Jessica Bautista is the director of marketing and PR for the Queen Creek School District.
Queen Creek Unified School District, or QCUSD, voters will decide on a proposed bond this November that would fund the construction of new schools, expansions to existing schools, upgrades to facilities, security features and additional buses to address the rapid growth of Queen Creek’s population.
Enrollment in QCUSD has grown 80% from 2016-2021 and is expected to grow another 31% in the next five years. According to data analytics from Applied Economics, nine of the district's 14 schools will be near or over capacity by school year 2023-24.
QCUSD’s Governing Board called for the bond during an April board meeting, asking voters to consider a bond of $198 million for projects over the next five years. Proposed projects include two new elementary schools; renovations to Queen Creek High School's athletics, arts and classroom facilities; the completion of Eastmark High School; classroom expansions for elementary schools; and more.
If voters approve the bond, the impact to local taxpayers would be minimal. QCUSD is experiencing community hypergrowth, which allows overall tax rates to remain the same as property values increase. Historically, the overall tax rate for QCUSD has declined 9% since 2016-17.
Bond money also comes with state-regulated requirements for spending to ensure funds are used as intended. The district spent previous voter-approved bond money on constructing Eastmark High School’s Phase 1, Schnepf Elementary and adding expansions to existing schools to accommodate Queen Creek’s growing population.
Approval of the bond will also determine resources available for other district expenditures such as curriculum, equipment, instruments, instructional materials and teacher salaries. If approved, the district would not need to spend money from the operating budget on capital project expenditures such as new construction or long-term portable classrooms.
Voters did not approve the district’s proposed bond of $286 million over 10 years in 2021. The current proposal reduces the lifespan of the bond along with costs and projects.
QCUSD Superintendent Perry Berry said the election loss meant bigger challenges for the district in finding the resources to build new elementary schools to serve the population.
“Voters didn’t approve the bond proposed during last year’s election, and since then we’ve spent a lot of time listening to concerns, feedback, and our community’s priorities,” Berry said. “This proposal would allow the district to keep up with the demands on capacity and continue prioritizing the needs of our families.”
To learn more about proposed projects for each school, click here.