ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona House votes to lift aggregate expenditure limit for public schools

Feb 7, 2023, 2:40 PM | Updated: 2:42 pm

(Facebook Photo/Peoria Unified School District) Follow @KTAR923...

(Facebook Photo/Peoria Unified School District)

(Facebook Photo/Peoria Unified School District)

PHOENIX — The Arizona House voted Tuesday to lift the aggregate expenditure limit, a step toward avoiding massive budget cuts to Arizona public schools.

The House voted 46-14 in favor of lifting the spending cap. A resolution on it is needed by March 1 to avoid nearly $1.4 billion in budget cuts for the rest of the school year.

If the Arizona Senate also votes to lift the cap, it would signal the end to the issue this year.

It takes a 2/3 majority vote in each chamber to lift the cap. There is no need for Gov. Katie Hobbs to sign the resolution.

Senate spokeswoman Kim Quintero told KTAR News 92.3 FM that its vote would be delayed until at least Wednesday.

The AEL, which limits how much money Arizona K-12 school districts can spend every year, was approved by voters in 1980.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, a Republican, has called on lawmakers to address the issue.

“My goal is to increase learning and increase test scores – they’re really low right now – and I have a lot of proposals to do that,” Horne told KTAR News last month.

“But it would throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing if we had massive layoffs of teachers when we already have a teacher shortage.”

School districts have warned of teacher layoffs and school shutdowns if lawmakers don’t take action.

Mesa Public Schools, the state’s most populous district, would have to cut $88 million from its budget.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Arizona House votes to lift aggregate expenditure limit for public schools