Arizona schools chief Hoffman urges Legislature to act on spending limit measure

Jan 20, 2022, 4:45 AM
(Facebook Photo/Kathy Hoffman)...
(Facebook Photo/Kathy Hoffman)
(Facebook Photo/Kathy Hoffman)

PHOENIX — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman is worried politics and a noncommittal Legislature could jeopardize over $1.1 billion in school funding due to a 40-year-old spending limit.

A 1980 measure passed by state voters put a cap on how much K-12 schools can spend during an academic year. Arizona is set to exceed that limit this year, which would not allow schools to spend the money unless legislative action is taken.

If the Arizona Legislature doesn’t find a solution by the March 1 deadline, districts would have to slash their budgets by about 16%. Those cuts, Hoffman said, would be debilitating.

“It would impact every single school district in Arizona,” Hoffman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Wednesday.

“There’s no way that our schools can operate with having to take this type of cut and it would ultimately result in school closures and or staffing cuts and in a way that’s truly not operational for our school districts.”

The spending limit issue has arose in the past, but has typically been adjusted with a quick fix, according to Hoffman.

She doesn’t think a fast solution is as guaranteed as in previous years.

Hoffman said “political maneuvering” in an election year could provide unnecessary interference.

The lengthy process required to pass the 2021 fiscal year budget also doesn’t inspire confidence from Hoffman.

“I’m worried this year because of how divisive politics have become,” Hoffman, a Democrat, said.

“Even in the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot more will I saw from our lawmakers to work together to get things done on behalf of our public education system, but this is an election year.”

A solution is already in the works.

Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Pawlik introduced a bill that would permanently repeal the measure.

The bill would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to pass.

“We need to take the stress off the table,” Hoffman said. “Our schools are already dealing with enough. We need to just get this done and make it a top priority for the beginning of the legislative session.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t heard a commitment to get it done like that from both sides.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)...
Danny Shapiro

US Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona denies asking for pardon following Jan. 6 attack

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona on Wednesday denied asking for a pardon following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in 2021.
13 hours ago
FILE - In this Sunday, June 30, 2013 file photo made by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, members of the...

Flags to fly half-staff on 9th anniversary of Granite Mountain Hotshots’ deaths

Flags on Arizona state buildings will be lowered to half-staff Thursday, the ninth anniversary of the deaths of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire.
13 hours ago
Matt Salmon, left, endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson on June 29, 2022, a day after he withdrew for Ariz...
Kevin Stone

After ending Arizona governor bid, Matt Salmon endorses Karrin Taylor Robson

A day after he ended his campaign to become the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, Matt Salmon endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson in the race on Wednesday.
13 hours ago
Dulcenia Edwards (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...

1 killed at Goodyear home; suspect taken into custody

A West Valley woman was arrested Tuesday, suspected of killing a man at a Goodyear home hours after an argument.
13 hours ago
(File Facebook Photo/Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)...

Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy killed in shooting with suspect, who is in custody

A Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy was killed Tuesday afternoon in a shooting with a suspect, who was taken into custody, authorities said.
13 hours ago
Follow @DannyShapiro13...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Arizona schools chief Hoffman urges Legislature to act on spending limit measure