Wednesday, February 11, 2015
1. Requires school districts that have an existing or previous administrative agreement with the OCR and budgets monies for desegregation expenses outside the revenue control limit to reduce those expenses by at least 15 percent of the amount levied in FY 2009-2010 for five consecutive years beginning in FY 2016-2017 and prohibits those schools from budgeting for desegregation expenses outside the revenue control limit after FY 2022-2023.
2. Requires school districts that are subject to an existing or previous court order of desegregation and budgets monies for desegregation expenses outside the revenue control limit to reduce those expenses by at least 7 percent of the amount levied in FY 2009-2010 for 10 consecutive years beginning in FY 2016-2017 and prohibits those schools from budgeting for desegregation expenses outside the revenue control limit after FY 2027-2028.
3. Becomes effective on the general effective date.
Eighteen school districts in Arizona currently budget for costs resulting from a court order of desegregation, which applies only to Phoenix Union and Tucson Unified (TUSD), or an ongoing or resolved OCR administrative agreement, which applies to sixteen other school districts. Arizona statute allows a school district to budget and levy an additional property tax above and beyond the tax used for regular maintenance and operations for expenses incurred for any measures or activities designed to remediate alleged or proven racial discrimination. This budget authority is typically referred to as “desegregation funding,” although monies may be used to remediate any civil rights category violation.TUSD receives more than $63 million (the money comes from a local property tax) for the desegregation programs. According to the documents presented at the hearing, TUSD is one of two school districts above the "1 percent cap," which is a constitutional protection for homeowners "that limits their primary property tax exposure to 1 percent of the home's total limited property value."
Given defunding of desegregation, Maricopa Unified would still be over the 1 percent cap because they currently exceed it by an estimated $5.2 million. Desegregation, however, is responsible for only $1.3 million of that total. TUSD would no longer be over the 1 percent cap without desegregation funding because they are currently over the 1 percent cap by $18.3 million, so eliminating $63.7 million of desegregation funding would more than offset the $18.3 million.From the $63 million, about $11 million go to magnet schools' programs, students outreach and recruiting services. Then there's about $8 million for things like translation and interpretation (ESL, etc.); another close to $8 million go to drop-out prevention and programs that aim to close the academic achievement gap.