View Gov. Hobbs' K-12 budget plan & State of the State education priorities - AZEdNews
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View Gov. Hobbs’ K-12 budget plan & State of the State education priorities


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Updated 1/13/23: Gov. Katie Hobbs’ Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget proposal released today would raise state per-pupil funding from $7,999 to $8,250.

The Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting staff members shared an economic forecast along with key details of Gov. Hobb’s budget plan during a press conference today.

Trey Nilles, a budget analyst with the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, provided a breakdown of the K-12 education budget proposal by Gov. Hobbs and that begins at the 10:54 mark right after the economic forecast and plans to add to the state’s rainy day fund.

“The fiscal year 2024 Executive Budget recognizes the needs of Arizona’s public schools, provides a framework for achieving critical goals, and supports the implementation of programs and measures designed to ensure Arizona’s students are prepared for the future,” Nilles said.

Video from Office of the Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs: Executive Budget Fiscal Year 2024

Gov. Hobbs’ executive budget proposal also includes:

  • $1.5 billion savings for taxpayers over 10 years by repealing Empowerment Scholarship Accounts 
  • $332.2 million deposit in Building Renewal Grant funding to address crumbling and inadequate school infrastructure
  • $198.6 million to retain critical education staff, increase the Base Support Level for schools by 3.04 percent
  • $172.7 million in new school construction for three schools already in progress, construction of nine new schools, as well as land and site condition projects
  • $40 million to expand the Arizona Promise Program and make higher education more accessible for an additional 10,200 students regardless of financial background or resources
  • $40 million to establish a new tuition scholarship program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival eligible students
  • $20.5 million to establish a new Dual Enrollment support and advancement program
  • $15 million to address the enrollment increase for the Arizona Teacher’s Academy
  • $13 million to provide Free or Reduced Price Lunch at schools in low-income areas
  • $10.9 million to adjust District Additional Assistance formulas for inflation and reinforce critical funding for classroom resources such as textbooks, materials and technology
  • $10.3 million in restored STEM and workforce aid funding to Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Community Colleges
  • $14 million to double investment in rural community colleges
  • $5 million to support the development of fast and reliable broadband service in schools
  • $4.4 million to increase the state’s funding to students with a developmental disability, emotional disability, mild intellectual disability, or specific learning disability
  • $1 million in one-time funding to develop and implement a plan to conduct in-person inspections of school facilities

Click here for the executive budget summary

Click here for the executive budget state agency budgets

Click here for the executive budget sources and uses of state funds

January 9, 2023 – State of the State

View Gov. Hobbs' K-12 budget plan & State of the State education priorities Screenshot-2023-01-09-at-4.05.03-PM
Gov. Katie Hobbs presents the State of the State to the Arizona Legislature on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 at the Arizona Capitol. Photo courtesy Arizona Capital Television.

Watch videos below: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs shared her education priorities during her State of the State address at the Arizona Legislature after the conclusion of opening ceremonies in both the House and Senate led by House Speaker Ben Toma and Senate President Warren Peterson.

Gov. Hobbs said Legislators should know that “if you’re ready to make real progress on the issues that matter most to the people of this state, then my door will always be open.”

“My hope is that when you leave here today you understand that I and my administration are committed to action, and to improving the lives of every Arizonan, and if you are committed to those same ideals, then I am ready to work side-by side with you – no matter your party registration, ” Gov. Hobbs said.

State of the State Address

Stand for Children Arizona said in a statement that “It is evident, more than ever, that Arizonans need their leaders to act, and Governor Hobbs has made her message clear: if we are to make progress, we need to work together.”

In Gov. Hobbs State of the State, she encouraged the legislature to act quickly to lift the aggregate expenditure limit.

Stand for Children Arizona says Legislators have an obligation to honor the promise made to fix the AEL as soon as possible – both for this year and in the long term.

In Stand for Children Arizona’s annual poll, voters indicated in December 2022 that they want the AEL fixed immediately as well.

Poll results showed that:

1. When asked if there were to be a statewide ballot measure that would permanently raise the expenditure limit, 62% of Arizonans said they would vote “Yes” on it.

2. When asked the same question, but for a ballot measure that would remove the limit altogether, 54% said they would vote “Yes”.

