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Cuts affecting Arizona school districts’ ability to maintain buildings

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — An advocacy group said Friday that building maintenance has fallen by the wayside for some Arizona school districts as their state-funded budgets shrink.

“When our capital dollars have been cut by 85 percent, then we don’t have the ability to adopt curriculum or maintain our buildings,” Jill Barragan, the president-elect of the Arizona Association of Business Professionals.

Barragan said other areas of education — such as in-classroom spending and teacher salaries — tend to grab more of the monetary headlines.

“Students have cute faces and they’ve got lots of people that want to support them and teachers have an association and they have a voice through that,” she said. “Nobody tends to speak up for buildings so they tend to kind of get left until the end.”

Barragan said her organization has seen an increase in voters approving local bonds in recent years, which has helped to maintain some schools.

“I think it’s because the communities are recognizing that the facilities need some support as well,” she said.

However, those bonds are only effective in the immediate vicinity. For all schools to have enough funding to maintain their buildings, Barragan said districts need to work with Gov. Doug Ducey and the state Legislature to phase-in a plan.

“It really needs to be a resolution from the state level,” she said.

KTAR News’ Atlan Hassard contributed to this report.


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