Update: Friday, Jan. 13, 2016 with links to Gov. Ducey’s executive budget and education advocacy groups responses to it.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey proposed increased K-12 education funding each year he’s governor, permanent salary increases for Arizona teachers and student loan forgiveness for teachers who commit to teach in Arizona’s public schools during his State of the State speech at the Arizona Capitol as the Arizona Legislature convened on Monday, Jan. 9.
Azcentral Video: Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address courtesy of Arizona Capitol Television
Friday, Jan. 13, 2016 at 3:05 p.m.
Generally speaking, Expect More Arizona is pleased with Governor Ducey’s budget proposal and believes it is one of the most education-friendly budgets in many years.
The budget prioritizes two of Arizona’s greatest needs: teacher recruitment and retention and early literacy, including full-day Kindergarten. The Governor’s proposal for teacher pay will help Arizona salaries move in the right direction, but we know we have a long way to go to ensure our teachers have competitive salaries that attract and keep them in classrooms across the state.
We understand that the Governor and legislature can’t commit money the state doesn’t have. Therefore, an adequate long-term education funding solution, focused on both equity and excellence in results, must include strategies to increase the pool of available resources, including the update and renewal of Prop 301.
We look forward to working with the Governor and legislature on an effective solution that ensures every child in Arizona receives an excellent education, every step of the way.
Friday, Jan. 13, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
The Arizona School Boards Association recognizes the Governor’s proposed budget serves to identify important priorities for K-12 public schools, teacher salaries, meeting the needs of low income students, early literacy initiatives and investing in building renewal. The Governor is correct in prioritizing these issues, and we appreciate his acknowledgement in the proposed budget. When fully implemented, these changes could mean an extra $2,000 in base line salaries for classroom teachers, and an extra $2,500 per kindergarten students enrolled in low income school districts.
“While these are steps in the right direction, ASBA remains concerned about existing revenues needed to support K-12 classrooms long-term,” said Dr. Tim Ogle, executive director of ASBA. “Arizona is slated to lose $97 million in previously enacted tax cuts in FY17 and $182 million in FY18, along with expanding corporate contributions to School Tuitions Organization that equate to $74.3 million in 2017.”
ASBA encourages the Governor and the Legislature to think long-term and work with school districts to solve Arizona’s education funding problems identifying sustainable resources to maintain and expand these funding initiatives.
Monday, Jan. 9, 2016 at 4:31 p.m.
Helios Education Foundation issued the following statement in response to Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address:
“Helios applauds Governor Ducey for elevating the critical importance of improving our education system and making the commitment to increase K-12 investment, above inflation, every year throughout his governorship. His willingness to visit schools across the state and gain firsthand knowledge of the needs our students and schools face is to be commended and expressed in the items outlined today.
Investments that span the early education through postsecondary continuum such as the areas mentioned — early literacy, teacher and principal recruitment and retention, College Knowing and Going, and Achieve60Az — all work to ensure Arizona’s students are prepared for success in college, career, and life.
We stand united with the Governor in sharing the belief that every student, regardless of zip code, deserves a high quality education. Education changes lives and strengthens communities and we will be successful together.”
Expect More Arizona welcomes Governor Ducey’s commitment to a key tenet of our mission – ensuring every child has access to a quality education. We also echo his sentiments that there are many examples of excellence in education throughout Arizona, thanks to the hard work of teachers and students.
We are encouraged by the Governor’s focus on supporting teachers and addressing the teacher shortage crisis, improving third grade literacy with evidence-based interventions, and closing the achievement gap. Each of these are areas of focus for Expect More Arizona this year, which were echoed as priorities by Arizona voters in our recent poll.
We applaud the Governor’s desire to provide much needed resources to Arizona’s schools. We understand the dollars available are limited and the funding needs great, therefore we encourage the Governor and the legislature to thoughtfully consider both short- and long-term funding solutions, with a focus on both equity and excellence in results.
