Arizona Districts Eye Ways to Use New Aid Approved by Voters
Many school district leaders in Arizona say they're planning to use a huge infusion of funding to provide teachers with pay raises, according to the Associated Press, now that voters have approved a measure to allow school districts to tap into a land trust for an extra $2.1 billion over the next decade,
Proposition 123, which passed with 51 percent of the vote Friday, May20, will allow the legislature to increase per-pupil spending by about $300. School districts will get an extra $300 million next school year on top of the $4 billion education budget Ducey approved earlier this month.
Despite that, education advocates point out that Arizona will still have one of the lowest per-pupil levels of education spending in the country at $3,900.
The measure comes from a years-long legal battle between districts and the state legislature over whether Arizona's school funding formula meets minimal constitutional standards. Tapping into the state's land trust, a sort of savings account, was a negotiation that Republican Gov. Doug Ducy, legislators and school officials all rallied behind.
"The votes have been counted and the result is clear," Ducey said in a statement Thursday evening, according to the Arizona Republic. The vote was made official Friday. "This is a huge victory for public education in Arizona. After years of lawsuits and fighting, we are moving forward and funding our teachers, students and schools—instead of lawyers."