The State Legislature passed a package of legislation that will increase funding to schools by $3.5 Billion over 10 years and settle a years-old education funding lawsuit. This was a win for the students, the Governor, the Legislature, and Republicans. Interestingly, all of the House Democrats and all but three of the Senate Democrats voted against the package even though the AZ Education Association, which represents teachers from all over the state, and the AZ School Board’s Association support the plan.
The package of legislation, which was signed by the Governor, will:
1. Increase funding to the schools by $3.5 Billion over the next 10 years using money from the State School Fund and the State’s General Fund and guarantee inflation adjustments for the future. Specifics can be found HERE.
2. Settle the years-old lawsuit, so that the legislature can move forward negotiating other reforms that will reward high performing schools, improve student performance and require a higher percentage of the money be used in the classroom and on teacher pay.
3. Place the portion of the funding increase that comes from the State School Fund on the May 17, 2016 ballot for voters to approve. Placing this on the ballot was legally necessary.
4. Put in place protections in case the economy tanks and future adjustments need to be made. Specific protections can be found HERE.
The legislature will be going back into its regular legislative session in January. If you have ideas for legislation, please contact me at DLesko@azleg.gov or 602-926-5413.
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
Together, we can make a difference.