capital override.  Based on feedback from parents, community members, local business owners and WESD staff, it was concluded that while a capital override was clearly necessary, a November 2011 ballot initiative would not have been in the District’s best interest.

 

A WESD Capital Override Task Force was convened in February 2012 to revisit the possible recommendation of a capital override election being called to take place in November 2012.  The group, which included parent, community, local business and staff representatives, thoroughly analyzed District technology needs and costs relative to the taxpayer impact of a capital override.  They reached a consensus decision to recommend that a $7.85 million per year capital override be called, to be put before voters in November 2012.

 

WESD’s November 2012 capital override election failed by 436 votes.  With technology needs still unmet and ever-increasing, a 2013 WESD Override Task Force was organized to consider the feasibility of calling for another capital override election to take place in November 2013. The diverse, 30-member task force recognized the District’s significant technology needs that must be met if students are to be prepared for their next steps toward college and/or career readiness, and they acknowledged that the needs cannot be met without a successful capital override election.  Members made a consensus decision to recommend that the Governing Board call for a November 2013 capital override election in the amount of $7.85 million per year for seven years.

 

4.      Why can’t funding received from the State of Arizona pay for technology?

If WESD had actually received the capital funding that it had been allocated by the State of Arizona during the past several years, that funding would have been used to pay for District technology.  Unfortunately, without the nearly $56 million in capital funding that the state withheld from WESD between FY2008 and FY2013 and with the slim likelihood of receiving allocated State capital funds in the foreseeable future, the District must pursue a local funding source to support technology needs.  A capital override is that local source.

 

 

5.      If WESD calls for a capital override election and that election is successful, could the State of Arizona redirect the District’s capital override funds to the State’s general fund?

No, override funds go directly to the school district to be implemented according to the district’s override plan.  These funds cannot be cut by the state or swept into the general fund to be used for other purposes.

 

6.      How much of the money requested would go to technology for students?

Student and classroom technology is the focus of the proposed capital override.  In order to make that technology functional, however, it will be necessary to upgrade wireless and network infrastructure, such as servers, switches, routers, cabling, etc.  Capital override funding will not be directed to District administrative technology.  The District is accountable for its students and will direct every possible dollar to student learning.

 

7.      What schools and what grade levels would receive technology upgrades?

If the Governing Board calls for a capital override election and that election is successful, every school will receive technology upgrades, and the upgrades will be distributed equitably to each school.  Every grade level will receive technology upgrades.  For grades kindergarten through second, each classroom will receive s six-device wireless computing center.  In grades third through eighth, each student will be assigned a wireless computing device to be used while attending school in the Washington Elementary School District.

 

8.      When would my school see the benefits of a capital override?

If the Governing Board calls for a capital override election and that election is successful, every school will begin to benefit during the first year of the plan implementation.  During year one, wireless Internet access will be made available in every school.  Classrooms that don’t currently have document cameras and/or SMART Boards will receive that equipment.  All classrooms will be equipped with a voice augmentation system, classroom management software, and a camera for both still and video photography.  Following a best-practice model, wireless mobile computing devices will be phased in beginning in year two and concluding in year five.  This systematic, purposeful approach will enable teachers to receive applicable training and professional development prior to the distribution of devices to students (grades 3-8) and classrooms (grades K-2).

 

9.      Does WESD currently have a capital override?

No.  While many other Arizona public school districts have had capital overrides in place for several years, WESD does not have a capital override in place.

 

10.  Would this be a new tax?  How much would it cost me, the average homeowner? 

Yes, this would be an additional levy of taxes since WESD has not previously utilized the option of a capital override.  The average home in WESD is valued at about $100,000.00.  The capital override cost for the owner of a home of this value would be approximately $75.00 per year, with the override lasting for seven years. 

 

 

11.  If the WESD Governing Board calls for a capital override election, when will the election be held?

If the Governing Board calls for a capital override, the election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

 

12.  If the WESD Governing Board calls for a capital override election and the election is not successful, what will happen?

The following are some of the anticipated consequences should there be a failed WESD capital override election:

 

·         Increased frequency and severity of technology equipment failures

·         Increased technology equipment maintenance needs and costs; with additional funds budgeted to meet these needs, budget reductions would likely result in other areas

·         Progressively slower computer processing times

·         Continued and expanded inability to load software updates; could ultimately result in discontinuing use of instructional software that is currently utilized in many schools; other instructional resources would have to be identified, purchased and implemented

·         Overall reduction in District’s operational productivity and efficiency, as well as instructional effectiveness and opportunities

·         Increasingly greater challenge for teachers to align instruction with state technology standards

·         Reduced capability of WESD to adequately provide students with technology skills/concepts they will be expected to apply in high school

·         Possible reduction in ADM as parents seek more state-of-the-art learning opportunities for their children

·         Possible inability to comply with mandate for common core online assessments

·         Possible penalties for inability to meet federal and state online reporting requirements

·         Possible negative impact on employee recruitment and retention






 Dear Moon Valley Friends,

                Lookout Mountain is very excited to open the gates and welcome children on the first day of school, August 12th. Thanks to the support of the community,  we have been able to collectively build a school especially designed for our Lookout Mountain families. When you drive down Coral Gables, I am sure you have noticed the transformation. Our new parking lot will allow the drop off and pick up to occur on our grounds freeing up Coral Gables.  We will still be working into the fall on finalizing the grass for the ball fields, the installation of the electronic marquee and the installation of privacy screening for the mechanical equipment on the roof.

