But… What is a “Fully-Funded” School?
“Fully-Funded” schools seems to be a phrase we hear a lot about this days. But what exactly does that mean? We are fully committed to ensuring every Arizona child has access to a quality, fully-funded public school in their neighborhood.
But… what is a “fully-funded” school and what does that mean for kids?
A fully-funded school is able to attract the best teachers, counselors, arts teachers, librarians, nurses, and principals. It can give its staff a decent salary and working conditions so that they will stay and continue to serve our children. Underfunded schools cannot attract or retain staff.
A fully-funded school is able to provide small (or at the very least moderate) class sizes. This is so that each child can receive the individualized instruction and attention they deserve.
They provide ample opportunities for children, like STEM classes, maker spaces and gardening. They also provide clubs, sports, fine arts classes, dual language opportunities, and academic intervention and enrichment. Its teachers can spend time with students instead of applying for grants and donations to make these programs possible (not to mention buying tissues and printer paper).
Schools that are fully-funded have special education programs and full-day kindergarten that are fully paid for by the state. In Arizona, districts only receive about half the funding they need for our students who need it most. Although most schools offer full-day kindergarten and full services for students with special needs, funding for these programs has to come from another line item (like art, or music, or sports).
Arizona has a lack of funding in public schools
States that value their children and want to build a stronger economy have prioritized all of the above. Arizona is last in the nation in per-student spending. According to the Education Law Center in New Jersey, our state legislature funds our children at $5,500 less per child each year than the national average. This means we fall $5.5 billion short of the average state each year.
How are public schools funded?
Public schools are funded with state tax dollars. Yet year after year, our lawmakers and governor say that they are funding education while simultaneously passing more privatization voucher schemes, budget cuts and tax cuts that gouge billions from our local schools.
What can be done? To achieve our vision of a fully-funded school in each neighborhood, we need Arizonans to understand the incredible crisis our kids and classrooms are facing. This means our network has got to educate and inspire our neighbors and help them connect their values to their votes. But this, too, requires funding and this funding should be a non-partisan issue.
An investment in Save Our Schools Arizona Network is an investment in every Arizona child and the 95% of families that choose Arizona public schools.
Early giving for Arizona Gives Day is well underway! We are determined to achieve our goal of a fully-funded school for every Arizona child, but it’s going to take all of us. Donate today to ensure every Arizona child has what they need to be successful and to create a stronger Arizona for generations to come.
With immense gratitude,