We look forward to the release of the Governor’s budget proposal on Friday, and to working with Governor Ducey and state legislators to also make sure every child in Arizona receives an excellent education, every step of the way.
Since voters approved Prop. 123 in a May 2016 special election, Arizona education advocates and leaders have been what steps 4, 5 and 6 will be to increase K-12 public education funding.
Here they are, Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday during his State of the State address.
Step 4: Resources
“Starting with the budget I release Friday, I will call for increased investment in public schools – above and beyond inflation – every single year I’m a governor,” Ducey said.
While Ducey said he couldn’t promise “a money tree,” he did say that “when we do have available resources, like we do this year, the bulk of those resources will go to public education.”
Step 5: Teacher pay
“Let’s put these new dollars where they will have the greatest impact on students. The place we know we will get the best return on investment. It’s time for a raise for Arizona teachers. My budget will outline a permanent, lasting salary increase to all of Arizona’s teachers,” Ducey said.
“This is an investment by the State of Arizona in recognizing and rewarding the work of our teachers in a way that is fair, permanent and fiscally responsible,” Ducey said.
The raise would be above and beyond raises they may be receiving from Prop 123 or overrides or from their district.
Step 6: Student debt
One of the biggest challenges for new teachers is paying down student loan debt, Ducey said.
“For teachers, paying off the debt from their education can take decades. In some cases it might push them out of the profession all together,” Ducey said.
Ducey asked Arizona’s three public universities and community colleges to develop an Arizona Teachers Academy.
“If you make a commitment to teach in Arizona’s public schools, tuition will be paid for, a job will be waiting and you will be free of debt,” Ducey said.
“I want the teachers of our state to know you make a difference. I value your work. And it’s time we return the favor,” Ducey said.
Step 7: Low-income schools
“The greatest need for high-quality teachers is in our low-income schools and it also happens to be the hardest place to attract them,” Ducey said
Ducey suggested a $1,000 signing bonus for teachers who work in low-income schools as one way to attract good teachers and help close the achievement gap.
“Together can show the teachers of our state that their profession is valued, respected and indispensable,” Ducey said.
Step 8: Teacher shortage
Those who want to be teachers shouldn’t be prevented from doing so by outdated rules, Ducey said.
“I’m talking about the teacher certification process, and it’s time to fix that in Arizona,” Ducey said.
Step 9: Early literacy
“Schools in low-income areas need our attention and that’s what my budget prioritizes,” Ducey said.
“My budget gives the lowest income schools dollars to expand or start full-day kindergarten and address an issue we know is critical to closing the achievement gap – the ability to read by third grade,” Ducey said.
Step 10: Tribal nations and rural schools
“We need to make sure all kids are prepared for the 21st century,” Ducey said. “Many Arizona public schools are leading the nation when it comes to science and technology — teaching students to code and developing skills to take with them through life.”
“Too many students, specifically in our rural areas and our tribal nations are missing out. It’s 2017, but outside of our urban areas broadband internet is still spotty,” Ducey said. “Let’s connect schools with broadband and connect it with a state-wide computer science and coding initiative.”
Step 11: Principal academies to train leaders
Step 12: Loan forgiveness for STEM teachers
Step 13: Dollars for school construction and capital
Step 14: Targeted investments to address the achievement gap
Step 15: A per-pupil funding boost for excelling schools and even more for high-quality, low-income schools beating the odds
Step 16: Career and technical education
Step 17: College knowing and going program
Step 18: Achieve 360 AZ
“We have a plan to prioritize K-12 education in a serious and thoughtful way, and we’ve only just begun. Arizonans know what’s best for our schools,” Ducey said.
As the representative of all public school districts in Arizona, the Arizona School Boards Association looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on public education needs and initiatives in 2017.
