A new plan for K-12 school spending would reduce funding in dozens of school districts

Published: Friday, March 25, 2022 - 5:07pm
Updated: Saturday, March 26, 2022 - 10:52am

School choice advocates are advancing a plan to overhaul Arizona’s K-12 school funding formula in a way that benefits all charter schools, but harms dozens of public school districts.

The proposal, first reported by the Arizona Republic, would boost funding for public schools by $215 million annually. But it would end a variety of funding sources that benefit school districts, as well as make permanent an achievement-based funding program that predominantly helps school districts in higher-income areas, without similar boosts in funding for school districts with higher poverty rates.

A legislative budget analysis of the plan shows the dozens of school districts would lose, not gain, annual funding once it's fully phased in.

Sponsored by Rep. Michelle Udall (R-Mesa) the measure will surface as a strike-everything amendment to Senate Bill 1269 on Monday morning, when it’s scheduled to be heard in the House Appropriations Committee.

School choice advocates told the Republic the policies in the bill have been in the works for months.

But school business groups, and even one Republican lawmaker, just learned about the proposal this week — and warned against rushing through a policy halfway through a legislative session.

Deadlines to introduce new bills have long since passed in late January for the Senate and early February for the House. Republican lawmakers frequently use strike-everything amendments to bypass those deadlines by stripping down an existing bill and replacing it with entirely new, unrelated policies.

Politics Education