What’s on the Horizon for Public School Funding?
Governor Ducey announced with great enthusiasm a 15-point plan to strengthen public education with a focus on addressing the teacher shortage crisis and closing the achievement gap for students growing up in families with few economic resources. Children’s Action Alliance welcomes a focus on these big goals for Arizona. Parents, community leaders and business CEOs agree that supporting excellent teachers and student success are keys to Arizona’s economic future.
Governor Ducey’s budget proposal, however, does not live up to his big ideas. His proposal invests only $95 million in new funds over these 15 public education initiatives. And his budget also includes $52 million in cuts to district and charter public schools – budget cuts that were previously enacted and are still phasing in.
As a result, the net increase to public education is only $38.33 per student. That includes a teacher raise of only $185 in the whole first year. It would be hard to imagine any business CEO expecting a meaningful change in the workforce with such a small salary increase. All together, the very small steps Governor Ducey proposes toward very large goals will not be able to move the needle on educational progress.
Arizonans expect more. The Governor can’t continue to promise annual tax cuts, growing tax credits, and a world class public education for all. We call on the Governor and our state legislature to make teacher salaries the top priority this year over tax cuts, tax credits, and other investments. And to live up to all of our other shared goals in education, we ask our lawmakers to begin a formal conversation about how we will renew and update Proposition 301 – the special sales tax dedicated to public education that expires in four years.
We’re proud to be part of an education coalition, AZ Schools Now, that brings Arizonans together to fight for the sustainable resources we need for real progress in education. See our statement here.