Education Action – Funding & Reforms

June 7, 2017 by  

K-12 education is the area Legislators wanted to impact most this session – and prioritize additional funding towards.  With the 2018 budget, 82% of new spending goes to education.  Read where your budgeted education dollars will go, the facts about Arizona’s ESA program & other education actions.

The 2018 budget adds $163 million for K-12 schools above inflation and provides a permanent raise for teachers, while remaining fiscally responsible (aka balanced).

  • $68 million for a permanent 2% teacher pay raise over two years
  • $37.6 million for results-based funding for public schools, half of which is earmarked for teacher raises – schools that are best serving students are rewarded – so are their teachers!
  • $20 million over two years for early literacy programs, including full-day kindergarten
  • $80 million for the construction and maintenance of school facilities
  • $7.3 million for IT upgrades to more efficiently serve schools via the Department of Education
  • $3 million in matching funds for rural school access to internet connectivity/broadband generating approximately $100 million in total funds
  • $2.6 million additional funds for small and isolated rural schools
  • $1 million for high school graduates to complete JTED (Vocational) programs
  • $250,000 to expand principal leadership training
  • $250,000 to expand teacher loan forgiveness
  • $100,000 for dropout prevention programs

Read more on Empowerment Scholarship Accounts here.  

Additional education action:

  1. Expanding Teaching Opportunities – SB 1042 enables qualified individuals with subject matter expertise to enter the teaching profession. Read the bill’s provisions here.
  2. Updating student data privacy protectionsSB 1314 –  prevents targeted advertising or dissemination of personal information without prior consent. The bill protects students while still allowing them to have access to the best technology.
  3. Streamlining Special EducationSB 1317  – Requires the State Board of Education to begin reviewing and amending rules regarding special education to: a) streamline processes; b) reduce unnecessary administrative burdens on local education agencies; and c) affirm the central role of the local IEP team.  And to ensure new rules are consistent with IDEA but not more restrictive and that personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained to serve students with disabilities.
  4. Safe Bus DriversHB 2247 – Required to have a fingerprint clearance card
  5. Parental input on Text BooksSB 1204 – Requires school districts to provide notice on the district website and to provide an opportunity for public comment for proposed high school textbooks prior to approval.
  6. Teacher incentive LoansSB 1040 – Provides loans to students that agree to provide instruction at an Arizona public school in a low income, rural or Indian reservation area.
  7. Military members credit transferHB 2270 – Last year, the Legislature passed a bill allowing community colleges and Universities to award academic credit to military members based on the skills and knowledge the member acquired during service. HB 2270 expands the credits available to count toward vocational credit.
  8. Veterans in-state tuitionHB 2415 modifies eligibility requirements for veterans receiving the in-state designation for tuition at community colleges and universities.

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