Prop 123: Here’s how Scottsdale Schools could use their share of settlement

Scottsdale Schools Chief Finance Officer, Daniel O'Brien presenting a draft of where the potential money could be used in future years at the April 19 governing board meeting. (Independent Newsmedia/Melissa Fittro)

Scottsdale Schools Chief Finance Officer, Daniel O’Brien presenting a draft of where the potential money could be used in future years at the April 19 governing board meeting. (Independent Newsmedia/Melissa Fittro)

The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board revisited the discussion of receiving millions of dollars through a statewide lawsuit settlement during its board meeting Tuesday, April 19.

The million-dollar discussion is dependent upon voters ratifying the upcoming Proposition 123, which goes to vote this May.

Certain areas being discussed for the funds could be: one-time pay, compensation increase for some employees, school resource officers and world-language programs in elementary schools.

Proposition 123, if voter approved, will be a settlement resulting from the lawsuit Cave Creek v. DeWit, for the Arizona Legislature’s failure to adjust all components of the K-12 base level for inflation pursuant to A.R.S. §15-901.01, which was enacted in Proposition 301.

This settlement in Proposition 123 gets over $530 million new dollars to schools over the next two years, according to the Arizona Schools Boards Association. In total, the resolution could provide up to $3.5 billion over 10 years. Schools will receive about $298 million dollars in base level reset and additional funds this school year in June 2016.

Then, schools will receive another $300 million new dollars for fiscal year 2016-17, which begins July 1.

The estimated numbers used during the presentation are based on amounts the Joint Legislative Budget Committee believes will be Scottsdale’s share of the settlement, according to Scottsdale Schools Chief Finance Officer Daniel O’Brien, during the April 19 meeting.

“We have looked at this before in the past, we have changed it, worked with some of the employee groups and so I really just want to bring this back to the board as we work through this,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Expenses and spending tied to the estimated $5 million for the 2016 year includes:

  • Capital funds for curriculum, facilities and tech — $1.75 million
  • Employee retention recognition (for 7+ years) — $1,117,000
  • 2 percent equivalent 1-time pay (certified) — $1,363,846
  • 2 percent equivalent 1-time pay (classified) — $493,536
  • 2 percent equivalent 1-time pay (administration) — $265,216

In fiscal year 2017-18, through the formula process, the adjustment to the base level could potentially allow the district to increase its override, which would give the district an additional $700,000, bringing the total to $5.7 million.

These numbers are tied to the Average Daily Membership — commonly known as ADM — which effects allocated numbers based on enrollment.

Fiscal year 17 expenses could look like:

  • SRO funding – $300,000
  • Compensation increase (certified) – $2,179,309
  • Horizontal Movement (certified) – $404,000
  • One additional contract day for teachers (certified) – $400,000
  • 7+ year increase (certified) – $930,000
  • Classified pay raise – $740,340
  • Administrative pay raise – $265,216
  • Program innovation (Elementary World Languages) – $100,000
  • Instructional resource assistants salary adjustment – $30,000
  • Maintain (3) technology TOA positions – $160,000

“We get to about $5.5 million, so we have a little bit remaining,” said Mr. O’Brien.

“But again, this is tied to ADM. As ADM stays flat, changes, increases or decreases over the life of this proposal – which is 10 years – these dollars will change. So I know everybody wants that remaining number to be zero, but because it’s an estimate and it’s going to change over the year, either increase or decrease, we need to be cautious of that. So, that every year when we have this conversation, we understand that there might be some adjustments along the way.”

If Proposition 123 passes in May, schools may not receive the same amount every year, and the Land Trust Dollars – part of the settlement up for vote – are only good for 10 years.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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