January 17,2018 | Triadvocates
Last Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey unveiled his FY 2019 Executive Budget—a $10.1 billion spending plan that dedicates 80% of new discretionary spending to K-12 funding. Here are the highlights:
Invests a total of $400M in K-12 education, including:
- $100M for Additional Assistance, and a commitment to phase in over five years a full restoration of $371M per year in Additional Assistance with an incremental growth of $68M per year until 2023;
- $116M for inflation and enrollment growth;
- $5.1M for SFB new school construction to generate $88M in bonding financed through 25-year certification of participation (3 schools in Chandler, 1 school in Queen Creek, 1 school in Tolleson);
- $35.2M for building renewal grants to improve or repair aging school facilities, plus $10M in supplemental funding for additional grants in FY 2018;
- $34M for the second year of the 1% teacher salary increase, and moving the total increase into the base level to ensure it will be adjusted for inflation every year;
- $2.5M to expand the K-12 Computer Science pilot program that will allow schools to offer high-quality training for new computer science teachers; and
- $2M to fully fund large JTEDs (2,000+ students).
In addition to education, key initiatives in the budget include:
- $27M for the first year of a facilities bonding program at the UofA, ASU and NAU;
- $8M in flexible spending allowed at the three universities;
- $25.6M from the State Highway Fund for preventative highway maintenance;
- $24M to improve the National Guard Readiness Center near Tucson;
- $15.8M to pay for the adoption subsidy for more than 33,000 children;
- $4M to improve Oracle State Park north of Tucson;
- $2.5M to improve Buckskin Mountain State Park on the Colorado River;
- $2.9M to hire 11 new troopers and one sergeant for the Border Strike Force in southern Arizona;
- $1.7 to provide substance abuse treatment to additional 1,560 inmates each year;
- $1.4M to expand education services to 486 more inmates each year;
- $449,900 to expand “Second Chance” centers to reduce prison recidivism, which will add 975 inmates to employment training programs each year;
- $1.4M to increase night patrols on Phoenix-area freeways, including hiring six new troopers to enhance the Wrong-Way Driver Night Watch in an effort to improve response times to wrong-way and impaired drivers;
- $1M for food banks to provide more "farm fresh" food;
- $758,000 to hire three new law-enforcement officers to work with federal agents on opioid issues; and
- Provides $15 million in tax relief to Arizona veterans who receive retirement benefits, phased-in over two years.
While this proposal serves as a starting point for budget discussions, negotiations this year may not be as contentious as we’ve previously seen. Last week, legislative leadership, several high-ranking legislators and 54 school superintendents publicly stood in support of Gov. Ducey’s education funding proposal.
At this point, early signs indicate that this will be a speedy legislative session—some are predicting that we could wrap by April 17. There’s still plenty of time for the Legislature to derail that plan, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.