Hoffman Calls On Arizona Lawmakers To Fully Fund Schools As They Continue To Face Challenges

Published: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 5:54pm
Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 8:17am
Arizona Department of Education
Kathy Hoffman in June 2019.

During the pandemic, Arizona schools have faced unexpected expenses to keep students and staff safe, but the state continues to deny them the long-term funding they need, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said during her State of Education address Tuesday at a Senate Education Committee meeting. 

Public schools are projected to lose up to $500 million because the state currently funds distance learning at a lower rate than in-person instruction, Hoffman said. The state’s enrollment stabilization grant program meant to address this issue fell short by $247 million. While schools are receiving federal relief funding, Hoffman said it's not enough to cover gaps in schools’ budgets. 

“When the state sits on a billion-dollar rainy day fund and projects a two-billion-dollar surplus, there is no excuse to not fully fund every school," she said. "There has never been a more urgent time to tap into our safety net and provide for Arizonans. Anyone who thinks it's not raining in Arizona right now needs to check their privilege.”

Hoffman also criticized talks of tax cuts during this time of need, likely a jab at the budget proposal Gov. Doug Ducey unveiled last month. 

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