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Students Tell AZ Governor of School Challenges

PHOTO: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is leaning firsthand through letters from school students of the challenges they face, caused by classroom overcrowding and years of educational budget cuts. Photo courtesy Gov. Ducey's office.
PHOTO: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is leaning firsthand through letters from school students of the challenges they face, caused by classroom overcrowding and years of educational budget cuts. Photo courtesy Gov. Ducey's office.
March 9, 2015

PHOENIX - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is hearing directly from school students about the challenges they face each day. Dana Wolfe Naimark, president with Children's Action Alliance, says students from across the state recently sent letters to the governor that tell a story of overcrowding and underfunding education.

"A lot of the letters talked about shortages in their classrooms," Wolfe Naimark says. "Not enough desks for every student, not enough time for every student to take a turn because there's so many kids in the class; not enough supplies, not enough books, pencils, paper."

Wolfe Naimark says Gov. Ducey is agreeing to a proposed budget that does not increase funding for education following years of recession-related budget cuts. She says research shows when adjusted for inflation, Arizona has cut investments in K-12 schools by 18 percent since 2008. Only Alabama and Oklahoma have made deeper cuts.

Sam Richard, executive director with Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition, says Gov. Ducey is not delivering on his campaign promises of being a champion for education. He says the governor is continuing a long-term trend of cutting taxes for business and slashing funding for education and other services.

"We've seen tax cuts and tax breaks for corporations," says Richard. "But we continue to not see the political courage from Arizona's leaders to make the right investments in the Arizona safety net."

Richard says Gov. Ducey is supporting a proposal that cuts $113 million in public schools spending and cuts funding to child care and health-care programs.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