education funding

Arizona voters head to the polls tomorrow to decide on an Education Finance Amendment, Proposition 123. It would settle a lawsuit brought against the state by public schools for failure to increase K-through-12 funding based on inflation during the recession. It would also give a $3.5-billion-dollar cash injection to public schools over the next 10 years. More than 60 percent of that money would come from the State Land Trust, given to Arizona upon statehood in 1912 as a means to generate revenue for schools. Opponents of Prop 123 say the settlement jeopardizes the land trust and should be paid entirely out of the state’s general fund. Supporters believe it’s an immediate opportunity to pump money into K-through-12 education. Both sides admit it’s a short term plan to the issue of school funding. KNAU reached out to voices on both sides of Prop 123. Morgan Abraham, a Tucson investment advisor and the chairman of the No on Prop 123 campaign, spoke with Arizona Public Radio’s Gillian Ferris. Flagstaff City Councilman, Jeff Oravits supports the amendment and spoke with Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius. 


Mark Henle/The Republic

The Arizona Legislature has passed a $9.6 billion budget after a week spent wrangling over additional funding for K-12 schools that wasn't included in the initial agreement.

Lawmakers debated until nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday morning before approving a spending package for the state budget year beginning July 1 that included a small increase in funding for several school line items.

A tentative agreement between Republican Senate and House leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey boosts spending in the coming budget year about $100 million above what Ducey wanted.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough says the bottom line budget plan includes $9.58 billion in spending, and includes extra cash for universities, K-12 schools and county and city roadbuilding. The plan also includes the end to some budget-balancing gimmicks dating to the Great Recession for universities and social service and child safety agencies.

Northern Arizona University

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved tuition and fee increases at all three public universities for the 2016-2017 school year. It comes as state higher education continues to grapple with last year’s steep budget cuts. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.


Felicia Fonseca, AP

Dozens of people gathered in a small Navajo Nation community Tuesday to encourage the tribe's education department to take over a school in financial ruin.

Nearly one-third of the employees at Leupp Schools Inc. will lose their jobs Friday as part of a reorganization plan.

Tribal officials say the school system has been financially unstable for years, paying out too much in salaries while enrollment declines, posting a deficit of almost $2 million last year, and garnering the attention of the Internal Revenue Service by failing to pay more than $100,000 in employee taxes.

A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star 2013

Arizona lawmakers delivered a big win for the state’s vocational high schools, known as joint technical education districts. The governor signed a deal late Wednesday, giving back nearly all of the money that was cut from the programs last year. Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports.


Jon Austria/The Daily Times

Arizona voters will go to the polls this spring to decide on Proposition 123. It settles a long-running lawsuit over school funding in the state, and the Navajo Nation Council has announced its unanimous support of the measure. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


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.

Pages