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Mail-in only ballots for WUSD school budget override due Nov. 2

Williams High School (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Williams High School (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. – Voters in the Williams Unified School District #2 area have until 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2 — to return their voted ballots for a special override election.

As of Thursday, Oct. 28, the Elections Office had received 1,003 voted ballots. A total of 4,069 ballots mailed were mail to district voters.

Since 1999, voters in Williams have supported a 10 percent override every five years to supplement the Maintenance and Operating budget that goes toward teacher salaries and student programs at WUSD.

An override allows school districts to boost their Maintenance and Operations and/or capital budgets through a voter approved property tax. This override is to maintain $500,000 in additional allowed revenue for the district’s yearly budget. It is not a new tax.

By approving the override, school taxes will remain the same as what voters approved several years ago.

There will be no increase in the school taxes that residents in the district currently pay.

In the past, voters agreed that temporary, local property-tax-funded measures are needed to help offset longstanding cuts in state education funding.

The override lasts seven years, but many school districts ask voters to approve a renewal in year four or five to maintain a consistent level of funding. If not renewed, the amount decreases by one-third in the sixth year and two-thirds in the seventh year.

Since 1999, property owners have paid $4-7 per month for the override.

If I vote ‘yes’: Passing the override allows the school to continue to collect the tax that property owners approved and have paid since 1999.

If I vote ‘no’: Not passing the override removes the tax paid by property owners since 1999.

The money from the override can only be spent to maintain a reduction in class size, maintain essential positions and minimize reductions to staff salaries and benefits, according to the Williams Unified School District Governing Board.

“The school district provides opportunities for students to be involved in extracurricular clubs and athletics,” the board said. “The override monies support these efforts by ensuring we can maintain positions necessary to offer these aspects of a well-rounded education.”

The negative effect of any reduction in override funding will be compounded by the increasing costs of utilities, technology, services and supplies, according to the governing board.

“If the override is not approved again, the district would lose $500,000 in funding, which would severely impact the students,” the board said.

Voters are reminded that this election is a ballot-by-mail election and there will be no polling places on Election Day.

If a voter believes they are eligible to vote in this election and did not receive a ballot in the mail, the voter should call the Elections Office at (928) 679-7860 or toll free (800) 793-6181.

There is still time to return your voted ballot. To ensure your ballot is received by 7 p.m. Nov. 2, the Elections Office recommends voters drop their voted ballots off at one of these locations:

• Williams City Hall, 113 S. 1st St., Williams; or

• Elections Office, 110 E Cherry Ave, Flagstaff

Voters need to remember to sign the outside of the yellow return envelope. Ballots returned without the voter’s signature on the return envelope or signed by a person other than the voter will be rejected.

Voters that have spoiled their ballot or did not receive a ballot may obtain a replacement ballot in person at the Williams City Hall or the Elections Office now through 7 pm on November 2.

Election results will be posted on the Coconino County Elections webpage on election night, November 2.

For more information, call the Coconino County Elections Office at (928) 679-7860 or toll-free (800) 793-6181.

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