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Lack of funding puts Arizona schools’ IT system in jeopardy

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PHOENIX — Funding for Arizona public schools’ IT system could be in trouble.

Diane Douglas, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, says the IT (information technology) budget is currently zero. She said if that’s not corrected at the Legislature soon, there could be serious consequences.

“Payments to all the schools, student calculation, the amount of money they’ll receive – all rest on having a viable IT system,” she said.

Among other things, the department’s IT system keeps track of how many students are in a given school. The state Department of Education has invested millions into a new database that helps make that tracking more accurate. The department asked for nearly $18 million for its IT division to continue developing and maintaining the current systems. Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget includes nothing for this.

“If we can’t get the monies to the schools, they can’t pay their bills – they can’t pay their teachers,” Douglas said. “They can’t buy the supplies they need.”

Douglas said she’s also worried if current IT employees aren’t guaranteed funding for their positions, she’ll lose them.

“[Phoenix] is a very hot IT market right now,” she said. “We’ve already lost two.”

Arizona's Morning News

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