by David Safier
In 2000, voters said they wanted an annual inflation adjustment built into the state's school budgeting. But starting in 2010, Republicans in the state lege decided to ignore the voter mandate, and since then, the budgets have denied schools somewhere between $189 million and $240 million. The AEA and school districts sued. The Appeals Court decided in favor of the teachers union and the schools, but it ruled that the schools won't get any of the money owed from previous budgets. From this point forward, though, the state has to fund for inflation, which will mean an extra $82 million in this year's budget. Sounds to me like the public school haters made out like bandits. However, the bandits don't agree.
The Attorney General's Office decided to question the ruling [For anyone who may have forgotten, AG Tom Horne was our Superintendent of Education before Huppenthal], and the AZ Supreme Court is going to hear the case.
The Republicans are crowing about how they balanced the budget [using smoke, mirrors and the sale of state buildings to make it happen] and how they're sitting on a surplus. They could afford to add $82 million to schools so they don't slip any further behind inflation. But if you listen carefully, you can hear Republican legislators saying in unison, "The children can have that money when they pry it from my cold, dead hands." Cold, dead hearts is more like it.