Report: Arizona ranks near the bottom in public school student funding

Sep 8, 2016, 5:46 AM | Updated: 10:10 am
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Arizona has almost one million students enrolled in its public schools, but garners a low ranking in funding those students.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Arizona ranks 48th out of 50 states in overall per pupil funding for its K-12 students.

Revenue per student for fiscal year 2014 came out to $8,786 in Arizona. That’s below the national average of $12,774 per student. Arizona ranks 15th in the nation in the amount of students enrolled in public schools, with over 944,000 students.

“We know that it’s an issue,” said Charles Tack, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Education. “It’s not something that tends to be fixed overnight.”

He said Proposition 123 is a start, but it is not the only revenue solution. He added that even with $350 million a year going to schools for the next 10 years, it wouldn’t mean a big boost for Arizona in the rankings.

“I believe those estimates were run and we were still looking at something along the lines of still [being] in the 40s, possibly the mid-40s,” Tack said. “It’s one of the reasons we’re looking to find new ways to get schools additional funding.”

Tack said one way to raise more money would be the transferring of some of Arizona’s federal lands back to the state. Those lands could then be leased or sold, producing more money for the state land trust. That land trust helps fund education.

Tack said they have also reached out to community and business partners, hoping they can help schools save money and provide more opportunities for students.

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Report: Arizona ranks near the bottom in public school student funding