State Capitol News
Tue February 21, 2012
AZ Headed Toward No-Growth Budget
Two Republican-controlled legislative panels voted this afternoon to approve a no-growth budget for the state.
One vote had to do with funding for public schools. Lawmakers voted last year to require that third graders show they can read before they can be promoted. The budget plan from Governor Jan Brewer seeks $50 million to help; the legislative plan does not. Senator Rich Crandall said that's not right.
"When we made AIMS mandatory for graduation, we put some money in," he said. "Now that we've said reading is mandatory for movement, based on the states I've looked at, of all the states that passed a third grade retention requirement, we're the only ones so far that have not put any resources toward that."
But the idea of more funding is getting a fight from people like Senator Don Shooter.
"I think my grandparents learned to read by that time," he said, "and they didn't have some of the resources that we have given to the educational community. Although I'm married to a teacher and very supportive of education, I'm not sure that money, money, money is always the answer."
Crandall said he will fight to add the funding when the budget goes to the full Senate.