The other day I pointed out that Governor Doug Ducey, as well as reporters and pundits, were not discussing the lawsuit filed last year by Arizona school districts for being short-changed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on capital funding. Arizona schools to sue state over funding – again:
A year after voters passed Prop. 123 to resolve a $1.6 billion lawsuit over school funding, Arizona school districts are again taking the governor and Legislature to court.
And this lawsuit is even larger.
School budget officials have estimated the cuts since 2009 total about $2 billion.
Governor Ducey addressed this oversight on Tuesday and, once again, just like his sham Prop. 123 to settle the inflation adjustment school funding lawsuit by tapping the State Trust Fund and only paying about 70 cents on the dollar of what the courts had already determined that the state owed to Arizona’s school districts, Governor Ducey is again proposing to pay only pennies on the dollar over five years as a settlement offer in this capital funding case. The plaintiffs in this case should not settle for less than what is owed, again. Governor’s school funding plan would restore capital dollars to pre-recession levels (not really):
Gov. Doug Ducey trotted out a plan Tuesday to eventually restore funding for capital needs for schools to what it was before the Great Recession (2007).
The proposal would put an immediate $100 million this coming school year into an account that is earmarked for “soft capital,” things like computers, books and school buses.
Ducey hopes to boost that to $371 million by the fifth year of the plan. [upwards of $2 billion is owed.] He also wants to give school districts flexibility, allowing local boards to use the dollars for other priorities, ranging from construction to teacher salaries.
The offer comes nearly a year after a coalition of schools and educators filed suit against the state charging it is not living up to its constitutional obligations to provide adequate funding for school buildings, equipment and repairs. It also comes just three days before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin hears legal arguments in that case.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Ballot Referendas and Initiatives, Budgets, Courts, Economics, Education, Ethics, GOP War On..., Governor, Legislation, Media, Party Politics, Propositions, Scandals, Taxes
Our self-proclaimed “education governor,” Doug Ducey, yesterday delivered pablum in his State of The State Address, making lofty promises of increased pubic education funding but failing to explain how he intends to pay for it. Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State speech: 6 big takeaways:
Education promises, but few details
Ducey focused the bulk of the education portion of his speech [2 pages out of a 17 page address] on trying to “get some facts straight” by touting improved student performance and additional K-12 spending under his administration.
Specifically, he noted that overall inflation-adjusted funding per student in Arizona has increased by 10 percent since 2015. Arizona spent an inflation-adjusted $3,782 per student in 2015, compared to $4,157 per student in 2018, according to documents from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
But both those figures remain below what Arizona spent per student in 2008 and are unlikely to satisfy those who argue that schools are underfunded.
A recent study by the progressive think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found Arizona cut more K-12 funding than any other state between 2008 and 2015.
Ducey in his speech vowed to “restore long-standing cuts from the recession made before many of us were here.”
He listed seven specific areas — including full-day kindergarten and new school buses — where his budget would invest more dollars toward education, but he did not include details. Those details are expected in his budget proposal Friday.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Ballot Referendas and Initiatives, Budgets, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Economics, Education, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Governor, Legislation, Media, Party Politics, Propositions, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged state of the state
Nothing pisses me off more than the the people I encounter who tell me they don’t bother to vote because they feel their vote doesn’t count. By not voting, they ensure that this is true.
One of the first house races I worked on in Arizona many years ago was decided in favor of the Democratic candidate by something like 28 votes after an automatic recount. Don’t tell me that every vote doesn’t count.
The “blue wave” election in Virginia in November had several state legislative races remaining to be decided by a recount. On Tuesday, one recount was decided by a single vote. And that legislative race gave Democrats shared power in the Virginia legislature. In Virginia, a 11,608-to-11,607 Lesson in the Power of a Single Vote:
The Democratic wave that rose on Election Day in Virginia last month delivered a final crash on the sand Tuesday when a Democratic challenger defeated a Republican incumbent by a single vote, leaving the Virginia House of Delegates evenly split between the two parties.
The victory by Shelly Simonds, a school board member in Newport News, was a civics lesson in every-vote-counts as she won 11,608 to 11,607 in a recount conducted by local election officials.
Ms. Simonds’s win means a 50-50 split in the State House, where Republicans had clung to a one-seat majority after losing 15 seats last month in a night of Democratic victories up and down the ballot, which were widely seen as a rebuke to President Trump. Republicans have controlled the House for 17 years.
Catching up on my “to do” list on education issues in Arizona.
In late November, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a new analysis of school funding in 48 states which shows that funding for Arizona’s kindergarten to grade 12 public school system remains nearly 14 percent below what it was before the Great Recession hit in 2007. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Arizona school funding still lagging, report shows:
The study by the Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan research institute showed that even with an infusion of money since Gov. Doug Ducey took office in 2016, the state’s per-pupil spending is well below its 2008 funding levels when adjusted for inflation. It also said per-pupil formula spending dropped last year by 1.2 percent.
Ducey has touted his efforts to boost K-12 spending, and laughingly proclaimed himself to be the “education governor.”
“Arizona has put more money into K-12 education over the last three years than any other state in the country, without raising taxes,” he told KTAR radio earlier this month. “It has been the focus of every budget that we’ve had.”
But much of that increase came from settling a lawsuit brought by schools that alleged the state illegally cut spending during the recession. [And that case was settled for substantially less than the restitution actually owed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature for its theft of education funds.] The settlement added some state spending but most of the new cash came from increasing withdrawals from the state land trust dedicated to schools.
The study found that Arizona school funding hasn’t recovered from the cuts despite the new spending and could be getting worse, said Mike Leachman, the center’s state fiscal research director.
“It’s clear that Arizona school funding is down significantly and the data we have suggest further worsening at least in terms of formula funding, which is the major source for general support for all school districts in the state,” he said.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Ballot Referendas and Initiatives, Budgets, Campaigns, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Economics, Education, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Governor, Legislation, Party Politics, Propositions, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged AZ attorney general, Dreamers, referendum, tuition, vouchers