PROS: Lowers financial barriers to dual enrollment, takes steps toward transportation funding modernization, boosts school finance transparency
CONS: Dismantles funding model that helped excellent schools serve more students
Phoenix, AZ — Great Leaders Strong Schools President and Founder Emily Anne Gullickson released the following statement regarding the passage of the fiscal year 2024 Arizona state budget:
“Like any negotiated budget, not everyone will get everything they want. This budget is a mixed bag for K-12 students. Some decisions will advance reforms to help students access a better education, including new funding to help eliminate financial barriers students face enrolling in high-quality dual enrollment courses, but others will make it more difficult for schools delivering positive learning outcomes to continue their work and serve more families.
“Great Leaders Strong Schools thanks Gov. Hobbs and lawmakers from both parties for ensuring the continuation of the Transportation Modernization Grant Program, which is helping to spark creative, innovative solutions for thinking beyond the yellow school bus to get students safely to school each morning and home at the end of each day.
“The budget takes an important step towards the modernization of the state’s student funding formula by allocating dollars to the Arizona Department of Education to model a statewide weighted per-pupil transportation funding formula, which would be the nation’s first. Given Arizona’s robust education options for families, the way we fund student transportation is badly outdated, so this modeling will help policymakers better understand where the status quo is falling short.
“By allocating $2 million to the Arizona School Spending Portal, the governor and Legislature have increased the amount of information policymakers, parents, and taxpayers will have available down to the level of the school site. Under this budget, a helpful financial tool will get even better.
“Despite some important investments for Arizona schools, this budget’s dismantling of a funding model that helped excelling schools serve more students – with a special emphasis on underserved and traditionally underperforming areas – was a mistake. We look forward to working with lawmakers and Gov. Hobbs to find additional ways for Arizona to recognize exceptional teachers and empower principals who are delivering meaningful outcomes for students.”
About Great Leaders Strong Schools
Advancing policies and cultivating leaders who advocate for providing all K-12 students access to high-quality schools and learning opportunities that are close to them, with a priority on students in high-poverty communities.