TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson Unified School District officials are looking to taxpayers to help with costly school repairs.
TUSD just announced that bond discussions are expected to be on the Tuesday June 13 governing board agenda. The board will likely talk about three bond options that would give millions of dollars to the district for repairs. The meeting happens at 5:30 p.m. at the Duffy Community Center, 655 N. Magnolia Avenue.
Before the board votes, TUSD leaders are working to cut down on school repair costs during the summer by bringing in bus drivers during the summer months.
72 current TUSD employees are working in nine different facilities.
This so-called "summer work program" saves the district money because it keeps from hiring outside contractors to do repair work.
Stefanie Boe, TUSD public information officer, said, "We have limited staff during the year so the extra hands help us get more done in a short time frame. Also, the drivers are learning new skills like tiling, roofing, painting etc. We need facility improvements. Since 2008 we have been underfunded."
According to TUSD, the district's schools need more than $160 million dollars of "necessary structural improvements."
On the list of what Boe calls "Dire Needs" are upgrades to:
- Heating and cooling
- Water fountains
- Building paint
If the bond gets approved, some money would go to the Transportation Department. More than half of TUSD's buses do not have air conditioning. A new bus costs $125,000.
Leaders with TUSD gauged the public for support of possible bonds. Through a phone survey of 500 people, employees learned:
- 54 percent of respondents support a $300 million dollar bond
- 61 percent support of $240 million dollar bond
- 70 percent support a $180 million dollar bond
The money would come from property taxes:
- $180 million dollar bond would cost homeowners $4.23 a month.
- $240 million dollar bond would cost homeowners $4.86 a month.
- $300 million dollar bond would cost homeowners $5.97 a month.