the first true bipartisan budget since Governor Napolitano. We passed a historic water deal, tribal gaming was something that also happened during this time … there was a special session on wildfires, and we were able to negotiate $90 million in ARPA funding to provide direct assistance to Arizona nonprofit organizations to support the community.
The Covid pandemic continues to negatively impact students’ success in math and English, and education leaders say it’s imperative to address these unprecedented declines in proficiency quickly.
Arizona taxpayers are going to pick up the tab for attorneys hired by Republican lawmakers who successfully killed a 2020 voter-approved plan to tax the state’s most wealthy to fund education.
The 2022 legislative session started and ended with concerns about a constitutional provision voters approved in 1980 that limits public school spending – even if the legislature has already allocated the money.
House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, is pleased that what he called the “first true bipartisan budget since Governor Napolitano” was passed by state lawmakers last session. He also is happy that a historic water deal was approved, along with tribal gaming and a special session was held on wildfires during his last two years as House minority leader.
Senate President Karen Fann said it has been a huge honor serving as president in the Senate. She is only the second female Senate president in Arizona. Fann said some highlights of the past session for her include lawmakers passing a water bill, as well as a bipartisan budget and a K-12 base funding increase.
Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers said it was a “blessing” to be forced to have to work with Democrats on bills involving education, water and other issues in the past legislative session.
After a marathon 167-day session, lawmakers could be headed back to the Capitol to ensure schools don’t have to cut spending by more than $1 billion next year.
In a state where significant challenges plague the education system — and legitimate solutions exist —strong leaders thinking and working together across both sides of the aisle can ignite meaningful change. What is most important, however, is prioritizing voter’s priorities for education—their priorities need to be at the forefront of all decision-making.
The Fiscal Year 2023 budget is now law.
The Arizona state Legislature pushed out a bill that greatly expands empowerment scholarship accounts that students can use to go into private schools in a historic move on Friday night that makes this the biggest “voucher” expansion in the country.