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Final Word: Arizona will be richer when it spends more on schools

It’s no secret that school funding is a problem in our state. Arizona spends $7,600 per student in an academic year while the national average is $10,500.

The only states that spend LESS than Arizona are Oklahoma, Idaho, and Utah.

Two years ago, faced with a barrage of false advertising by public education opponents, voters said no to Prop. 204, which would have dedicated a portion of sales tax to support public education. When that money went away, school districts were forced to make some tough choices.

In Scottsdale, the district has made an exceptionally tough choice and has decided to cut music, art and physical education classes in half, and send kids home at noon every Wednesday.

Every WEDNESDAY, starting in August.

In Arizona, students go to school 180 days a year. Most parents believe that isn’t enough, yet, in Scottsdale, students will get their Wednesdays cut in half.

Any parent will tell you that a half-day is a waste of time. Kids never bother to get engaged in the day, everything is cut short, and the day is rushed.
The loss of the so called “extras” such asusic and PE are one thing. I would argue the students will lose the whole day.

Scottsdale public schools are faced with an extra problem. You might argue it makes the kids there lucky, but the schools UNlucky.

In scottsdale, there are a disproportionate number of charter and private options for students. When school funding goes down, the quality of the education will go down as well. Parents start to pull their kids from the schools and move them to the other options because they feel like they have a little more control over how the dollars are spent at the schools.

As a result, Scottsdale schools have no idea how many students will show up and it’s harder for them to budget. They can’t plan to spend dollars they don’t know if they will have, so they were forced to get drastic.
It’s really a shame.

You can argue that Arizona school districts could spend their money more efficiently but you can’t ask teachers to teach for free, or schoolbooks to fall out of trees.

Education costs something, and we need to better prepare to pay for it and support it or we will all pay more down the road.