Local school districts are expected to take advantage of a new Arizona law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in September that will allow districts to ask voters for a 15% property tax override, for up to seven years, on March 9.

Districts previously had been limited to a 10% override for maintenance and operation. The new law provides an additional 5% override for elementary and unified school districts to finance programs for kindergarten through third-grade classes.

Attorney General Terry Goddard said last week that schools that lost an override election in November 2009 can hold another one in March 2010.

State law normally limits districts to one override election every 12 months, Goddard said in a formal legal opinion, but the latest legislation specifically authorized the March 2010 election "notwithstanding any other law."

The 2010 election option was a response to a legislative reduction in state aid to local districts of $144 million due to a continuing decline in Arizona revenues.

Districts that have already opted for an override election in March include the Tolleson Union High School District and Deer Valley Unified School District.

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