STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released statements on Governor Ducey’s proposed plan to distribute more money from the state-land trust.
Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
“This week the U.S. Census released a report showing Arizona spends less on K-12 education than any other state. The source of our education funding crisis is the systemic failure of Republican legislative leadership and the governor to fully fund education at the level dictated both by the people of Arizona through Prop 301 and by the constitution of our state,” said Sen. Hobbs. “While Governor Ducey's proposal could put much needed dollars in Arizona schools in the short term, it is yet another band-aid on our kids' schools unless part of a broader, permanent solution to their funding woes. His plan only covers ten years and only works if the economy is stable over that time. What's more, if next year's budget looks like this year's, any gains from this plan could be negated by discretionary funding cuts made by Republican leaders.
“The negligence of Republican leaders to fulfill their responsibility to Arizona children can only be remedied through an honest settlement to the ongoing inflation funding lawsuit and a consistent and sustainable source of sufficient funding for our schools.
“Our priority should be to settle the lawsuit first, then consider this proposal. We certainly hope Governor Ducey honors his commitment to collaborate with education stakeholders, public school districts, charters and all members of the legislature to craft a plan on which we can all agree.”
House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer:
“Arizona schools need money for classrooms, students and teachers now. We can’t afford to wait until 2017. If the governor is serious about getting resources into classrooms, he should agree to pay the more than $330 million in inflation funding that the courts have ruled our schools are due,” said Rep. Meyer.
“The governor’s plan might be part of a broader solution, as long as the money goes to classrooms and does not deplete the state’s constitutionally protected school funding nest egg for future generations. If this is the best option the governor can come up with, it’s not enough. It could increase per pupil funding, but after years of Republican education cuts, it will only be a drop in the bucket. This could be one part of a comprehensive plan to increase education funding, but it is not a solution in and of itself. The issues our schools, children and teachers are facing will require a long-term plan to increase investment in our classrooms.”