Stand for Children’s Education Champions Hold Strong at the Legislature
Budget includes gains for K-12, harmful cuts were eliminated, and now Prop 123 awaits
PHOENIX (May 4) – Stand for Children Arizona had an ambitious set of priorities when the legislative session started. While there is still more funding needed in K-12 classrooms, we can finally say that thanks to the hard work of legislators we have deemed education champions, we have accomplished our goals, and school children are better off as a result.
This budget includes funding for Joint Technical Education Districts, a delay to current year funding that would have harmed the bottom line of many districts, and also a delay to any changes in the way the state funds Arizona’s smallest schools. These appropriations and delays in cuts, along with additions to the general fund and inflation considerations, net a gain of $223.2 million for K-12 education.
Our enthusiasm is tempered, however, by the omission of KidsCare and the looming special election on May 17th that includes the vital funding measure, Proposition 123 (Prop. 123). It must pass so that districts can recoup some of the money they lost during the Great Recession. It would just be the first step towards a long term solution, but without it, school districts will have to amend their budgets. If Prop. 123 doesn’t pass, teachers will once again relocate to states with higher pay. And most importantly, Arizona’s children will continue to suffer through substandard facilities and instruction.
“If the people of Arizona could spend an hour in some of our more underserved school districts, they would see that we can’t wait for a better solution. Arizona school children need an infusion of funds now. We are 48th in the country in per-student funding. 48th! Prop. 123 would deliver significant money to Arizona schools in June of this year, and keep districts afloat while we work with the Governor to come up with a more sufficient funding strategy,” said Rebecca Gau, Executive Director of Stand for Children Arizona.
Don’t forget to vote in the special election for Prop. 123 on May 17. Early ballots must be mailed with enough time so that they are received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. They can also be dropped off with no waiting at your polling place on Election Day.
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