Tag Archives: universities

Gov. Ducey’s budget fails to deliver, screws over Tucson and TUSD

Rebuffing the RedforEd protests by educators picketing the state Capitol, Republican lawmakers took the first steps Monday to providing a 9 percent raise this coming year for teachers. Arizona lawmakers take steps for 20 percent teacher pay hike, but not necessarily for all:

The final version of the budget deal negotiated between GOP leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey – no educators or even the minority Democrats in the legislature – puts $273 million into the $10.4 billion spending plan for the coming year specifically for teacher pay hikes.

But unlike Ducey’s original proposal, each school district would get its share in bulk dollars. That leaves it up to board members to decide how to divvy it up.

The Arizona Republic adds:

The additional money for districts would be based on a statewide teacher salary average of $49,000, Stefan Shepherd of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee told House Democrats Monday. Twenty percent of that figure is $9,800.

Districts will get a bundle of money based on that $9,800 figure multiplied by the number of teachers they reported having, Shepherd said.

But, Shepherd said that means districts with higher-than-average teacher salaries would not receive enough money to give all their teachers 20 percent raises.

Conversely, districts with lower-than-average salaries would receive more than enough to give teachers 20 percent raises.

And nothing in the budget bill would require the additional funds be spent on teacher salaries, Shepherd told lawmakers.

“There’s no language that says you have to give X percent pay raise,” Shepherd said.

In touting his plan on KFYI-AM last week, Ducey said, “Make no mistake. When we pass this plan, every teacher in the state will have a 20 percent pay raise by 2020.” (Yeah, he lied).

Last week Ducey said his offer meets the key demand of the educator groups whose members voted last week to walk out beginning Thursday. “So they know it’s been delivered on,” he claimed. No, it decidedly has not. Ducey’s budget “only partially meets one of the five stated demands made by protesters.” Facts still trump GOPropaganda..

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AG Brnovich’s P.R. stunt over university tuition hikes rejected by the court

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported last year that “State support for students at Arizona’s three public universities has fallen by 53.8 percent since 2008, more than three times the national decline over the same period, according to a new report.” Arizona cuts to college student support still among steepest in nation. “Arizona’s 53.8 percent reduction was largest in the nation.”

The Arizona Board of Regents, forced to deal with our lawless Tea-Publican legislature’s abject failure to meet its constitutionally mandated duty to support public education, had to raise tuition and fees at the state’s universities in order to maintain operations and to keep the doors open:

Article XI, Section 6: The Arizona Constitution mandates a “system of common schools” that are “open to all pupils” and are “as nearly free as possible.”

Article IX, Section 3: The Arizona Constitution also mandates “(T)he Legislature shall provide by law for an annual tax sufficient, with other sources of revenue, to defray the necessary ordinary expenses of the state . . . “

Article XI, Section 10: The Arizona Constitution also mandates “taxation” to “insure proper maintenance of all state educational institutions.”

When Doug Ducey ran against Fred Duval for governor four years ago, rather than focus on the lawlessness of our Tea-Publican legislature, Ducey and his GOP allies built a campaign around blaming the Arizona Board of Regents,  former regent Fred Duval in particular, for skyrocketing tuition at the state’s universities. GOP ad blasts DuVal for tuition hikes.

It was perhaps the single most dishonest misdirection campaign ever run in the state of Arizona. Unfortunately, it succeeded with Arizona’s low-information voters.

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Rep. Finchem seeks to dismantle ABOR – kill this bill

The Arizona Daily Star Political Notebook reports:

Republican Rep. Mark Finchem of Oro Valley is once again looking to break up Arizona Board of Regents and give control of the three state universities to the Governor and the state Legislature.

Fresh off of his failed attempt at similar legislation last year, Finchem crafted a strike-everything amendment to create three separate governing boards to make policy, funding and tuition decisions for Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

Those boards would be appointed by the Governor — with four members coming from the business community and three from the academic community.

University and ABOR officials lamented that the bill would set up the possibility that the universities would openly compete with each other for resources.

