State Capitol News
11:40 am
Mon July 27, 2009

Arizona near bottom in school funding

Phoenix, AZ – A new report today shows that when it comes to funding schools,
most other states spend more.

The Census Bureau looked at how much state governments put into
education on a per capita basis. As expected, Arizona was near
the bottom at 41st. Some have argued those numbers are
meaningless, saying they are in line with what people in this
state make, an indication of cost of living. But the Census
Bureau did measure state revenues up against each state's
personal income. That did raise Arizona to 34th. But from a
spending perspective, the state was dead last using that scale.
State School Superintendent Tom Horne said Arizona can do better
-- eventually.

"This year you can't do anything because there's no money. Part
of my job is when the economy turns around and there are
resources available, to persuade the Legislature to give a higher
priority to K-12."

And Horne said there is a link between spending and achievement.

"Even at the spending levels we're at, our test scores are above
the national average. So if we could get our resources up to the
national average, I think we'd be one of the top, top states
nationally in academics because of our emphasis on academic rigor
in the classroom."

It will take a bit of spending to do that. Arizona's per capita
spending is about 43-hundred a year; the national average is 11-
hundred dollars more.