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2016 Budget Update - Keep Schools Harmless


Current-Year Funding Implementation Impact on Schools

The Arizona Legislature is currently in budget discussions. A one-year delay in Current-Year funding is essential to provide teachers, students, and schools stability and certainty. This policy negatively impacts many school districts and could even negate the positive impacts of Prop 123. In addition, draft budgets leaked from the Capitol include $30 million in unspecified tax cuts, which is the cost to implement Current-Year Funding. As we stated in the Prop 123GO press conference, passing Prop 123 is the first step to restoring funding and it is important that we must continue to put pressure on legislators to support appropriate school funding. We must send our message loud and clear that we will hold politicians accountable in upcoming elections, who support a budget that promotes tax cuts while reducing school funding.  Contact your legislators today and urge them to hold our students and teachers harmless as they negotiate the budget.

Background
Currently, school districts base their current-year budget around student counts, or Average Daily Membership (ADM), from the first 100 days of enrollment of the prior fiscal year. For example, for this year, FY 2016, district budgets are built around FY 2015, 100-day ADM. Using prior year ADM allows districts to adopt budgets, set tax rates, make hiring decisions and plan for the upcoming school year. Charter schools on the other hand, are funded on a current-year basis. Their budgets are adopted using estimated student counts. As actual enrollment numbers come in, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) adjusts charters’ monthly apportionment payments to reflect those figures. The FY 2016 budget included language requiring school districts to convert to a current-year funding model beginning FY 2017. 

Position
The Arizona Education Association supports, at a minimum, a one-year delay on the implementation of Current-Year Funding.  Current-Year Funding makes sense for charter schools but is incredibly problematic for school districts; delay or repeal is essential to provide teachers, students and schools stability and certainty. The following differences between charter and district operations, regulations and restrictions make prior-year the better model for districts:

Other concerns include:

Most importantly, with the passage of Prop 123 on May 17th, public education is finally getting a much needed investment; Current-Year funding implementation will lessen and even negate the positive impact of the increased funding. Public education needs to begin recovering from the recent years of deprivation and scarcity. 



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