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Funding for AZ Public Schools Continues to Shortchange K-12 Students

Public school students are still receiving less support from state funds, when adjusted for inflation, than they were 10 years ago. When adjusted for inflation, today’s per student funding is $27 lower than it was in fiscal year 2009.

Looking just at the funding formula – those state, local and federal dollars that go to all district and charter schools based on the number of students – today’s per student funding is $499 lower than it was in fiscal year 2009. This is even after the $188 million increase in the distribution from the state land trust (Prop 123) which will expire in 7 years.

With the growth in the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA)s, which are funded in the K-12 formula but go to students enrolled in private schools or other non-public school settings, the amounts reported now exclude those scholarships. For this fiscal year, the estimate is that $63 million will go to ESAs.

Spending outside the funding formula includes funding that benefits specific schools, such as new school construction and building renewal grants and early literacy grants. The $37 million in results-based funding that will go to the highest performing schools is also outside the funding formula.

See our chart showing how funding has changed over the last 10 years here.

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