The area school district board members and administrators might be breathing 90 percent of a sigh of relief since the April 16 meeting of the Gila County Board of Supervisors.
At the meeting, the board approved County School Superintendent Linda O’Dell’s recommendation to release $1,304,124 in forest fees in lieu of taxes to school districts. That means money anticipated since 2012-2013 budgets were drafted is finally in school coffers around the county.
The county school superintendent’s office has had the money since January, but waited until now to seek authorization for its release due to the unknowns associated with federal sequestration. As a stopgap, the county is holding back 10 percent of the total of $1.499 million just in case the feds come back for “overpayment” as a result of the automatic cuts required by sequestration. In the past, the county has only held about half that.
However, the payments don’t represent a windfall since the district already expected it, said Kathie Manning, Payson Unified School District director of business services.
“We were not expecting the 10 percent hold back. However, we think there will be a second distribution and the district will get the 5.1 percent it usually receives,” Manning said.
The distribution to Northern Gila County schools: Payson gets $339,331; Pine will get $70,334; Tonto Basin, $68,639; Young, $128,596. South County schools: $217,263, Globe; $194,267, San Carlos; $188,264, Miami; $51,354, Hayden-Winkelman. The Gila Regional district (the county superintendent’s office) will get $46,078.
In other business
The county is contracting with ReSEED, LLC for lobbying service with the Arizona Department of Transportation. The public works department recommended the contract in order to work to get state funds to complete two critical road projects that have been eliminated from the ADOT Five-Year Plan, 2014-2018.
The county wants to complete work on the “Silver King” project to widen the road at Superior and to return the SR 260 Lions Spring project, east of Star Valley, to the plan. Both are safety concerns.