AZ Legislature Passes Budget - Education a Top Priority

06 May 2017  
The Arizona Legislature passed the state budget at 3:55 AM this morning - and it includes money for modest teacher raises and new school construction. It passed completely along partisan lines - all Democrats voted against it, and all Republicans voted in support.

Afterwards, the Republicans released this statement:

Republicans Pass Budget That Raises Teacher Pay by $1,000 Above Inflation and Invests Over $300 Million in New K-12 Spending

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) and Senate President Steve Yarbrough (R-17) this morning applauded passage of a budget that increases teacher pay by an average of $1,000 and adds over $300 million for K-12 education.

“Republicans in the Legislature and Governor Ducey have worked hard to craft a budget that reflects Arizonans’ top priority: education,” said Speaker Mesnard. “This budget includes a $1,000 raise beyond inflation for public school teachers, over $300 million in new K-12 spending, a massive investment in university research facilities and infrastructure, and dozens of other provisions that boost education funding.”

“Conservative budgeting over the past few years put extra money in our state coffers,” said President Yarbrough. “With that, this year we boosted teacher paychecks, provided funding for school repairs and the construction of six new schools, targeted tens of millions of dollars to schools getting results, guaranteed yearly funding for university building projects and provided an additional $30 million to repair our roads. We also delivered a broad-based tax cut and left the state with a structurally-balanced budget. I'd say the people of Arizona are better off because of this state budget.”

Highlights of the budget:
· In addition to inflation and growth increases, directs $68 million over two years for an average $1,000 raise for public school teachers.
· Appropriates $62.9 million for new school construction projects.
· Provides $37.6 million for Results-Based Funding for K-12 education.
· Offsets the impact of Prop. 206 on the developmentally disabled community by directing $45 million to the Department of Economic Security and AHCCCS.
· Demonstrates a commitment to rural transportation by appropriating $30 million to the Highway User Revenue Fund.
· Appropriates $27 million to provide debt service to allow universities to construct new facilities through bonding that could exceed $1 billion in value in future years.


Governor Ducey offered this statement:

Public Schools, Teachers, Universities Big Winners In Arizona Budget Package

Republicans, Democrats Join Together To Support Landmark, Bipartisan University Infrastructure Package

PHOENIX — Arizona public schools, our teachers and public universities are the biggest winners in the fiscal year 2018 budget. Under the agreement, public schools will receive at least $163 million in new funding next year – above and beyond inflation and enrollment growth. The $163 million investment builds upon funding that was approved by voters with the passage of Prop 123, which provides $318 million to public schools in FY2018, for a total of $557 in new K-12 spending next year.

Under the plan, public school teachers will receive the bulk of the dollars, with a permanent and well-deserved 2 percent pay raise phased in over two years. This will represent $68 million in ongoing funding for teachers. The budget also paves the way for a $1 billion investment in Arizona’s public universities, passed with bipartisan support from a majority of Senate Democrats, and fulfilling two major priorities outlined by the governor in his State of the State address in January.

“Arizona has passed a budget that prioritizes education, boosts teacher pay, and invests in our universities — all without raising taxes on hardworking Arizonans,” said Governor Ducey. “For the first time in a decade, we are making significant and lasting investments to grow our state — in state parks; in public schools and universities, in our roads and highways; and in programs to combat drug addiction, provide second chances to inmates, and place foster children in permanent homes. This would not be possible without the hard work to balance our budget over recent years. And it should come as no surprise that we are investing where it can really make a difference. I thank the legislature for their hard work and look forward to building on these gains to continue expanding opportunity for all Arizonans.”

Noteworthy new investments in the budget include:


• $68 million for a permanent 2% teacher pay raise over two years
• $27 million in ongoing capital investments for universities that will enable over $1 billion in bonding
• $37.6 million for results-based funding at public schools, half of which is earmarked for teacher raises
• $20 million over two years for early literacy programs, including full-day kindergarten
• $80 million for the construction and maintenance of school facilities
• $7.3 million for IT upgrades to more efficiently make payments to schools at the Department of Education
• $3 million in matching funds for rural school access to internet connectivity/broadband generating approximately $100 million in total funds
• $2.6 million additional funds for small and isolated rural schools
• $1 million for high school graduates to complete JTED programs
• $250,000 to expand principal leadership training
• $250,000 to expand teacher loan forgiveness
• $100,000 for dropout prevention programs
• $30 million in permanent investments for local transportation infrastructure projects
• $6.6 million to grow Arizona State Parks, including $4 million to build Rockin’ River Ranch
• $1.2 million to completely eliminate the state’s sexual assault kit backlog
• $220,900 for AHCCCS to combat opioid addiction
• $1.5 million for a post-release fire crew
• $517,900 for substance abuse and reentry counselors to reduce recidivism
• $6.1 million to upgrade the Department of Child Safety’s outdated electronic management system
• $2 million for adoption services
• $1 million to increase funding for kinship caregivers, often known as the “grandma stipend”
• $2 million for enhanced services at Adult Protective Services
• $2 million for Arizona’s drought contingency plan
• $1.2 million for additional personnel supporting proper management of the state’s streams and groundwater
• $269,900 for fire safety communications equipment and a Deputy Fire Marshal
• $500,000 for a new public health emergency fund
• $400,000 for court appointed special advocates

