education funding

Officials working on the Proposition 123 campaign, the agreement to settle a long-running K-12 funding lawsuit, say they expect millions in contributions supporting the effort.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that campaign manager J.P. Twist says $4 million is a reasonable target for fundraising efforts.

Many are looking at state Treasurer Jeff DeWit to head the opposition. A DeWit spokesman says the treasurer has no immediate plans to take part in a campaign against Proposition 123.

The Arizona House has passed a package of bills that will pump $3.5 billion into K-12 education and settle a five-year-old lawsuit filed by schools that didn't receive required inflation boosts during the Great Recession.

Thursday night's action sends the package of bills to the Senate. It came without any Democratic votes on two of the bills, but with unanimous support for the third bill in the Republican-controlled House. That legislation actually appropriates the money.

Michael Schennum/The Republic

Republican state Treasurer Jeff DeWit is urging Arizona lawmakers to revise a deal that would settle a school funding lawsuit.

DeWit said in an email to lawmakers Tuesday evening that the agreement hammered out between Republican lawmakers, schools and Gov. Doug Ducey puts the principal of the state's permanent land trust at risk. If it is adopted without changes he warns it will be tied up in court for years and keep schools from getting additional cash.

The Arizona Republic

Republican members of the Arizona House mostly appear supportive of a proposed settlement to a long-running school funding lawsuit, but some are asking tough questions.

Many members briefed Tuesday by GOP leaders and attorneys who represented the state say they'll be happy to see schools get increased funding and to get the five-year-old lawsuit behind them. Others say they need to see the actual language in legislation before they agree to vote yes.

A tentative deal that settles a lawsuit brought by schools over the Arizona Legislature's failure to give annual inflation boosts will add about $3.5 billion in new funding over the next 10 years.

The proposed settlement includes a new cash payment of $175 million to schools this budget year on top of $74 million in inflation funding the Legislature appropriated this year. Together that adds about $330 per student to the current $4,300 schools receive.

The board overseeing Arizona's early childhood development program is opposing a plan from Republican legislative leaders to take some of its funding to support K-12 education.

The First Things First board announced its formal opposition to Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker David Gowan's plan on Wednesday.

Biggs and Gowan want voters to approve taking $200 million the program has in the bank next year and $75 million each year going forward to fund schools.

Arizona Republic

Arizona's top school official is set to roll out a plan to fix the state's struggling K-12 school system.

Superintendent of Instruction Diane Douglas will announce the group of policy initiatives at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Douglas called for an additional $400 million in school funding as an initial part of that policy on Sept. 11. She plans to provide details of the remainder of her "comprehensive" plan to overhaul the state's public school system at Thursday's event.

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature are set to roll out a school funding plan to compete with proposals from Republicans in the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey.

Tuesday morning's planned announcement from the minority party comes as GOP leaders in the Legislature work on proposals that could be taken up in a possible special legislative session in October.


Republican members of the Arizona House are being summoned to briefings by their leaders on ongoing discussions to boost funding for K-12 schools.

The meetings set for Monday through Wednesday come as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey presses his plan to tap the state's permanent land trust fund to add more than $320 million a year to school funding. Republicans who control the Legislature have a competing plan.

The Arizona Board of Regents will decide if Arizona State University President Michael Crow and University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart get six-figure merit bonuses.

Board members are scheduled to vote Friday on whether Crow gets up to $150,000 in performance incentives. That would bring his total compensation and benefits to about $1 million for fiscal 2015.

Hart could get a $115,000 incentive for total compensation of nearly $754,000.