Pusd Plans State Plea For Construction Funds

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The law, which was designed to distribute repair and construction money equitably to Arizona schools, now prohibits local school districts from holding bond elections to fund building repairs or construction.

School officials must now seek funding from the state School Facilities Board, which was created by Gov. Jane Hull last year.

The board plans to review new construction requests from schools across the state and award construction funding by Aug. 5.

Funding for emergency repairs will be awarded June 3, and funding for building repairs will be awarded June 15. Payson School officials, however, only plan to request funding for new construction.

"We've had 10 years of very strong growth," said Bobette Sylvester, business manager for the Payson School District. "We've averaged 5 percent growth every year.

"In three years -- the average time it takes to complete a building project -- the middle school, high school (and possibly the charter school) will be in need of new classrooms if that growth rate continues."

The amount of money the district is eligible for will be determined by a state formula, which has not been finalized yet, Sylvester said. It may be based on a school's gross square footage, which would include hallways and administrative offices, or it may be based on classroom square footage.

Payson school officials plan to try to convince the facilities board to base the formula on "the number of students it is educationally sound to have in one classroom," Sylvester said. "Lower class sizes are more educationally appropriate."

Pine-Strawberry Elementary School officials were on vacation this week and were unavailable for comment.

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