ASU Office Of The President: Statement On Passage Of FY18 State Budget

ASU Office of the President

Today marks a significant day for the state of Arizona. With passage of the fiscal year 2018 budget, Gov. Doug Ducey is ushering in a new wave of support for higher education, the students we serve and the emergence of our state's new knowledge-driven economy.

Unequivocally, the success of our state is dependent on providing greater access to higher education and equipping students with the knowledge and ability to be adaptive learners, capable of tackling the world’s most complex challenges. The dollars allotted for the universities in the FY18 budget will assist in giving more students the opportunity to receive a high-quality education and positively contribute to Arizona’s future.

Investing in research infrastructure at ASU has proved to pay substantial dividends in the past. For ASU, the research infrastructure support included in the FY18 budget will lead to the construction of multiple buildings that will serve as major hubs for research, innovation and technology transfer. These buildings will attract elite researchers dealing with some of the most pressing issues facing society today, including national defense, advanced manufacturing, neurodegenerative diseases, biomedicine and sustainability. This investment will contribute to the advancement of ASU to world-class status as a research university, joining a premier category of research universities without a medical school such as MIT and Georgia Tech. It is also expected to generate more than $800 million in annual research, help launch more than 200 startups in the next several years and attract more than $1 billion in venture funding by 2025.

Finally, the successful launch of our School for Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will be further buoyed by the dollars allotted in this budget. This school is designed to be a national hub of scholarship and public engagement regarding leadership and statesmanship, civic and constitutional thought and political economy. It is the first school in the nation with such a broad spectrum of components focused on these issues that will include a certificate program and undergraduate and — eventually — graduate degrees, house top-notch faculty and visiting fellows, conduct research, produce scholarly writing, and provide community outreach through lectures, forums and other events related to public-policy issues.

We are honored to have the privilege to advance ASU as the most innovative school in the United States and recognize the leadership of Gov. Ducey and the state Legislature in these efforts.

Read the story here.


FY 2018 State Budget

The following statement may be attributed to Eileen Klein, President of the Arizona Board of Regents: “On behalf of the Arizona Board of Regents and Arizona’s public universities, I applaud Gov. Doug Ducey and legislators for their bold vision, and the courage and tenacity to deliver a significant plan to fund Arizona’s public universities.

“The FY 2018 state budget approved today is a true investment for the future of our state. It makes possible the development of new research and education facilities to meet the needs of future generations of Arizonans. It
also helps address the critical backlog of university repairs, renovations and upgrades to existing facilities.

Special thanks go to business leaders from across our state who supported this plan because they recognize the importance of building upon our critical academic infrastructure in support of our state economy.

“This infrastructure plan will reap benefits for the State of Arizona for decades to come. The real impact of this investment is in the education of our students and the discoveries that will unfold, impacting our community and our world. The construction alone that will result from these dollars is expected to generate 2,200 jobs and add $166 million to Arizona’s gross domestic product and $148 million in personal income for each of the next five years. Importantly, the plan will help ensure our campuses remain safe, vibrant and high quality places for students to learn, work, conduct research and grow as members of the community and thriving contributors to the bright future of Arizona.

“Beyond infrastructure, this budget represents real progress toward the State of Arizona reclaiming greater financial responsibility for the university education of Arizona-resident students. We all have a stake in their success. We are grateful to Gov. Ducey and legislators for believing in our shared mission.

“Investing in Arizona’s public universities represents a prudent choice by our state leaders for the people of Arizona; our enterprise is a major economic force that represents a fundamental relationship between higher education and the economy – generating $11.1 billion in economic impact and 102,000 jobs in fiscal year 2015 alone.

“We are proud of the achievements by the legislature and the governor to advance education for all Arizonans. On behalf of the board, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, we are sincerely appreciative and remain dedicated to working together on behalf of the citizens of this state.”

Read the story here.




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Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.