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Arizona Legislative Session Begins

Author: Janice Palmer, Vice President and Director of Policy, Helios Education Foundation

January 9, 2018

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey opened the 53rd Legislature, Second Regular Session by giving his State of the State Address yesterday that, for K-12 education, focused on the improvement of our public schools by reiterating that Arizona’s students lead the nation in improvements in math and reading scores and honored Chandler Unified School District, Peoria Unified School District - both Helios’ College Knowing and Going Districts - and Washington Elementary School District for ranking in the top 20 nationwide in academic gains. The Governor also reiterated his commitment to “increase spending on K-12 education, above and beyond inflation, every year I’m in office.” He foreshadowed his Proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget by stating that 80 percent of his new budget priorities will be focused on K-12. 

While the Governor’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget will be officially released on Friday, we were able to be a part of the Governor’s press conference unveiling his significant investment into K-12 Education. As a deeply embedded education philanthropic organization in Arizona, Helios Education Foundation will always want to see additional investment in education that will allow schools to invest in the best practices we’ve strived to fund for the past decade. Too many times, schools must choose between funding inside the classroom and funding the capital needs that facilitate quality education. This additional funding acknowledges that all needs are important.

We are making significant strides to rebuild the education funding cuts from the Great Recession; yet, there is more work to do to fund all aspects of our education system – from early education to K-12, from community colleges to universities. Whether it is reauthorizing and expanding Prop. 301 or supporting Achieve60AZ to ensure at least 60% of Arizonans have a certificate or college degree by 2030, we will only be successful by working together. 

We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor’s Office, policymakers, and the various business and education communities to ensure every student, regardless of zip code, has access and resources necessary for a high-quality education. Here’s to a great 2018 Legislative Session! 

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