Our recent poll results show that education remains the top issue among Arizona voters, and that teacher pay and school funding are the leading concerns. Governor Ducey’s budget proposal prioritizes education, allocating the majority of available state funds to support K-12 education. Incremental funding increases each year, combined with meaningful policy conversations around our shared statewide goals and a willingness to work together, are good for Arizona’s students.
To be clear, this budget does not provide all the resources needed to meet the shared goals we have for education in the state, as outlined in the Arizona Education Progress Meter. The proposal does not address the fiscal cliff faced by education in just three years with the expiration of the Prop 301 sales tax, which generates $640 million. It does not identify new revenues for education investments that have the potential to strengthen Arizona for the long term, nor does it fully address how to raise teacher pay to the national median by 2022 – one of the eight shared goals.
That said, Governor Ducey’s budget proposal is an important step forward. It represents a sizeable investment in education. Most important is the governor’s pledge to restore district and charter additional assistance by 2023, starting with $100 million in FY2019. This funding restoration has the potential to free up dollars for school districts to support other priorities, like increasing teacher pay. We are also pleased to see more funding for early literacy interventions and career and technical education.
Arizona’s education system – early education, K through 12, community colleges, and universities – requires continued, reliable investments over time. Expect More Arizona is eager to work together, across party lines, to find long-term funding solutions that support the success of every student, regardless of background, income or zip code.
Join a majority of Arizonans who believe that education is their top priority.
Contact your elected leaders today to tell them how you feel about the budget proposal and urge them to prioritize education this legislative session.
Here are the highlights of the Governor’s budget proposal:
- K-12 Education
- Student Population Growth & Inflation: $116 million for required student growth and inflation.
- District/Charter Additional Assistance: $100 million to increase District Additional Assistance and Charter Additional Assistance, which is a part of a five year restoration plan: FY19 $100M, FY20 $68M, FY21 $68M, FY22 $67M, FY23 $68M.
- Teacher Salaries: $34 million for the second year of the two-year phase in of a 2% raise to teacher pay.
- School Buildings:
- $5.1 million from the General Fund to leverage $88.1 million in bonds to construct or expand new schools in Chandler Unified (3 new schools), Queen Creek Unified and Tolleson Union High School Districts.
- $35.2 million for building renewal grants via the School Facilities Board to improve or repair aging school facilities, which brings the FY19 total to $51.8 million, plus $10 million in supplemental funding for additional grants in FY 2018.
- Literacy: $4 million to expand early literacy funding, bringing the FY19 total to $12 million, for schools that have 90% or greater Free and Reduced Price Lunch populations.
- Computer Science Teachers: $2.5 million to expand the Governor’s Partnership for K-12 Computer Science pilot program that will allow schools to offer high-quality, rigorous training for new computer science teachers.
- JTED Funding: $2 million to fully fund large Joint Technical Education Districts (JTEDs), which serve more than half of all students attending JTEDs.
- $7.6 million in other key education investments on information technology projects and assessments.
- $1.1 million for equalization aid to Cochise, Graham, and Navajo counties.
- $27M for the first installment of the debt-service to leverage $1B in bonds to expand and maintain university research infrastructure at Arizona’s public universities.
- $8M in one-time funding for operations, which can go towards the resident student funding model.
- Projections for increased revenue vary between the Governor and the legislature.
- The Governor’s revenue projections are based on expected increases in tax collections, fund transfers, agency efficiencies, and debt financing.
- As a part of the budget, the Governor proposed to move teacher pay into base funding, which would make it permanent and subject to inflation.