Arizona education coalition: Ducey’s proposed budget not enough

Jan 10, 2018, 4:45 AM
(KTAR News/Kathy Cline)...
(KTAR News/Kathy Cline)
(KTAR News/Kathy Cline)
LISTEN: Education proposal not enough

PHOENIX — It’s not enough.

That’s what an Arizona education coalition said about Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed education budget for 2018.

“Arizona families are tired of being told education is a priority – and then hearing proposals, like the one we heard this morning, that amount to scrounging for change in the couch cushions,” said Dawn Penich-Thacker, AZ Save Our Schools spokeswoman.

“Arizona schools need more than $1 billion just to make up for what we lost a decade ago.”

School funding dipped in 2008, at the start of the Great Recession. The state currently ranks last in the nation in per-pupil spending; its teachers are some of the lowest-paid nationwide.

In a Monday press conference, Ducey proposed giving $100 million to schools next year; $168 million in 2019; and over $300 million in 2023.

He also stated the permanent increases would be flexible – that is, school districts could use them for teacher salaries, building improvements, or whatever’s needed. Ducey’s entire proposed budget will be unveiled Friday.

Coalition member Rev. Andy Burnett is the senior minister for a Universalist congregation in Chandler and part of AZ Save Our Schools. He said all faith traditions require caring for the weak and young, and making sure the young get the best care and education they can.

“Friends, we are a long way from meeting our obligation,” he said. “We have a drastically-underfunded education system that has teacher pay so low that teachers are leaving in droves.

“The proposal on the table seems to offer less than $100,” he said. “We can – and we must – do better.”

The group said if Ducey is not budgeting more money next year, voters may see another ballot initiative next year.

“We’ve said from the beginning that we need funding now, and we need that funding to be substantial,” Penich-Thacker said. “The package that the governor proposed today? If that’s all that we get more details on Friday, we have said from the beginning that we will take matters into our own hands.

“That would entail running an initiative.”

Whatever happens, the group is united on one thing: Arizona schools need more money.

Beth Simek is the mother of two sons, president of the Arizona PTA and a member of AZ Save our Schools.

“Gimmicks and Band-Aids are just not going to cut it,” she said. “We need real solutions, and a real, sustainable funding source.”


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(CVS Health Photos)...

Affordable housing development in south Phoenix holds grand opening

UMOM New Day Centers held a grand opening ceremony Wednesday for an affordable housing development in south Phoenix.
22 hours ago
This Spicy Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich is part of the new food menu approved by the NFL for the S...
Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

First look: State Farm Stadium ups the ante on Super Bowl food, beverage offerings

Those attending the NFL’s championship game, which will be played in Glendale on Sunday, can expect an elevated food and beverage menu.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa Police Department)...

4 Mesa children reported missing found in Texas, father arrested

Four Valley children who were reported missing earlier this week were found safe in Texas, authorities said Wednesday. 
22 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Phoenix woman who was subject of December Silver Alert found safe

Authorities canceled a Silver Alert for a missing Phoenix woman on Wednesday, two months after it was issued.
22 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
Danny Shapiro

Spending limit lifted this year for Arizona public schools after Senate vote

The aggregate expenditure limit for public schools this year was lifted Wednesday, allowing districts to avoid massive budget cuts.
22 hours ago
Disturbed (Live Nation Photo)...

Disturbed to hit Phoenix this summer on Take Back Your Life Tour

It's going to be sick when Disturbed brings its brand of chugging heavy metal to Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre this summer.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Arizona education coalition: Ducey’s proposed budget not enough