Arizona coalition seeks increase in education funding in upcoming budget
PHOENIX — AZ Schools Now, a coalition of parents, teachers, faith-based leaders and businesses, is calling on the state Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey to deliver increased sustainable and permanent investments to power educational success.
The governor and the Legislature have already committed to restoring the budget cuts within the next five years, but AZ Schools Now wants them to do it all at once, in case another recession hits and again takes money from schools and staff.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about a budget surplus this year and revenues that are projected to come in that the governor and the Legislature will allocate for one time,” Dana Wolfe Naimark, the president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance, one of the organizations involved, said.
“There’s been a lot of conversation where this one time investment should go.”
AZ Schools Now is urging lawmakers to focus on two top priority areas for fiscal year 2020 funding:
• Accelerate the restoration of additional assistance for district and charter schools, rather than phasing it in over the next four years. The $200 million is available this year and is already counted as ongoing spending in future budgets.
• Increase building renewal grants for for fiscal year 2020. There are large amounts of documented, unmet needs for capital maintenance and repair.
“We’ve heard a lot of stories and seen a lot of horrific photos of school buildings that have leaking roofs, things falling apart, and school buses that are old and rickety,” Wolfe Naimark said.
“There can be additional grant money that can be put into building repair and maintenance that would make an everyday difference in the lives of our students.”