Ducey Proposes Plan To Close Recession-Era Education Funding Deficits

By Carrie Jung
Published: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 4:33pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 4:00pm
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has revealed more details about public school funding in next year’s state budget proposal. The governor’s plan includes $400 million of additional K-12 funding.

Ducey also revealed a longer term plan to restore recession-era cuts to capital needs funding. The first installment would phase in next year with $100 million allocated to capital. More than $1 billion will then be rolled in gradually over the next five years.

"I want to amplify that these dollars are permanent," explained Ducey. "They are flexible. They can be used for both capital and for teachers' salaries."

The plan comes nearly a year after a coalition of educators and advocates filed suit against the state to adequately fund capital formulas. Plaintiffs in the case, including the Arizona School Boards Association, say they’re optimistic about the move but add they’ll move forward with the lawsuit until school boards indicate the new plan meets their needs.

But other education advocates say it’s still not enough.

"That is not new money," said Dawn Penich-Thacker with Save Our Schools Arizona. "It is simply paying back a portion of what was taken out of the budget a decade ago. So paying someone back is not leadership."

Ducey’s budget proposal must be approved by the Legislature before it can take effect in fiscal year 2019.

Capitol Media Services contributed to this report.

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