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.
Two Democrats Dr.David Garcia and Sharon Thomas are running in the Arizona primary (August 26) for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. The winner of this race will face of the winner of the Republican primary between incumbent John Huppenthal and Diane Douglas.
In case you haven’t cast your early ballot and prefer to vote later, or on election day, there’s still time to consider the 2 candidates on the Democratic ticket:
Dr. David Garcia, Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Bio from Citizens Clean Elections Commission Voter guide:
Party: Democrat Campaign Funding: Traditional Web: www.dg4az.com
As a 4th-generation Arizonan, public school parent and ASU professor, I know our schools, students and state are not falling behind because of a lack of talent. We are racing to the bottom because of a lack of vision and expertise at the top. Arizona’s public schools have been struggling under the weight of increased demands and drastic funding cuts. We face an alarming achievement gap, an overreliance on test scores over commonsense instruction, and a lack of leadership from the state superintendent. I’ve devoted my career to improving our public schools. I’ve been an education policy analyst, research director and Associate State Superintendent for Standards and Accountability. I have the expertise and ideas that will strengthen our public schools. As a professor, I’ve trained hundreds of Arizona’s educators. I know what our teachers need to be successful in the classroom, and I am proud to have the endorsement of the Arizona Education Association and party leaders such as Fred DuVal. Our schools are not better off than they were four years ago, and we can’t afford more of the same. End the status quo. Vote for strong schools and a stronger Arizona. Vote David Garcia!