Scottsdale Schools issues call for M&O override election

The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board has called for the election of a special budget override. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

At its June 11 regular monthly meeting, the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board unanimously approved a resolution calling for a special budget override election Tuesday, Nov. 5.

An override is a tool that is available to local communities to provide funds for their schools beyond what the state of Arizona provides school districts.

In the all-mail election, voters residing within SUSD’s Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix and Tempe boundaries will be asked whether they wish to continue the current 15% maintenance and operations override to the district’s revenue control limit, which was first approved in November 2014.

The current M&O override’s tax rate of $0.37 per $100,000 of assessed valuation would not change if the override is reauthorized. A vote to approve the M&O override would continue the current tax rate through June 30, 2025.

Extending the M&O override for five years would generate approximately $21.4 million that SUSD would use to:

  • Maintain current class size standards;
  • Maintain all-day kindergarten programming; and
  • Maintain current music, art, world languages, athletics and co-curricular activities.

Extending the current tax rate would also permit the district to continue its emphasis on technology for students and classrooms, professional learning opportunities for staff and continuing to provide teachers with competitive salaries.

If voters do not approve extending the current M&O override, SUSD will lose approximately $6.5 million per year for each of the override’s final three years, for a total of $19.5 million, until the additional funding completely phases out on June 30, 2023.

On the heels of the Governing Board’s 5-0 vote to call for the override election, it was announced that Scottsdale residents Melinda Gulick and Denny Brown will be co-chairing a Yes To Children campaign in support of the override.

Melinda Gulick

Ms. Gulick attended SUSD schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, graduating from Chaparral.

“Now, I am a parent of two SUSD students,” she said of her support of the override initiative.

“I’m an advocate of our public schools because of the critical role they play in educating our children to excel in life, and the strong tie between high quality public schools, a strong local economy and the exceptional quality of life we enjoy here.”

Overall, she says she supports the budget override because it will allow the school district to continue providing the same quality educational programs, maintaining current class sizes and keeping teachers’ salaries competitive with other districts.

“Yes To Children’s objective is to make sure voters understand the importance of passing the override so the school district’s budget isn’t automatically reduced by $7 million — which would impact all-day kindergarten, arts and athletic programs and a lot more.”

Denny Brown

Mr. Brown, a former Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board member says he supports the override to simply maintain the local level of education.

“I am working with this wonderful team of volunteers, just incredible efforts and I am just very proud to be a part of it,” he said Thursday, June 13.

“My reason for support can be put simply: We need to maintain our wonderful education in Scottsdale and take care of our teachers, take care of our students and we must maintain the quality of this wonderful education.”

Override elections are managed by the Maricopa County Elections Department, which will mail a publicity pamphlet to SUSD voters in advance of the Nov. 5 election, according to a press release.

The pamphlet is required to feature a statement from the SUSD Governing Board in favor of the override.

Members of the public may also contribute statements of support or opposition to the override to the county school superintendent’s office by 5 p.m., Aug. 9.

Mailed ballots must be delivered to Maricopa County Elections Department offices or ballot drop-off locations by 5 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5. A link to locate the voter’s closest ballot drop-off location will be printed on the mailing panel of the publicity pamphlet.

For more information on school district elections, visit the Maricopa County School Superintendent elections website at, email, or call 602-506-3978.

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

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