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AEA Summary of K12 Education Budget - March Proposal

As passed by Appropriations Committees on March 5, 2015.

Fiscal Year 2016 (2015-2016 school year)
The House and Senate Appropriation Committees met on Thursday, March 5 and  approved budget bills on party-line votes (Republicans in support and Democrats opposed).  Both the House and Senate are expected to debate these bills and vote on them today (Friday, March 6). Call your legislators today! 

The two main bills for K-12 education are HB2671/SB1469 (general appropriations; 2015-2016) and HB2678/SB1476 (K-12 education; budget reconciliation; 2015-2016).  These bills are identical in both the House and Senate and include the following provisions:

  • Funds FY16 school inflation at a 1.59% increase, setting the FY16 Base Support Level at $3,426.74 (this is the amount without teacher comp included).
    • If properly funded per the AEA’s inflation lawsuit, this per pupil amount would be $3,666.84.  (Thus, this proposed budget is $240.10 less per pupil than it should be per the court ruling).
  • Appropriates an additional $74.4 million down payment on the inflation lawsuit.
    • The additional $74.4 million is funded in a separate line item at the rate of $54.31; thus, not increasing the permanent base level formula amount which is problematic.
  • District Additional Assistance (DAA) Cut - $113.5 million in FY16 (this makes the total cut to DAA $352.4 million which is approximately 83% of all funds).
    • Requires the district superintendent and school financial officer to certify that the district's pro rata share of the $113.5 million amount has been achieved through reductions in non-classroom spending.
    • Caps the sum of DAA reductions for districts with a student count of less than 1,100 students at $5 million.
  • For charter schools:
    • $3 million cut to charter additional assistance funding.
    • Requires the CEO and SFO to certify that the charter’s pro rata share of this amount has been achieved through reductions in non-classroom spending.
    • Reduces by 50% the additional funding provided by the small school weight to a charter school that is affiliated with a charter holder that operates more than one charter school.
  • Creates the “Access Our Best Public Schools Fund,” administered by the SFB.
    • Funds must be made available to public schools that are members of the Arizona Public School Achievement District to construct new school facilities or to expand existing facilities.
    • Requires at least 50% of these funds to be used in low socioeconomic areas.
    • Requires the Executive Branch to submit an expenditure plan to JLBC for review prior to expenditure of funds.
  • Repeals Governor Brewer’s “Student Success Fund” program.
  • Other School Facilities Board (SFB) Items:
    • Requires SFB, by January 1st of each year, to report to JLBC on all Class B bond approvals; each school district shall report to SFB annually by Dec. 1.
    • Requires the SFB to annually submit a list of vacant and unused buildings to the Governor, Senate President, and House Speaker.  This list must be made available to applicants for charter schools and existing charter schools.
  • Eliminates all District Sponsored Charter Schools (only permitted to continue to operate through June 30, 2015).
  • Limits the state’s share of the 1% cap on net assessed value to $1 million per county ($20.2 million reduction in state funding). 
    • This currently impacts two counties—Pima and Pinal.  There are six school districts that will be affected: Pima County: Tucson Unified- $8 million, Altar Valley- $6,570, San Fernando- $35; Pinal County- Maricopa Unified - $564,800, Superior- $40,800, Mammoth-San Manuel- $3,300.
  • Continues funding of large JTEDs at 95.5% (those JTEDs with a student count of over 2,000).
  • Creates a $100,000 School Emergency Readiness Pilot Program (from the $3.65 million ADE school safety program appropriation).
  • $500,000 appropriation for Teach for America.

Changes beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 (school year 2016-2017):

  • All districts go to current year funding (cut of $40 million to districts). 
    • This makes it difficult to budget and immediately penalizes school districts with declining enrollment.
  • $30 million reduction to  JTED/school district career and technical education funding.
    • For a district that has a student who also attends a JTED, they will only be funded at 92.5%, which on average would be a cut of about $345 per ADM on the district side.  The students’ base support level (BSL) funding is also set at 92.5% on the JTED side, so if a student attends a JTED as 0.25 ADM their JTED funding would be reduced by about 25% of $345, or by about $86.



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