In a state that saw funding for school buildings and education programs hit hard by the Great Recession, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has pledged to increase K-12 spending across the board.
Speaking to members of the Arizona State Legislature as it began its regular session, Ducey said he was committing himself to upping funding “above and beyond inflation every year I’m in office.”
Education experts in Arizona have pointed out that the state’s schools have been subject to budget cuts equal to $4 billion for more than two decades, a trend that only worsened during the recent Great Recession.
In response, some groups, such as the Arizona Parent Teacher Association, have urged that the state keep intact a special education sales tax whose revenue is designed to target school projects.
That tax, scheduled to expire in 2021, is currently set at 0.6 cents on the dollar. Advocates of increased spending for Arizona’s schools would like to keep the tax in place, but increase it to 1.6 cents on the dollar.
That increase, according to analysts, would generate $1 billion a year, up from the current annual revenue haul of $600 million.
Ducey has not said where the revenue will come from for his proposal to increase school spending, but has suggested in the past that that funding might be found in savings realized from other state agencies which have recently reduced their budgets.
The Governor is expected to provide more details regarding his school spending plan when he releases his annual state budget.
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