AZ’s Public Schools Are
in a State of Emergency
Arizona’s public schools are facing an unprecedented crisis. We call upon our state’s leaders to name this disaster as what it truly is: a State of Emergency for Arizona’s Public Schools.
Here are the facts:
- School funding has been cut to the bone. Arizona remains 48th in the nation for per-student spending. Despite recent modest investments, our state legislature has failed to support our local public schools, leaving Arizona students a shocking $4.5 billion behind the national average in resources every single year.
- Funding cuts hurt Arizona kids. Public schools have already been forced to slash budgets, resulting in larger class sizes; fewer classroom aides and supports; fewer counselors and school safety supports; diminished access to extracurriculars, sports, music and the arts; and so much more.
- Vouchers are fueling the crisis. Arizona is now projected to siphon nearly $1 billion away from local public schools and toward private school options next year, such as unregulated and unaccountable private schools, strip mall schools, online programs, microschools, and homeschools.
- Vouchers directly subtract from local public schools. As a result of these voucher costs, every Arizona school will lose out on $300,000 on average, stunting schools’ ability to hire, purchase materials for students, or give teacher pay raises.
- Tax cuts have stripped revenues bare. Arizona’s revenue stream has been decimated by Ducey era tax cuts. Next year’s state revenue is estimated to be $2 billion less than this year and experts predict revenues will continue to dramatically decline. This means future funding for public education is in extreme jeopardy.
- Arizona’s public schools face a perfect storm. Federal COVID relief funds will be gone by September 2024. Arizona has made no plan to replace those critical dollars; instead, our legislature is considering even more tax cuts to further shrink our budget, making funding our schools impossible. Adding alarm, Prop 123 is set to sunset in 2025, meaning this crisis will reach epic proportions in just 2 short years.
Arizona’s public schools desperately need funds to cover costs and meet the needs of 1.1 million students – but there is no money due to rising ESA voucher costs and tax cuts for the elite.
Without concrete solutions paired with significant action by Gov. Hobbs and the Arizona Legislature, Arizona’s public schools will remain in a state of emergency that will worsen rapidly in the coming years.
North Carolina’s Governor Cooper recently declared a state of emergency for public education in his state, citing the NC legislature’s ESA voucher bill as an “assault” aimed to “choke the life out of public education.” North Carolina is similarly situated to Arizona, sitting at 46th in the nation in per-pupil funding.
We call upon Governor Hobbs & Arizona legislative leadership to do the same. Lift your voice TODAY and tell leaders you demand action: bit.ly/K12Emergency