PHOENIX — Superintendents and school leaders representing over 50 Arizona school districts came together yesterday to announce their support for Governor Ducey’s plan to restore Recession-era cuts to a key part of the school funding formula. The plan, which will be included in the governor’s Executive Budget, proposes a full restoration of $371 million in District Additional Assistance and Charter Additional Assistance, phased-in over five years, with $100 million added in fiscal year 2019.
Here’s what superintendents from three noteworthy school districts had to say:
Mike Cowan, Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools:
"Today is an important day for Mesa Unified School District and the students we teach as well as well as the students across the great state of Arizona.
"With the support and partnership of Governor Ducey, we hope to result in an approximately $371 million in Arizona’s classrooms and schools. This is important. Mesa is the largest school district in the state of Arizona serving approximately 64,000 students.
"Mesa will see roughly $6 million in July 1 of 2018 if this goes forward with nearly $27 million once full funding is restored.
"This money will be used to fund important resources for our students: text books and technology, and safe learning environments for our teachers and students. These are real dollars that will be put into the system now to help the students that we’re currently serving. I’m proud to support this plan and have great faith that legislators and policy makers will support this significant education plan. Thank you so very much, Governor Ducey." - Mike Cowan, Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools:
Camille Castille, Superintendent of Chandler Unified School District:
"The proposal that Governor Ducey has announced today will impact all students regardless of their education choice, socioeconomic status, or place of residence. Restoring this formula will help every child in Arizona and will provide the much needed relief immediately to the operation portion of the formula which some districts like ours will be fortunate to redirect toward teacher salaries. Chandler is in a unique position as we continue to experience growth and have a community who has locally supported us. Even with that, we have redirected dollars from operations to capital to meet the needs of our schools.
"I thank Governor Ducey, our legislative leadership, for their leadership today and commitment to not only restoring the formula, but building schools, providing funds to maintain existing facilities and placing teacher salary increase in the base. I know today is only the beginning of great things to come and I’m proud to be a part of it. Thank you, Governor Ducey." Camille Castille, Superintendent of Chandler Unified School District
Calvin Baker, Superintendent of Vail School District:
“School board members and superintendents in Pima County met last month and agreed that restoration of additional assistance, or capital money, was their absolute top priority. Education groups across the state have also identified capital funding as their top priority. This plan directly addresses that priority. In addition to restoring the capital formula, this plan also provides a significant amount of money for new schools and provides more funding for building renewal than we have seen in a decade.
"Necessity has forced many of us to use operational dollars, the same dollars we use for teacher salaries, to buy desks, computers and repair school buildings. This plan will address that problem. Governor Ducey has heard the voices of public school leaders, responded to our priorities and come up with a plan that is a very significant step towards better funding and thus more opportunities for our students. Now is the time for action to occur on this issue of capital funding. We can’t afford to wait any longer. We have come together for solutions in the past and clearly there is a need for us to come together to solve funding problems that loom in our future. That is why I am supporting the governor’s plan and I am encouraging others to do the same. Thank you, Governor Ducey.” - Calvin Baker, Superintendent of Vail School District