by David Safier
A draft proposal of rules by U.S. Department of Education could force the state to undo $160 million in cuts to higher education approved in January by lawmakers if Arizona is to receive $775 million in federal stimulus aid.
Included in those rules, House Speaker Pro Tem Steve Yarbrough said, is a requirement that prevents the state from reducing the level of funding for both K-12 and higher education to below fiscal 2009 levels. He said lawmakers were told the draft rules were not expected to change significantly before being adopted.
Requiring education spending to be maintained at fiscal year 2009 levels would mean that $160 million in cuts to universities and community colleges enacted in late January to help the state close a $1.6 billion budget hole would have to be restored if the state wants to collect federal stimulus money intended for education.
Sure, cut money to education, then get the feds to replace the funds. Who could object to that?