Arizona Legislative Democrats and Pro-Public Education State Advocates have just about had enough of the bull fecal matter coming from the extremist wing of the Arizona Republican Party when it comes to the matter of suspending the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) so traditional public schools (charter public ones are exempt) can spend the money promised them in. the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

With these “freedom-pro insurrection” caucus Republicans led by Jake Troll Farm Fake Elector Hoffman threatening to oppose suspending the AEL unless systematic reforms are initiated (their letter does not say what reforms but one can only imagine that they want to copy the anti-everyone not white and heterosexual postures being adopted by baby Trump Ron DeSantis in Florida,) Democrats have come out against this extremism, demanding these “public servants” stop threatening Arizona children’s well being and education.

The Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus released a statement, relaying:

“The Arizona Freedom Caucus is an illegitimate fringe gathering of Republicans trying desperately to make themselves relevant. Nothing could ever explain their dangerous desire for public schools to lose 1.3 billion dollars this school year. The Democrats are united and ready to lift the AEL immediately.”

Arizona State Representative Jennifer Pawlik

Educator and House Committee Education Member Jennifer Pawlik also offered her insights coupled with potential solutions, commenting:

“The majority is keen on proclaiming their influence on increasing school funding in the last cycle, but there seems to be a huge disconnect. .  The schools haven’t overspent.  The schools aren’t in the wrong.  They do not have the authorization to spend the additional funding they were allocated without the authority of the legislature. Two-thirds of us must agree to lift the cap temporarily. The cap only impacts district schools, because Arizona did not have charter schools in 1980.  Historically speaking, lifting the cap is a rare action, and prior to last winter it hasn’t been a political fight over the 43 years the cap has been in place.
A long-term fix is required, so schools spend allocated funding that exceeds the cap without a vote of the legislature each year.  Many versions have been introduced.  Some temporarily lift the cap, like HCR 2001, Rep. Cook’s bill that is on Tuesday’s House Ed agenda.  Some completely repeal the AEL.   I introduced HB2148/HCR2010 to modernize the AEL.  This would change the base school year from the 1980-81 school year to the 2022-23 school year, add weighted student counts, and would exclude proposition 301 monies.”

State Representative Judy Schwiebert

Fellow Educator and House Education Member Judy Schwiebert challenged the Republicans to keep their word to the children of Arizona, stating:

“At our Sub-Appropriation Committee on budgeting this week, I was pleased to see that legislators and others from all sides agreed that we must override the AEL. It’s simple. If legislators intended to honor the appropriations made last June in the FY2023 budget, they’ll vote to override the AEL. If they don’t honor our commitment, then we have bigger problems. How can anyone have faith in a legislature that doesn’t honor its own decisions?”


Rebecca Gau

Rebecca Gau, the leader of the Pro-Public Education group Stand for Children offered:

“It’s rather tone-deaf for anyone to hold almost one million school children hostage to this political theatre – especially when the ESA voucher program that was their bargaining chip last year is on track to bankrupt the state. It’s literally a runaway train of unbudgeted, unaccountable costs with no transparency, and yet they demand “reform” from public schools? We are hopeful that there is a pathway to waive the AEL this year. Here is a list of how much each district will lose if they don’t. “


If enough Republicans do not get their acts together, the children in Arizona will suffer including those in legislative districts with Republican State Senators and Representatives like in the Mesa Unified School District which would lose about 88 million dollars. The children in the Prescott Unified District would lose over five million dollars. People in Apache Junction would be out just under five million. Gilbert Unified would be without just under 49 million. Chandler would be short over 60 million.

With his fiscal ticking time bomb about to go off in about five weeks, it is important to contact the Republicans in the State Legislature and demand that they not threaten to hold children and their education hostage like they did last year.

Time is running out and school districts need to know whether or not they will be able to operate after everyone comes home from spring break.