The Arizona State Legislature just completed the legislative session for this year (the official term they use for the end is “Sine Die”) and as reported in a recent Stand blog, I am happy to report that the legislature passed a State budget that increases K-12 education by $223.2 million! Thank you for your support and engagement through emails and calls to your state legislators and Governor Ducey. Your voice and participation really does make a difference to these decision makers and your efforts will help us prepare for more actions to support a pro-education state budget for next year.
Overall, the budget is a good first step for K-12 funding, but there is still a lot more to do. Don’t worry though. Stand for Children will keep fighting so we can improve educational opportunity for every child in our state.
Here is a quick snapshot of our top legislative results at the State Capitol this session:
- We protected Arizona’s higher academic standards, as the legislature upheld bills that supports rigorous standards.
- We secured important safeguard language to legislation that would allow schools to provide smarter tests for our kids. This Menu of Assessments legislation still needs to be implemented, so Stand will continue to work with the State Board of Education to make sure we provide smarter tests that actually help parents and teachers know where best to support our students, while maintaining high academic standards for our kids.
- We passed legislation that would allow high performing school districts the option of joining together with another school district to improve outcomes for students. This will give parents and local residents another choice in determining the best path to success for children attending a lower performing school district.
- We defeated parent Opt-Out legislation that discourages measuring a student’s academic performance and whether or not students are ready for success after high school.
- Stand fought successfully, along with other education partners, to defeat legislation that would have:
- redirected early childhood funds (First things First) to other programs
- expanded programs without real accountability (Empowerment Scholarship Accounts)
- eliminated funding to needy school districts (Desegregation funding)
- We passed legislation to resolve pending litigation and established clearly defined roles and responsibilities between the State Board of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Education.
- We restored state dollars that invest in school capital, career and technical education (JTEDs/CTE), college and career readiness, and the state’s data system.
- We are very grateful to the legislative members who did not stop fighting to get critical KidsCare legislation approved, and we are thankful to Governor Ducey for signing it into Law.
Don’t forget, all of our efforts and successes this legislative session will support our longer term K-12 finance goals and build upon the passage of Proposition 123 – The May 17th special election which gives immediate school funding to teachers and classrooms – in total $3.5 billion over the next ten years.
We are excited about our accomplishments for K-12 education this session but please be assured that we here at Stand will continue the good work of building a strong and well-funded education system for all kids in Arizona.