Public Schools & Universities Win In AZ Budget

News Release

May 4, 2017

PHOENIX — Arizona public schools, our teachers and public universities are the biggest winners in the fiscal year 2018 budget. Under the agreement, public schools will receive at least $163 million in new funding next year – above and beyond inflation and enrollment growth. The $163 million investment builds upon funding that was approved by voters with the passage of Prop 123, which provides $318 million to public schools in FY2018, for a total of $557 million in new K-12 spending next year. 

Under the plan, public school teachers will receive the bulk of the dollars, with a permanent and well-deserved 2 percent pay raise phased in over two years. This will represent $68 million in ongoing funding for teachers. The budget also paves the way for a $1 billion investment in Arizona’s public universities, passed with bipartisan support from a majority of Senate Democrats, and fulfilling two major priorities outlined by the governor in his State of the State address in January.

“Arizona has passed a budget that prioritizes education, boosts teacher pay, and invests in our universities — all without raising taxes on hardworking Arizonans,” said Governor Ducey.  “For the first time in a decade, we are making significant and lasting investments to grow our state — in state parks; in public schools and universities, in our roads and highways; and in programs to combat drug addiction, provide second chances to inmates, and place foster children in permanent homes. This would not be possible without the hard work to balance our budget over recent years. And it should come as no surprise that we are investing where it can really make a difference. I thank the legislature for their hard work and look forward to building on these gains to continue expanding opportunity for all Arizonans.”

Noteworthy new investments in the budget include:

  • $68 million for a permanent 2% teacher pay raise over two years
  • $27 million in ongoing capital investments for universities that will enable over $1 billion in bonding
  • $37.6 million for results-based funding at public schools, half of which is earmarked for teacher raises
  • $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 make payments to schools at 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 programs
  • $250,000 to expand principal leadership training
  • $250,000 to expand teacher loan forgiveness
  • $100,000 for dropout prevention programs
  • $30 million in permanent investments for local transportation infrastructure projects
  • $6.6 million to grow Arizona State Parks, including $4 million to build Rockin’ River Ranch
  • $1.2 million to completely eliminate the state’s sexual assault kit backlog
  • $220,900 for AHCCCS to combat opioid addiction
  • $1.5 million for a post-release fire crew
  • $517,900 for substance abuse and reentry counselors to reduce recidivism
  • $6.1 million to upgrade the Department of Child Safety’s outdated electronic management system
  • $2 million for adoption services
  • $1 million to increase funding for kinship caregivers, often known as the “grandma stipend”
  • $2 million for enhanced services at Adult Protective Services
  • $2 million for Arizona’s drought contingency plan
  • $1.2 million for additional personnel supporting proper management of the state’s streams and groundwater
  • $269,900 for fire safety communications equipment and a Deputy Fire Marshal
  • $500,000 for a new public health emergency fund
  • $400,000 for court appointed special advocates