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Bonds History


In November, 2011, the Sunnyside community approved an $88 million dollar bond. These bond funds were designated by the vote for; $32 million in facilities renovation, $10 million in athletics upgrades, $27 million to sustain technology initiatives, $6 million for new buses, and $1 million for security upgrades.

HOW DO BOND FUNDS GET SPENT?

The Governing Board approved an eight member committee to advise them on all bond funded purchases. This committee is called the Bond Advisor Committee (BAC), is made up of community members and represents the community as the community’s oversight and voice on all bond purchases.

All bond projects are researched by district staff and for some projects consultants may be brought in to provide extensive subject matter expertise. Procurement is prepared in alignment to the Uniform System of Financial Records for Arizona School Districts by Sunnyside’s Finance and Business Office. District staff present details of the bond project and recommendations for expenditures of bond funds to the Bond Advisory Committee which then reviews the recommendation and votes on how they wish to advise the Governing Board. District staff then presents the details of the project and recommendation for expenditure of bond funds to the Governing Board along with the decision of the BAC to support or not support their recommendation. As with all district expenditures, the Governing Board makes a final decision on the bond funds expenditure. If more information is needed to make the decision, district staff may return to the Governing Board at a future meeting with that expanded information to then request approval for the bond expenditure.

BOND FUNDS vs. OVERRIDE FUNDS

As the Sunnyside Governing Board has requested a Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Override election in November, there may be some concern or confusion for why there is a need for more funding through an Override if the district has an $88 million dollar tax-payer funded bond.

School district funding can be very complex to understand in that the State of Arizona has designated certain funding sources for each expenditure. A school district may have multiple layers of funding sources, such as our $88 million bond. However the law only allows Bond funds to be spent on capital items as approved by the voters in the ballot presented and approved in the November election. Transportation approved bond funds were spent to purchase new buses, that replaced 20+ year old buses and equipped them with Wi-Fi that allows students to access the internet while on the bus or in close proximity to them?.

Bond funds may not be spent on employee salaries, school supplies, building supplies (such as custodial), or on anything that isn’t integral to an approved bond project. For these types of expenditures, the district must rely on the State funding formula (that which makes us 49th out 50 States), or an M&O Budget Override that must be approved by the voters who live in the district’s enrollment boundaries.

SECURITY BONDS

The past few years has seen an increase in violence on school campuses across the country. Since the tragedy of the Sandyhook shooting in December 2012, there have been 23 incidents of school violence. The renewed focus on school security in our district has been enhanced with the addition of $1 million in bond funds. Our schools and community may not see the new video system that has been deployed in all our schools and buses, but with its implementation, we now have complete video surveillance and monitoring for areas such as buses, building hallways, parking lots, and exterior walkways.

Although not funded by the bond, the addition of new security vehicles and staffing around the clock also provides our community with a unique level of comfort for knowing the district has a heightened awareness of the buildings, grounds and surrounding neighborhoods where our students walk to and from school and evening or weekend events.

FACILITY BONDS

HVAC Upgrades -  The Comfort of our classrooms is essential to the teaching and learning environment in our schools.  When the heating and cooling systems are not functioning at peak performance, the ability of our teachers to teach and our students to learn is severely compromised.  The Governing Board has been committed to upgrading our HVAC systems and installing state-of-the-art energy management systems.

Well into our third phase, the majority of our upgrades/replacements have been completed, the state-of-the-art energy management systems are in place, and a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan is in place for all schools.  With the installation of new energy efficient equipment coupled with energy management monitoring systems and an ongoing preventative maintenance plan, our systems are working at optimal levels and the annual savings are substantial.

ATHLETIC BONDS

Another community focused section of the $88 million bond program is the $10 million for athletic facilities upgrades. Although many of the upgrades and repairs have been small and for many people, unrealized, the new high school scoreboards are soon to be a spectacular example of how our community benefits from the bond expenditures. Over 10,000 students, their families, alumni and friends experience the thrill of athletic events in our high schools every year. The new high school scoreboards will be the first in Southern Arizona. We anticipate that they will be in an operating by the end of the Soccer season. Detailed graphics, statistics, head shots of the players, replays, shots of fans in the stadium on the screen, will add to an already exciting evening.

TRANSPORTATION BONDS

In the fall of 2012, 40 new buses were added to our fleet. Our student’s and driver’s safety, comfort and tech-savvy needs were of primary consideration in thatnow all our buses include air conditioning, free Wi-Fi access and a state-of-the-art video system that allows for greater security and safety of our students while riding the bus. Although we expect all our students to behave with proper respect for each other on our buses, should a situation arise, the bus driver has immediate contact with dispatch and real-time video surveillance by district security to monitor the situation and determine what degree of response is necessary or if emergency responders are needed.

New in the fall of 2013 was the addition of student ID badge readers on each bus. Students can easily “swipe” their school assigned ID badge to gain access to the bus and when exiting the bus. Another tech-savvy security and safety aspect of our bus fleet is a GPS (geographic positioning system) unit that allows for identifying the exact location of our buses when they are out on the road if there is a problem or when parents call. The District’s ParentLink calling system will also be tied in to our tech-savvy Transportation Department so that parents may be automatically notified when their student’s bus is going to be late due to traffic or other concerns. These security features allows for central staff to more closely monitor our buses, our student riders, and provide current information

TECHNOLOGY BONDS

Sunnyside’s transformation through technology started before the approval of bonds in 2011. The bonds approved by voters allowed for the sustainability of the technology initiative, however, and will continue to fund the One-to-One laptop program through a 10 year span. Students grades 4 through 10 have received laptops to use in their classroom instruction and study or research beyond the school day anywhere, anytime. Having a laptop allows students to expand their learning through Internet resources and activities that no longer need to happen only during a class period.

Teachers have also benefited from the technology bonds. This year all teachers received a new laptop to assist in the online instruction that is aligned to the mission of the One-to-One program. Teachers also have the flexibility to take their laptop anywhere, anytime as our students do. With the addition of the outstanding digital curriculum and online learning tools supplied by the technology bond, teachers can craft their instruction to current topics and the latest information and online data rather than the use of textbooks that are outdated before they are distributed.

UPDATED SEP 14, 2016 01:44 PM