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Ducey signs Prop. 301 bill to extend millions in Arizona school funding

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PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed Monday a 20-year extension of Proposition 301 that will provide more than $500 million annually for primary and secondary public education.

“Nearly 20 years ago, Gov. (Jane) Hull and Arizona voters passed Proposition 301,” Ducey said in a statement. “Today, elected leaders have worked together, in a bipartisan fashion, to keep this funding stream alive for our schools, teachers and students.”

The bill to extend the program — which also would shift an additional $64 million being used for debt service to education in 2021 — was passed by both houses in the state Legislature last week.

“Our top priority has been K-12 funding and increasing teacher pay,” Senate President Steve Yarbrough told KTAR 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos on Wednesday.

Eileen Klein, the president of the Arizona Board of Regents, said in a statement that the passage of Proposition 301 “signals good news for education in Arizona” and ensured dedicated revenues for public education.

“With the renewal of these funds, Arizona educational institutions from K-12 to our public universities are able to continue utilizing these critical dollars for the continued success of our students and our state.”

Voters initially passed the proposition in 2000. The tax was to expire in mid-2021.

The proposals by Republican Rep. Doug Coleman and Sen. Kate Brophy McGee stalled in January but gained second wind last week.

The tax produces nearly $670 million a year. Public K-12 schools receive the majority of the money. Another chunk — $154 million — has gone toward universities, colleges and school-construction debt payments.

The tax has added to cash available for teacher pay and school operations, although some teachers in the state have been staging protests and wearing red to show their sentiments that pay remained low.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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