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Gov. Ducey’s 2019 State Budget Proposal: What’s In It?

Infographic in printable PDF

Arizona’s growing economy CAN’T plug leaks caused by 28 years of tax cuts. The budget is loaded with overly optimistic revenue projections, counts on more Arizonans playing the lottery, takes $52 million from hospital patients, counties, and universities and uses $89 million in one-time shifts, as well as sweeps from special purpose funds. Additionally, $262 million will go to private schools. Our infographic tells the story:

Legislation for Kids and Families

The Arizona legislature and Congress are back at work this month and we have good news for children and families.

First, Congress has approved funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known in Arizona as KidsCare, for the next six years – a big win after funding expired last September 30th. Arizona now has guaranteed 100% federal funding for KidsCare through September 2019 and 91% federal funding for the year after that.

Second, the legislature’s House Health Committee last week approved HB 2127 without opposition, a measure that prevents an automatic freeze on KidsCare when federal funding dips below 100%. KidsCare was reinstated in 2016 after being closed to new enrollment in 2010 and provides affordable health coverage for more than 24,000 (and rising) Arizona families. HB 2127 now heads to the full House for further consideration.

You can join us in supporting this bill and other bills that promote children’s health, education, and security.

See our top bill list that we will update regularly.

West Valley Education Forum on Thursday, January 25

Join the League of Women Voters, Children’s Action Alliance, Save Our Schools, AZ PTA, American Association of University Women, Kappa Kappa Gamma West Valley Alumni and members of the community for a forum on K-12 education funding next Thursday, January 25th in Surprise.

This is your opportunity to hear more about what’s going on at the legislative level and make your voice heard. Details are below:

Lawmakers Need to Hear From You: Keep KidsCare in Place for AZ Working Families

The legislative session is in full swing, with important bills already being heard in committees. Just one critical measure being considered is HB 2127 to prevent another freeze of KidsCare, Arizona’s affordable health coverage for working families. The first hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, January 18th at 10:30 am.

Congress has not yet voted to provide continued federal funding, but we expect a vote in the next two months. Arizona lawmakers have a chance to be proactive so that a small drop in Congressional funding in the future would not trigger an automatic freeze on KidsCare – shutting children out of the check-ups, prescriptions, immunizations, and treatments they need to grow up healthy.

Please join us in being a voice for Arizona families: KidsCare keeps children healthy and parents working. Click here to tell members of the Arizona House Health Committee you want them to vote YES to keep KidsCare in place.


Your Turn: Gov. Doug Ducey Would Give Schools $89 More Per Student. That’s Not Enough.

From The Arizona Republic

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is restoring money cut to schools during the recession, but it’s not enough to truly move the needle.

Gov. Doug Ducey is hearing the alarm bells across our state about our critical teacher shortage.

Tens of thousands of Arizona children are in classrooms without a permanent teacher. Positions go unfilled and classrooms get more crowded as so many exceptional teachers leave Arizona schools because of low pay and a lack of the support and infrastructure they need.

But the governor’s response so far doesn’t match the level of the crisis. And while voters, parents and business leaders consistently name public education funding as their top priority, Ducey’s response gives us more words than action.

Read the full editorial here. 


Gov. Ducey’s FY 2019 Budget Plan Fails Arizona Schools

Governor Ducey released his budget proposal today. There are some trends that are good for kids growing up in Arizona today, including a proposed funding increase for more children who are adopted from foster care and no new prison beds. But his lack of a long term financial plan for public schools fails Arizona. It’s up to us to demand stronger reinvestments and permanent funding sources from our elected leaders this year.

The Governor is focusing attention on his proposal to restore $100 million in classroom funding next year (called “District Additional Assistance and Charter Additional Assistance”). This is one small and necessary step in reinvesting in public schools. His proposal would reverse the budget cut that he proposed and adopted three years ago. But this amount is too low to move the needle on the teacher shortage crisis or on any of our shared educational goals.

Adding together all of his proposals, the Governor’s fiscal year 2019 plan still leaves public schools $952 million short of funding compared to 2008. This leaves Arizona students with a critical shortage of permanent teachers, outdated textbooks and technology, and a harmful lack of specialized teachers and support.

Governor Ducey provides us a glimpse of his future funding plans for public schools. While he promises to reverse some of the previous cuts to schools, he presents no financial plan we can count on. He promises more tax cuts every year, which will continue to shrink resources for public schools. And even at the end of his 5-year plan, public school classrooms will be short $700 million compared to 2008.

Stay tuned for more details on the Governor’s budget plan next week.

