Tag Archives: school funding

Arizona’s mismanagement of public education

You may have been following this story over the past several weeks. Arizona allocated $85 million to wrong schools for special-education, low-income students:

Financial miscalculations by state education administrators have resulted in hundreds of Arizona schools missing out on tens of millions of federal dollars to serve students with special needs and those from low-income families.

According to an Arizona Republic analysis of data provided by the Arizona Department of Education, the state has misallocated $85 million over the past four years, giving some schools too much and some too little.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas last month publicly announced that the state erroneously allocated $56 million in federal Title I funds for low-income students. Last week, she sent a letter to schools notifying them of another problem: $30 million in federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) grants over the past three years allocated to the wrong schools.

For some underfunded schools, this may have required them to pull general classroom funds to cover expenses for special-needs services, and prevented them from hiring additional teachers or giving raises.

“The superintendent and (Arizona Department of Education Chief of Staff) Michael Bradley are not taking this lightly,” said department spokesman Stefan Swiat. “They are taking an audit found under a previous administration and they are tackling it.”

Swiat said the start of both problems dated back to prior superintendents, although the issue with special-education funds wasn’t fully assessed by federal officials until this September.

The disclosures from the Arizona Department of Education has fueled the argument from education leaders that they need more money to properly educate the state’s K-12 students.

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Arizona’s tuition tax credit for private schools debated by US Supreme Court

51st-15-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of the constant, absurd, expensive court battles between our boneheaded state government and the feds.

How many MILLIONS of dollars have Governor Jan Brewer and her clown posse in the Arizona Legislature wasted on Quixotic court battles over right-wing ideology?

This week the US Supreme Court will waste more of its valuable time on an obviously flawed and discriminatory Arizona law that gives rich people tax credits when they donate to private schools– to help rich kids and their rich buddies who own the private schools. (Seriously, the Governor and the Legislature won't be satisfied until all of the guv'mint schools are closed and the buildings sold to their business buddies for pennies.)

From the Arizona Republic

WASHINGTON – The legal challenge to Arizona's private-school tax-credit program went before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, and justices confronted attorneys on both sides about whether it violates separation of church and state.

In hourlong arguments in the nationally watched case, justices focused heavily on the structure of the tax-credit program, which allows taxpayers to donate up to $1,000 to non-profit organizations that distribute the money as private-school scholarships. Taxpayers then can take a dollar-for-dollar credit off their state income taxes.

Justices focused on whether donations are, in effect, directly steering government money to religious schools, as the challengers argue, or are a taxpayer charity that goes to private-school students, as supporters contend. [More here.]

Given this recent finding against school vouchers, it will be interesting to see how the Arizona case shakes out.