Report: Arizona's Education Funding Cuts Rank Among Nation's Highest
PHOENIX – Education funding cuts in Arizona rank among the nation's highest. That's the finding of a study released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Dana Wolfe Naimark, president of the Children's Action Alliance, says the research shows that Arizona's per pupil spending remains well below pre-recession levels.
"That's not a ranking that we want to be high on,” she says. “That bodes very poorly for our education system and for our future educational success."
Wolfe Naimark says the study shows that when adjusted for inflation, Arizona has cut investments in K-12 schools by 18 percent since 2008.
Only Oklahoma and Alabama have made deeper cuts.
As the Nov. 4 general election quickly approaches, Wolfe Naimark says the next governor and state Legislature should make educating Arizona's future workforce a top fiscal priority.
"And that means looking at both sides of the ledger, the spending side and the revenue side,” she states. “And we need to reexamine some of our past decisions – both on K-12 education, on tax credits, on tax cuts, on other spending, on debt – we need to look at all of it and rebalance those priorities."
Wolfe Naimark says Arizona's ranking on education funding will improve at least a dozen points if a court ruling requiring the state to fund education at $330 million more per year in perpetuity, is allowed to stand.
The state is currently appealing the court ruling, which determined that Arizona had underfunded public education for several years.