by Jim Nintzel
The Children's Action Alliance sent out a bulletin today taking stock of the impact of the Arizona Legislature's education cuts since fiscal year 2008:
Repeated cuts to Arizona classrooms have been so severe that even with last year’s $82 million increase in state K-12 funding, Arizona has the third highest state funding cuts per student in the country since the recession began.
An updated national report released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) shows state funding to local school districts in Arizona fell 17% per student (adjusted for inflation) between Fiscal Year 2008 and the current budget year, Fiscal 2014.
The Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) staff released similar data on funding per student adjusted for inflation for Arizona only. These data show a 25% drop in total state funding for K-12 education per student — a drop of $1,129 per student (including non-formula programs, Arizona Department of Education administration, and the School Facilities Board). The JLBC data also show a 17% drop in total state, local and federal funds for K-12 education per student.
There are many specific ways to measure funding trends in education — counting capital funds or not, counting all funding sources or focusing in on particular funds, counting only funding going to local school districts or adding in administrative and special funds. Any way the numbers are counted, Arizona shows a large drop in funding for K-12 schools since the recession began.
“State lawmakers have been raising expectations for schools, teachers and students to strengthen our workforce and competitiveness, but they’re ignoring the investment needed to meet the higher standards,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance. “Parents and voters both know that slashing resources at the same time is a recipe for failure. These funding cuts put Arizona’s students and economy in jeopardy.”