Green light in Gilbert: School board votes on Apple plant deal

Green light in Gilbert: School board votes on Apple plant deal

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GILBERT, Ariz. -

For the $1 billion Apple plant to move forward, all eight governmental units that levy taxes on the property must say yes.

The deal extends a foreign trade zone from nearby Gateway Airport to give Apple tax breaks.

So far, seven have, but there's been one holdout: the five-member Gilbert School Board.  The land is in Mesa, but thousands of students in this area go to Gilbert schools.

Board member Daryl Colvin says he was not told about the effort to bring Apple to the valley.

"Others were out negotiating and I am glad they were, but those negotiations which involved our taxing authority never involved us and I found great objection to that.. we wanted to know more before we approved it," he said.

He was leaning against the Apple deal, but not now.

"Well, it appears to be a very good deal for us.  We are taxing at lower rate.. at a much greater amount and that amount will help our district help our taxes go down," he said.

Board member Jill Humphreys was for the Apple plant from the get go and is a little puzzled other board members had doubts.

"I am a little concerned that they did not feel they had sufficient information to make this decision last Tuesday night," she said.  "I thought it was a good idea and I did support it."

There are 38,000 students in the Gilbert School District.  The district faces cutbacks of $11.6 million with or without the Apple deal.

UPDATE: At the meeting, the board approved Apple's move to the valley with a unanimous vote.  It's good news for Arizona.  The new facility is expected to bring a major boost to the economy.

"You know, we're very pleased that the Gilbert School District has voted unanimously to support the foreign trade zone and to support Apple coming to Mesa which will be a big boom for not only Mesa and Gilbert, but the entire valley and the state of Arizona," said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.

Apple now has the okay to go ahead and open as planned -- and the deal will decrease taxes for families in Gilbert by about $26.

Follow this story:  Apple comes to Arizona: What will be manufactured?

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