The Arizona Legislature is currently adjourned until April 13, 2020. There is still time for legislators to add additional items/funds in the budget before July 1 which is the start of fiscal year 2020-2021. AEA will advocate for the passage of SB1234 which is the full restoration of District Additional Assistance for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) will issue the Classroom Site Fund estimates on Tuesday, March 31. The good news is that sales tax revenue is up thus far in the current fiscal year, but there is a lot of unknown for the remainder of the fiscal year due to the COVID-19 impact. Once the Classroom Site Fund estimate is set by JLBC, districts can budget based off this estimate.
Governor Ducey signed this budget on Saturday, March 28,2020.
K-12 Budget Bill – HB2902
- Provides for inflation at 1.74% (including transportation route miles).
- The original estimate was 1.77%.
- Increases the base level from $4,150.43 for FY 2020 to $4,305.73 for FY 2021. This is an increase of $155.30 without teacher compensation.
- Note: Teacher compensation permits a district to increase its base level funding amount by an additional 1.25% if its teacher performance evaluation system receives approval from the State Board of Education in accordance with A.R.S. §15-952. Funds received by this increased budget capacity may be expended only for additional teacher compensation. At this time, all districts in Arizona receive the 1.25% teacher compensation increase to the base level.
- Gives funds for enrollment growth due to statewide K-12 student population increasing.
- Provides final 5% for teacher pay increase ($174.5 million)
- Note $50 million of these new funds come from the sales tax that funds the Classroom Site Fund. These dollars originally went to pay down bonds for the state Deficiency Corrections Fund through the Students FIRST Program, but now that those bonds are paid off, this budget applies these dollars to the teacher pay increase. The legislature terms this “the bridge” from Classroom Site Fund to teacher pay.
- District Additional Assistance (DAA) – Restores $64.4 million in DAA funds for FY2020-2021.
- Note: Governor Ducey’s budget called for full restoration of DAA for FY2020-2021. This budget does not do that, and districts remain cut $64.4 million. Cuts to DAA began in 2010. The funds are used in many different ways—including maintenance and operations funds—but were originally for school capital and soft capital funds (classroom materials and supplies and technology). AEA will advocate for the passage of SB1234 when the legislative session resumes so we can get full restoration of these important funds for next school year.
- Districts with less than 1,000 students no longer have a reduction to DAA. They get the full DAA amount (was changed in the FY2019 budget last legislative session).
- Results Based Funding (i.e. Test-Based Funding) – Continues this $68.6 million annual program based on the spring 2019 statewide assessment. View a breakdown of how the funds are to be distributed.
- The House Democrats did a fantastic job arguing that Results-Based Funding largely goes to schools based on the wealth of the community and leaves students in low income areas behind. Moving the nearly $70 million for Results-Based Funding to District Additional Assistance would have fully restored the District Additional Assistance formula for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Building Renewal Grant supplemental of $28 million
- New school construction awards for both Chandler Unified and Tanque Verde for one high school each.
- Intent clause: The governor and the legislature intend that school districts increase the total percentage of classroom spending over the previous year's percentages in the combined categories of instruction, student support and instructional support as prescribed by the Auditor General.
- Note: These items were not included in this budget, so funding will terminate on June 30:
- $1 million for gifted program funding
- $500,000 for American civics education funding