Last year, we celebrated the passage of Prop. 123, but we must remember this was money that corrected prior failure to meet voter-approved minimum funding. This year, ASBA will focus on improving the general state of overall quality public funding which includes improving the teacher shortage crisis and capital funding needs of our public schools.
“We will continue to advocate for a long-term plan to better meet the needs of all K-12 students attending a public district school from state leaders to fully fund education, and implement the changes we need in public education to ensure that students can succeed in Arizona,” said Dr. Tim Ogle, executive director of ASBA.
“In 2017, the State of our State is resilient and strong. Our economy is growing. Our schools are improving. And our citizens are succeeding,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “But now is not the time to become complacent, because the next generation is depending on us to create boldness and opportunity in the State of Arizona.”
“We can’t claim opportunity for all unless every child regardless of their background and zip code has access to an excellent education,” Ducey said.
“We have so much to be proud of, Arizona students are improving faster in math and reading than any other students in the country,” Ducey said.
“We have been a leader on school choice, and we will continue to be a leader,”Ducey said.
The Arizona House was called to order and members were asked to please take their seats as the gathering awaits Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State speech.
Education leaders including Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, Julie Bacon, President of the Arizona School Boards Association’s Board of Directors, and 2017 Arizona Teacher of the Year Michelle Doherty were among the people attending the Arizona House of Representatives Opening Day Ceremony that preceded Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address.
Earlier this year, Bacon, Thomas and other education leaders noted that 76 percent of Arizona voters polled after the special election said state funding for public schools should be increased and called on legislators to increase K-12 funding by at least the $1.2 billion cut since the Great Recession.
Results from a statewide survey of likely Arizona voters, conducted on behalf of Expect More Arizona in December 2016 by Public Opinion Strategies, showed that education remains the top issue for Arizonans (43%) over immigration/border security (34%) and the economy (16%), and lack of funding (41%) and teacher pay/teacher shortage (34%) emerged as the two top education issues.
In that survey, voters said too little funding is going to teacher pay (81%) and K-12 public education (72%). When asked what education issue, if any, they would pay more in taxes to support, higher teacher pay was the top choice across all political parties.
Earlier in the day, Democrats in the Arizona Legislature’s House and Senate announced their education priorities for the upcoming session.
Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs said in an Arizona Republic article among those priorities are limiting the corporate School Tax Organization tax credit for private school scholarships and asking voters to increase the Prop. 301 sales tax that helps fund education to one full cent, up from it’s current six-tenths of a cent.
Extending Prop. 301, which expires in 2021, is one of the priorities mentioned by Rep. Heather Carter, a Republican from Cave Creek, during a recent legislative workshop as a way to look at long-term solutions to increase and stabilize public school funding.
Arizona voters, parents, education advocates and the 1.1 million students in Arizona’s public schools will see if Arizona Governor Doug Ducey outlines the next step in increasing K-12 education funding during his State of the State speech at 2 p.m. Monday as the Arizona Legislature convenes.
Gov. Ducey called Prop. 123, which voters approved in May, the first step. Prop. 123 settled the inflation funding lawsuit filed by Arizona public school districts and education advocates.
Gov. Ducey is expected to unveil the next step of his plan, and many are interested in what he will say, according to an article in Arizona Public Media.
“We want to continue on the path of increasing opportunity in the state of Arizona, so education and K-12 is going to be a huge part of that,” Ducey said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.
But the governor, in an interview with Capitol Media Services, tried to reduce expectations that his next step would include a large increase in state spending on education, but he did say there would be money in his budget to help raise teacher pay.
Ducey’s budget plan will likely focus on education, addiction treatment, prison recidivism and the increase in the minimum wage recently approved by voters, according to an Associated Press article.
Incoming Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard said in a KTAR article that implementing Prop. 206, which raised the state minimum wage to $10-an-hour from $8.05-an-hour, may use most of the anticipated $24 million budget surplus, “so the most immediate challenge is adapting to that and figuring out how to comply while also trying to fund the priorities in this session including education.”