ARIZONA – Arizona’s budget is under discussion and one big topic on the agenda is education cuts.
Yuma County Supervisor Russ Clark said, “Legislatures are tight-lipped about the budget, which shows there are a lot of issues; a lot of the contingents is over the K through 12 budget.”
Under the proposed $9.58 billion budget, K-12 schools would get less money next year than this year.
Yuma County Superintendent of Schools Tom Tyree says you have to be transparent when preparing for the budget. He hopes Proposition 123 passes to get the school funding Arizona really needs.
Tyree said, “A lot of the funding we are talking about has to do with Prop 123. If Prop. 123 doesn’t pass, to some extent all bets are off.”
If passed, Prop. 123 will bring $3.5 billion to education over the next 10 years.
“Or it will bring $350,000 a year which is desperately needed,” Tyree said.
The Republican K-12 budget proposal actually cuts $21 million from the state’s public district and charter schools, but the proposal attempts to make up for the cut by putting an extra $16 million into the classroom site fund. Schools can use that money to pay for teachers and classroom needs according to Tyree. He says it will go to specific funding that not every school district can qualify for. Tyree says the main issue to the budget has to do with current year funding.
“That could affect some schools in Yuma County, the other issue is how much money you’re supposed to receive is based on a untested data system. There are reports that the data system does not work,” Tyree said.
There are school districts that will take a significant hit based on current year funding, according Tyree.
Tyree says they pay the teachers based on how many students are in their classroom from the year before, but with current year funding they won’t know how to plan ahead of time for their classroom.