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  • Budget Bills Approved in Committee

Budget Bills Approved in Committee

Today the House and Senate considered identical budget bills in the Appropriation and Education Committees. After a robust discussion that led into the afternoon, both Chambers approved the bills on a party line vote. The tentative plan is to take it to the floor tomorrow for COW and Third Read. Below are main talking points regarding the FY 18 budget.

1. A 2% teacher pay raise over two years is the absolute minimum that should be expected to begin to compensate teachers fairly. There must be a concerted, long-term effort to increase teacher pay to competitive levels.

2. Teacher pay is appropriated separately from the base level this year. These raises must be incorporated into the base level in future years, otherwise, they will be overtaken by inflation within a short time.

3. This is not the correct year for results-based funding. If implemented, it should be implemented on top of a fully-funded K-12 formula. The $38M dedicated to it would have a more equitable statewide impact if it were put toward teacher pay.

4. The Legislature continues to ignore the fact that cutting taxes as a means to stimulating the economy has not worked. By refusing to discuss ways of halting further revenue loss by pausing or eliminating future tax cuts and credit increases, they are harming Arizona’s public school children.

5. By fully implementing current-year funding with no “ramp down” for declining enrollment, the Legislature has made school funding more unstable and less predictable to save less than $35M statewide. Rural schools especially are further limited in their ability to attract and retain sufficient staff.

For a complete summary of education provisions as introduced, click here.

Want to stay in the loop with real-time budget updates? Check out this article on AZEdNews.

*Yesterday, HB 2229 JTEDs; courses; programs: approval (Shooter) passed House Third Read on a 54-0 vote and is ready for the Governor. This bill makes various changes to JTED courses and programs including the ability for JTED programs to meet qualifications if an assessment leads to career readiness specifically entry level employment and allows credits earned from CTE courses to be awarded towards a student’s minimum course of study. ASBA is neutral.