Finchem’s amendment was adopted on an unrelated bill heard in the Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee this week, allowing it to skip public hearings in the House. The bill still must be approved by the full Senate, then return to the House for a final vote, before landing on Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

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AG Mark Brnovich creates a ‘straw man’ for our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on higher ed funding

It was recently reported that “State support for students at Arizona’s three public universities has fallen by 53.8 percent since 2008, more than three times the national decline over the same period, according to a new report.” Arizona cuts to college student support still among steepest in nation:

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the Arizona cuts were the most extreme example of a national trend that has seen a total reduction in state aid of nearly $9 billion over the 10 years, as states scrambled to close budget gaps caused by the recession.

Despite efforts by states in recent years to reverse the trend – including in Arizona, where state support per student rose 4.25 percent last year – the report’s authors said they worry that those increases are slowing down.

“The clear majority of states have been reinvesting and that has been a broad trend over the past few years,” said Michael Mitchell, a senior policy analyst at the CBPP, in a call on the Wednesday report.

“But there are indications that we can see that this reinvestment is trailing off and the amount of reinvestment that we’ve seen over the past few years just hasn’t been enough to make up for the drastic magnitude of cuts over the time period we’re looking at,” he said.

Those cuts average 16 percent per student nationally since 2008, the report said.

Arizona’s 53.8 percent reduction was largest in the nation, with Louisiana next-closest with a 44.9 percent reduction. In terms of an actual dollar reduction, however, Arizona’s per-student cut of $3,450 was fourth-highest, behind Louisiana, New Mexico and Alabama.

While the cuts have been partially offset by increases in federal aid – an average Pell grant grew 23 percent during the period – steady increases in tuition continue to make college unaffordable for many, according to the report.

“We have seen increases in federal student aid, but in states where tuition costs have increased rapidly those additional federal investments have not kept up with rising college costs,” Mitchell said. “The net cost of attendance has increased even for low-income students at four-year colleges.

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Why no state budget? Governor Ducey’s university bonding plan

This was supposed to be the week that the Arizona legislature passed a budget and then declared sine die. Didn’t happen.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), the holdup is Governor Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal, the one he mentioned in his State of The State Address back in January but has still not fleshed out the details at this late date. Ducey’s bonding plan for universities has more questions than details:

Gov. Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal is a vast unknown for Arizona lawmakers.

He doesn’t offer any long-term growth projections or specifics on how the state’s three universities will spend the $1 billion that the plan is supposed to generate. There is also no mention of oversight from the Governor’s Office or from the plan’s backers.

Lawmakers do understand the broad strokes of the universities’ wish list if they get the money: new buildings, research programs and repairs.

But the plan almost certainly will generate much more than needed to pay off a $1 billion loan over the course of its 30-year life, a fact acknowledged by both backers and foes, and that’s something lawmakers question.

Lawmakers are also hearing from cities and counties, which look to lose millions of dollars under the plan. Ken Strobeck, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said the plan is opaque by design, and he’s done his own analysis that shows the universities will gain more than $1 billion.

“These are not uninformed people,” Strobeck said. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing.”

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GOP cowards in the lege won’t come clean on $5 million for ‘Kochtopus’ indoctrination centers

Screenshot-19“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers

This Libertarian bullshit has also produced the “trickle down” Tea-Publican zombies in our state government, and this blog’s most infamous blog troll, the disgraced John Huppenthal aka “Thucky.” If there is a reason why this Libertarian bullshit should not be taught in public schools to infect the minds of impressionable youth, it is this blog troll. He is the poster boy.

The Arizona Republic reports, Legislators want millions for schools with Koch brother ties:

The Arizona Legislature, which has slashed university funding in recent years, could soon vote on a budget that would give the state’s higher-education system an additional $32 million.

But $5 million of it would come with strings attached. The budget would earmark that amount for so-called “freedom schools” [i.e., indoctrination centers] aimed at advancing free-enterprise ideals at Arizona State University and University of Arizona.

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