Governor Brewer’s Education Budget

January 25, 2013
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Gov. Jan Brewer released her proposed education funding budget late last week (1/18/2013)
It calls for an additional $110 in continual funding ($110 per student) and $61 million in one-time funding (mostly for building repair and construction).  For more details, click here.
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This is far less than the $725 million ($725 per student) that Prop. 204 would have guaranteed.  Remember, Gov. Brewer urged voters to torpedo Prop. 204, promising that she would fight for education funding.  That clearly was an empty promise.
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The problem:  There is not enough funding in the state coffers to adequately fund public education, that’s why a broad-based coalition sought a dedicated funding source through Prop. 204.  It was extremely irresponsible for Gov. Brewer, Treasurer Doug Ducey, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, business lobbyists, some charter school advocates and Republican Party operatives to fight Prop. 204, knowing that its loss would shortchange Arizona’s children and hamper our state’s ability to attract good, high-paying jobs to Arizona.
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Here’s another catch to Brewer’s budget – $36 million of those funds and $18 million of existing funds would be distributed to students based on the new A-F school district rankings.  So, in these reverse Robin Hood plan, funds would be redistributed to benefit schools where students are already excelling, typically in higher-wealth areas.  Many times, schools in high-poverty areas actually need more funding to implement longer school years, fund more tutoring, etc.  Not surprisingly, this plan is being brought forward by members of the charter school industry who can cherry-pick higher-achieving students and counsel out poor performers. (For an interesting exposé into the Arizona charter school industry, see article below.)
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Legislative leaders say there isn’t enough money to fund what Brewer is proposing, so even her low-ball numbers aren’t guaranteed.  We’ll follow this debate closely and let you know what you can do in coming weeks.

 

Insiders benefiting from charter deals, Arizona Republic, November 16, 2012
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Arizona charters want purchasing policies to stand, Arizona Republic, January 10, 2013 

 

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