AZ Schools Now Statement on Governor Ducey’s FY19 Budget: Long-term Funding Inadequacies Persist

Phoenix, Ariz.—Restoring the district and charter school additional assistance funding that Governor Ducey and the Legislature cut in fiscal year 2016 is a necessary reinvestment in Arizona’s K-12 public schools. However, this closes only a small portion of the funding gap that has persisted since the recession. Under the governor’s proposal, public school operational funding would remain $950 million below 2008 levels.

By refusing to address the revenue imbalances in our budget, we leave our schools and the students they serve without a serious, long-term path toward meeting the shared goals of the Education Progress Meter or addressing our critical teacher shortage.

We must find the courage to move beyond reactive, short-term measures with no guarantees and instead tackle the root causes of our budgetary crises so that our students and our state are prepared to compete with and meet the challenges of an ever-changing economy.

The coalition remains committed to working with the governor’s office and the Legislature to find sustainable, permanent and equitable solutions to strengthen our public schools.

*Chart does not include new school construction


Permanent Guardianship in Arizona Needs Updated Policies and Support

After nearly two decades of experience with permanent guardianship in Arizona, the time has come to update laws and practices to safeguard children and improve their stability and security.

Abused and neglected children can be connected to lifelong families through an option known as “permanent guardianship,” which allows kids to leave foster care and live with people they already know and trust, preventing them from bouncing from one foster placement to another. This enables them to keep safe connections to their birth families and cultures.

Despite its many benefits, the supports for permanent guardianship have eroded over the years, including disconnected access to AHCCCS health coverage and dramatically lower guardianship support payments than what is available for children in adoption or standard foster care cases. Additionally, there is a need for clearer policies, practices and easier processes for permanent guardianship so that the courts, caseworkers, and families can all make better decisions for children.

Our new policy brief, Guardianship Can Be a Positive Life Changer for Children, outlines the policies that need to be updated. Read our brief here.

Gov. Ducey’s K-12 Education Funding Plan Fails to Restore $952M in K-12 Cuts

Governor Ducey announced an outline of his budget proposals for K-12 public schools yesterday. He enthusiastically described the value of reversing $100 million in cuts to classroom funding that he made just three years ago. He also wants to add $10 million in this year’s budget and $18 million in next year’s budget for school building maintenance and repair. He says he wants to restore another $271 million in cuts to classroom funding over five years, paid for by the state’s general fund. These are very small steps to reinvest in our public schools that will leave Arizona with a continuing critical teacher shortage, outdated textbooks and technology, dysfunctional school facilities and a harmful lack of student support.

What’s most notable about this plan is what is missing.

  • Missing is $950 million in classroom funding next year compared to what Arizona students had ten years ago.
  • Missing is sustainable funding schools can count on for restoring the cuts and paying teachers more.
  • Missing is any proposal from the Governor about replacing the $600 million that will disappear when Proposition 301 expires two years before the end of his plan.
  • Missing is any path to restore the other $700 million in cuts or to fuel any movement toward our Progress Meter goals on quality preschool, early literacy, 8th grade math, high school graduation, or attainment after high school.

Restoring some classroom cuts and some funding for school buildings is a small start – click here to see how small. But Arizonans expect bigger and better steps for reinvestments in our public schools during this legislative session.

AZ Schools Now: Governor Ducey’s Education Plan Fails to Meet Critical Test of Sustainability

PDF Version 

Phoenix, Ariz.— AZ Schools Now—a coalition of parents, teachers, school board members, faith-based leaders, and children’s advocates—responded to Governor Doug Ducey’s five-year education funding plan by saying the plan failed to meet a critical test of sustainability.
“Arizona’s public schools and the students they serve are suffering under years-long neglect,” declared Beth Simek, president of the Arizona PTA. “They need a sustainable plan they can count on with a dedicated revenue source.”

Dawn Penich-Thacker, spokeswoman for Save Our Schools Arizona, stated, “When the governor declared in his State of the State address that he wanted to ‘restore the long-standing cuts from the recession,’ we were hopeful this funding plan would seriously address the $1.1 billion in cuts that have yet to be reinstated. But if we follow the governor’s plan, it will take another decade or longer to get us back to where we were a decade ago and will not move us out of our bottom of the barrel funding.”

“Our teacher shortage crisis will not improve without a serious, long-term plan to address the funding inadequacies in our budget,” said Reverend Andy Burnette, a leader with Arizona Interfaith Network and pastor of Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Chandler. “We simply do not have enough revenues to get us back to pre-recession days or move us forward in a meaningful way. We’ve cut too much and added too little.”

AZ Schools Now recently called on the Legislature and Governor Doug Ducey to deliver sustainable, permanent and equitable investments in the state’s public schools in 2018 and presented a menu of investment options the Legislature could enact that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Arizona’s K-12 public schools.