                We are very proud of our environmentally friendly school.  We are also thrilled that our students and teachers earned an “A” rating from the state of Arizona for their academic achievements.  We are planning on a special dedication ceremony in September when we can share our new school site school with the entire community.  

                Once again we thank you for supporting public education.

 

Sincerely,

Tricia Johnson


WASHINGTON ELEMENTRY SCHOOL DISTRICT

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

CONSTRUCTION INFORMATION-MAY 2013


NOTIFICATION

Starting Monday, May 13th through Friday, May 24th construction of a new sidewalk and driveways for the new school will be occurring along Coral Gables.

Please anticipate some traffic delays while this work is occurring. For the safety of all residents, parents and children, please obey all traffic control warnings, signage, and flagmen.

The pedestrian sidewalk will be maintained along the south side of Coral Gables during this work.

We greatly appreciate your consideration and understanding.

For questions/concerns please contact:

Paul Hartley (Owner’s Representative) at 602-885-1423 or

Tom Geary (Project Superintendent) at 602-509-0214





WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

 NOTIFICATION

The work to be performed in Coral Gables for installation of the Arizona Public Service (APS) electrical lines to the new elementary school site will occur from Monday, February 25th through Friday, March 8th.

 Work will take place during daytime construction hours only and include lane closures at various times as construction is started on the south lane of the street first and then  on the north lane last.  Traffic control warnings will be posted to direct traffic during construction.

 Pedestrian walkways on both sides of the street will remain usable during construction.

 We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

  For questions/concerns please contact:

  •     Tom Geary (Project Superintendent) at 602-509-0214  or
  •     Paul Hartley (Owner’s Representative) at 602-885-1423
2-17-13



Lookout Mountain Elementry's Emergency Procedures

December 17, 2012

Dear Parents,

The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT weighs heavily on our hearts and minds. Our thoughts and prayers are with the school staff, parents and children in this time of crisis. As you are well aware, our current building allows for visitors to walk directly on campus.  We trust that our parents and visitors sign in prior to attending our many school events.  Our office staff is trained to check parent ID when releasing students prior to dismissal.

Our current emergency procedures at Lookout include:

·         A Lockdown procedure that involves video trainings and practice throughout the school year.

·         A District Crisis team, Crisis staffing

·         Security Cameras located outside our front gates,  and on our playground

·         Use of Mountain Sky’s Resource Officer

·         A crisis protocol chart located in each classroom

·         Pass through plan to assure that children are in lockdown in the most secure classroom possible

Our best measure of security is awareness. It takes awareness from everyone in keeping our children safe. As administration, we have worked hard over the past years to build community partnerships. We have shared phone numbers with our neighbors across Coral Gables. At the beginning of each school year, we contact our neighborhood churches to share calendars. Lookout Mountain has a very active partnership with the Vaseo Apartment complex. We make it a point to introduce ourselves to our neighborhood businesses such as Circle K and Barros.  We share in community events due to the large number of staff members that reside right here in Moon Valley.

Requiring a visitor badge and signing into the front office only scratches the surface into knowing who is on our campus.  The new campus will require all visitors to walk through the front office prior to entering the main campus.  Unfortunately, as we know, that simply is not enough. 

We all have an obligation to take threats of any kind seriously. The staff will be reviewing the lockdown procedures, the crisis plans, and emergency response plans.

 

Thank you for assisting us in being aware and being a community that cares.

Sincerely,

Tricia Johnson

 

                                        PARENT ADVISORY from Washington Elementary School District No. 6

December 17, 2012

Dear Parents, 

As we begin to try to understand the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., I think it is important to remember that we are a family. As a family, we mourn the loss of innocent lives taken too soon. We support each other, comfort each other and care for one another. It isn’t always easy to explain to our children why unnecessary acts of violence occur; however, it is our responsibility to help guide them through what we as adults sometimes have difficulty understanding ourselves. Below, I’ve provided some tips that may provide you with some assistance. Additionally, more information can be found on our District Web site at www.wesdschools.org.

 

Tips for Parents from the National Association of School Psychologist

1.     Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy.  Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.

2.     Make time to talk with your children.  Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.

3.     Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will want actual physical contact.  Give plenty of hugs.  Let them sit close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to reassure them that they are loved and safe. 

4.     Limit your child’s television viewing of these events.  If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off.  Don’t sit mesmerized re-watching the same events over and over again.

5.     Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be inflexible.  Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.

6.     Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed.  These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in.  Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.

7.     Safeguard your children’s physical health.  Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults.  Make sure your children get appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.

8.     Consider praying or thinking hopeful thoughts for the victims and their families.  It may be a good time to take your children to your place of worship, write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express his or her feelings and feel that he or she is somehow supporting the victims and their families.

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