“Also, according to our survey, the Legislature heads into 2023 with 54% of voters unhappy with their performance – the highest it has ever been in our survey’s history. We hope that legislators will put kids before politics, and work together with Governor Hobbs to support our students and teachers,” Stand for Children Arizona said.

Gov. Hobbs’ education priorities

“To Arizona’s educators, parents and students, you know better than anyone that education must be the top issue we tackle. As we work to find solutions, I will always seek – and listen to – your guidance,” Gov. Hobbs said.

“We have some of the best K-12 schools in the country, but the state has long failed to live up to its obligation to adequately invest fairly in public education in every community, and we see the results of that with high teacher vacancy rates and some districts with crumbling infrastructure,” Gov. Hobbs said.

“Education gave me a chance to climb my way up and build a better life,” Gov. Hobbs said. “I know that’s true for countless other Arizonans and for many in this chamber today. That’s why I have spent so much of my public life fighting for better schools and to level the playing field – and that’s exactly what I’ll continue to do as governor.”

“Before we talk about steps we’ll take to improve K-12 education going forward, we must first address the potential catastrophe that will happen in just a few months if the Legislature does not act to address the archaic funding cap officially known as the aggregate expenditure limit by March 1,” Gov. Hobbs said.

Click here for the full text of Gov. Katie Hobbs’ State of the State

Yesterday, Gov. Hobbs told 12 News that she plans to call a special session to lift the aggregate expenditure limit on school districts so they can spend the money the Arizona Legislature has allocated to them in the bi-partisan budget passed in June. If the limit is not lifted by March 31, 2023, Arizona school districts would have to cut 17%, or $1.3 billion from their budgets, on April 1, 2023. If that happens, cuts could include student programs, services, staff and teacher layoffs, or classes ending earlier than planned for the year.

In her State of the State, Gov. Hobbs noted that as part of last year’s budget negotiations Legislators expected Gov. Ducey to call a special session to override the aggregate expenditure limit that is based on an outdated 40-year-old funding formula, but that did not happen.

“We must make this right. If we do not, this ticking time bomb will explode and force a $1.3 billion cut that would be one of the largest in our state’s history, and it will happen in the last two months of the school year,” Gov. Hobbs said.

Superintendents and education leaders are warning this will cause furloughs, layoffs, and possibly even school closures. It is unnecessary to allow these hysterics to go on any longer. Lets give our students, teachers and parents the assurance that schools will remain open,” Gov. Hobbs said.

“The solution is simple and it doesn’t cost another penny to do the right thing. Rep. David Cook has already introduced a resolution to override this outdated limit,” Gov. Hobbs said. “This Legislature should bring it to the floor. The Democrats in both chambers stand ready to act on this immediately,” Gov. Hobbs said.

Gov. Hobbs said the details of her budget proposal will be released on Friday.

“As the sister of two public school teachers, I see how hard they work everyday on behalf of their students,” Gov. Hobbs said. “So to the teachers and education support professionals of our state, I see you, I respect you, and I will always stand up for you.”

Gov. Hobbs said she will launch an Educator Retention Task Force to develop a framework and make recommendations to improve class sizes, resources, working conditions and other factors to help retain educators.

“When we keep the most talented teachers in the classroom, our kids win, our families win, and our communities win,” Gov. Hobbs said.

“The reality is we don’t have an educator shortage, what we have is a retention crisis,” Gov. Hobbs said, noting many have left a career they love because of “uncompetitive salaries, onerous policies, and unfunded mandates.”

“Teachers are creating the workforce and leaders of tomorrow, and it’s time we started treating them with the respect they deserve,” Gov. Hobbs said.

Gov. Hobbs said she’s focused on solving problems with the school capital funding lawsuit with help from Attorney General Kris Mayes instead of paying lawyers to fight in a costly trial.

Gov. Hobbs said another priority is funding all public schools fairly.

“Currently, our state government distributes additional per-pupil funding based on school letter grades and assessment results. However this approach has largely benefited only schools in high-wealth areas of Arizona’s two largest counties – Maricopa and Pima – while leaving rural and economically struggling areas behind,” Hobbs said.

Gov Hobbs said her budget proposal re-directs that $68.6 million for results-based funding to the base support level, which goes to all schools across the state.

