Thu, April 09

Jerome Council hears Mingus' Allen<br><i>Superintendent makes case for override extension</i>

VVN/Philip Wright

SHARYL Allen, Mingus Union High School superin-tendent, addressed the Jerome Town Council Tuesday night to bring them up to speed on the override extension her governing board is seeking.

Tuesday night she addressed the Jerome Town Council during its regular meeting.

"From the district's perspective, we're very grateful for the consistent support given to education by Jerome," Allen said.

She said voters in Jerome have typically approved overrides by about 80 percent.

Allen told the council that Mingus Union is asking only for an extension of its current override so the district won't lose the $519,710 provided by the supplemental funding each year.

Without the override extension, Mingus would lose that money. Allen said the supplemental funding supports daily bus routes, extracurricular activities, student support services, teaching supplies and lower student-to-teacher ratios.

Because the district is not asking for an increase to its override, only an extension, taxpayers are not facing a significant tax increase.

"To continue the override will cost $1 per $100,000 of assessed valuation," Allen said. "What can you buy for $1?"

Included in the information packet provided to the council by Allen, she points out that Mingus has received an increase of only 3 percent in student funding since 1996. During that time, the consumer price index has increased 18 percent. Today, it takes $1.21 to equal $1 in 1996.

Adding to the increased costs faced by the school district is the federal mandate: No Child Left Behind. That initiative has brought about the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards, a high-stakes test students must pass before graduating.

AIMS has changed the way schools teach nowadays, and that in turn has increased costs.

Health insurance for the district has gone up by more than 50 percent since 1996.

Jerome councilman John Scarcella told Allen that he supports what she and Mingus district are tying to accomplish.

"I don't think you'll have any problem with support from Jerome," Scarcella said. "We share your concerns about quality education."

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