Governor signs budget moving state education backwards

The state budget passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Gov. Ducey  rejects the values of most Arizona parents and undermines fair and transparent government.

This budget slashes $352 million from district additional assistance, which supports classroom materials, technology, building repairs, and more in neighborhood public schools. Any appearance of additional funding is driven by increased student enrollment and court-ordered inflation money.

Read the Arizona Education Association’s summary of K-12 education budget.

According to JLBC reports, Arizona spent more on education in 2008 than is appropriated in this current budget. When inflation and student growth are factored in, Arizona will be spending less per student than last year.

“Arizona is already last in the nation in per-pupil spending; this budget will keep our children at the bottom unless voters take action,” says AEA President Andrew F. Morrill. “This budget ignores the priorities of our citizens and shows no respect for the majority of parents.”

Ignoring the thousands of parents and students who protested Gov. Ducey’s proposed budget, the state legislators passed the budget in the middle of the night without providing any opportunity for public debate.

“Arizonans were clear about their support for public education, but our state’s leaders chose not to follow the will of the people. They have handed Arizona a budget that prioritizes their own special interests over the majority of students,” says Morrill.

The budget includes funding increases for private prisons, continues $267 million in corporate tax giveaways, and siphons over $100 million to a runaway STO corporate tuition tax credit program that drains still more money from the general fund.

“This budget ignores our public schools and over a million students,” says Morrill. “If our leaders will not find the will to support our priorities, then it is time for the community to come together and demand a solution that ensures a better future for our children and all of Arizona.”

Editor’s note: Sheenae Shannon represents the Arizona Education Association..

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