“Let me go on the record to say that any school that accepts taxpayer dollars should have to abide by the same accountability standards that all district schools do. We have seen too many examples of individuals and shady corporations taking advantage of the system and our students,” Gov. Hobbs said.

“Let’s work together to require that any school that accepts public dollars also participates in the Auditor General’s annual school district spending report as well as take other steps to ensure our taxpayer dollars are going where they should and being spent properly,” Gov. Hobbs said.

Other actions to help support students and schools Gov. Hobbs said she supports are hiring more school social workers and school counselors to help address the mental health crisis among children and teens.

“Currently each counselor in an Arizona school provides services for more than 700 kids on average. That’s the highest ratio in the nation and nearly three times the recommended standard. That’s unacceptable and we must do better,” Gov. Hobbs said.

“I strongly urge the legislature to continue bringing solutions to my desk to ensure our public schools – in all communities – have the resources they need to help our kids succeed,” Gov. Hobbs said.

In addition, Gov. Hobbs said her budget includes investments to help students after high school including investing in community colleges, expanding the Arizona Promise Scholarship Program from 4,000 students last year to 10,000 students this year,

Gov. Hobbs said her budget proposal would allocate $40 million to the Promise for DREAMers Scholarship Program to help students regardless of their immigration status fulfill their post-secondary education and career training goals.

After the State of the State, Education Forward Arizona President and CEO Rich Nickel said “In today’s State of the State message, we were pleased to hear of the proposed expansion of the Arizona Promise Program to serve an additional 10,000 students and to further expand the program to include Dreamers and undocumented students.

Education Forward Arizona is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that champions P-20 education attainment as critical to advancing the state’s economy and improving the quality of life of its residents.

“We’re also pleased with the proposal to expand dual/concurrent enrollment across the state, which will provide a strong on-ramp to postsecondary education for Arizona’s students, Nickel said.

“Both of these efforts, along with continued investments in our community colleges and universities, will help Arizona make progress towards our Achieve60AZ goal,” Nickel said.

“From a K-12 perspective, we agree that immediately addressing the Aggregate Expenditure Limit should be a top priority so that our schools have confidence in spending the funding they have already been given,” Nickel said.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature on these and other important issues,” Nickel said.

In concluding her State of the State, Gov. Hobbs said, “In the days, months and years ahead – of all-night budget negotiations, marathon voting sessions, and seemingly impassable disagreements – let us never forget that we all hold a deep love for this state. We are here because we want to ensure the generations that follow us have a chance to discover that love, too.”

“Thank you for committing to public service, for your partnership in finding real solutions, and for the contributions we will all make going forward as we build an Arizona for everyone. Now let’s get to work,” Gov. Hobbs said.

Noon on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023

The Arizona Legislature convenes today with Speaker Ben Toma leading opening ceremonies in the House of Representatives and Senate President Warren Peterson leading ceremonies in the Arizona Senate.

Gov. Katie Hobbs will start her State of the State address around 2 p.m.

Arizona House of Representatives Opening Day Ceremony

In addition, House Minority Leader Andrés Cano and Senate Minority Leader Raquel Terán were elected as part of the House and Senate leadership teams.

Arizona Senate Opening Day Ceremony

Arizonans and organizations around the state are looking forward to see Legislators address key issues.

Among the people attending ceremonies are the three state university presidents.

Arizona House Republicans welcomed their new members.

A guest says the teamwork needed in football is what lawmakers need to get their work done.

Holocaust survivor Hanna Miley was among the opening day guest speakers.

The Luke Air Force Base 56th Fighter Wing Honor Guard present the colors in the Arizona Senate.

Senate members’ children led the Pledge of the Allegiance during the Arizona Senate’s Opening Day ceremony.

Deer Valley Unified School District’s Mountain Ridge Honor Choir sang the national anthem during the House opening day ceremony.

Legislators were sworn in this morning and begin their work on the budget, bills and continue their service to Arizonans.

There is a significant change in the House, Republicans’ desk are on one side while Democrats’ desks are on the other.

Earlier today, Democratic Legislators held a press conference and released their Blueprint for a Better Arizona priorities, while Republican released their priorities earlier.

Hear what House Minority Leader Andrés Cano said about the Blueprint for a Better Arizona priorities.