As soon as the state economy began to show new signs of life, legislators came forward to discuss plans for immediate increases to our K-12 school system. This is a priority that many of us promised when you elected us in November.
I have worked with both Republicans and Democrats to determine funding priorities. With the difficult decisions that come with developing any budget, the overwhelming sentiment is that education needs to be at front of the line for funding increases.
This year, K-12 education in Arizona is expected to receive an $80 million increase in baseline funding. This is on top of the $56 million in new K-12 education funding the Legislature allocated last year.
These new funds may be used for programs, to be determined by each school district, for key areas such as teacher development, robust reading programs, new computers, classroom supplies, vocational education and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
We have also crafted budget priorities to ensure our schools are safe and secure, with additional dollars going to the successful school-resource-officer program.
This is good news for students, parents and educators. And it is a good day when our elected officials can all agree that education truly is a priority in Arizona.”