Ducey: Rainy day fund increase would protect Arizona education funding

Apr 16, 2019, 6:55 AM

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says an increase to the state’s rainy day fund would protect future education funding.

Last week, he signed a bill that would allow the rainy day fund to hold up to $1 billion if lawmakers approve the deposit.

“Right now we have about $450 million in the rainy day fund, and what I want to do is take that balance to $1 billion to protect education,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Monday.

He said the idea is to hedge the state’s bets against any future economic downturn.

“Right now our economy is really booming … so we’re going to take $637 million of it this year and put that into education,” he said.

“But what I’m thinking about as the chief executive was, remember 2008? … If we behave and think and spend like this economy’s never going to end, that’s how the rug got pulled out from under the teachers.”

Ducey said along with these savings, an increase in funding for performance-based bonuses would also help Arizona schools succeed.

His 2020 budget calls for $98 million to go toward these bonuses, up from the $39 million allocated for them in 2017.

“We try to put the incentive there … and we carve it out so that they go to the free- and reduced-lunch schools, 60% of the dollars will go there, so they go to the schools that are in the low-income areas,” he said.

“It’s about getting the results and the outcomes inside the classroom.”

He said he thinks the bonuses could help Arizona continue to improve its math and reading test scores.

“So we’re expanding a program that we believe works. It’ll be available to hundreds of more schools because of (the funding),” he said.

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Ducey: Rainy day fund increase would protect Arizona education funding