Governor’s Budget Acknowledges Need for Investments from Early Years Through Career

This post was originally published here.

Something for Everyone

Governor Ducey’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 (FY20, July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) includes important investments in all of education, including early childhood education, K-12 and postsecondary.

He continues to follow through on his commitment to increase teacher pay 20 percent by 2020 and restore district and charter additional assistance over five years. Additional new investments in K-12 will support the hiring of school counselors and social workers, increased career and technical education opportunities, K-12 school construction and more. His proposal also includes $104 million in new investments for Arizona’s universities and community colleges.

Our recent poll results show that education remains the top issue among Arizona voters, and that teacher pay and lack of funding are the leading concerns. Governor Ducey’s budget proposal puts approximately 50 percent of all new spending in FY20 into K-12 and higher education, which is good for our students and our state. New investments each year, combined with meaningful policy conversations and a willingness to work together, will help us meet our shared statewide goals.

Education unlocks the potential of individuals and communities. The success of every student is vital to our state’s economic prosperity and civic health and everyone’s quality of life. We look forward to working with the Governor and state leaders to advance all of the investment priorities outlined in the Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding.

Join a majority of Arizonans who believe that education is their top priority.

The Arizona House and Senate will introduce budget bills of their own and negotiations with Governor Ducey will continue until a final budget is passed. Contact your elected leaders today to tell them how you feel about the budget proposal and urge them to prioritize education this legislative session.


Here are the highlights of the Governor’s budget proposal.



Child Care Subsidies – Last year’s federal budget increased funding to the Child Care Development Block Grant. Arizona’s share was $56 million, but the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) could not spend those dollars because the state’s budget did not include an expenditure authority to do so. Governor Ducey’s proposed FY20 budget does include the $56 million. The money will be added to the FY19 budget and carry forward into FY20 so that DES can begin spending the money now. Under his plan, 50 percent of the new funds will go toward increasing the average child care subsidy rate, affecting about 39,000 Arizona children. The average monthly child care subsidy rate will be increased by 16 percent at the Department of Child Safety and 17 percent at the Department of Economic Security. By upping the rates, Arizona’s maximum rate will now rank above neighboring states like Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. The remaining 50 percent of the funding will broaden the number of parents eligible to receive child care support, improving access to child care for the parents of an additional 5,100 Arizona children, which also allows these parents to work or advance their own education.


Teacher Pay Raises – Last year the Governor committed to a 20 percent pay raise over three years, which included advance appropriations for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The Governor followed through on this commitment and the FY20 budget proposal includes a teacher pay raise of 5 percent. The increase will again be added to the base per pupil funding and therefore protected for the future and subject to annual inflation adjustments. As was the case this past year, school district and charter governing boards will define who will receive raises, which means that teachers may receive different amounts.

District and Charter Additional Assistance – Last year, Governor Ducey committed to the full restoration of $352 million in district and charter additional assistance (DAA/CAA) over five years, beginning last year with a $100 million allocation. That $100 million stays in the base funding formula and this year’s budget proposal includes an additional $68 million. This funding restoration has the potential to free up dollars for school districts to support other priorities.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) – CTE programs enjoy broad support from educators, parents, and business leaders because they help students receive real-world training and prepare them for jobs. Governor Ducey’s proposal includes $10 million to strengthen CTE by providing a $1,000 incentive payment to schools for each high school graduate who earns an approved industry certification. For now, priority will be placed on schools that offer programming in Manufacturing, Business and Financial Services, Health Care and Construction.

Safe Arizona Schools – The budget proposal includes $6 million in FY20 to create a new school mental health support professionals grant program, with plans to double the size of the program in FY21. This grant funding is intended to be used to hire school counselors and social workers, which is a critical investment as Arizona’s current ratio of students to counselors is 903:1 and the recommended ratio is 250:1. In addition, $9 million is included to fund the backlog of requests for 89 additional school resource officers, as part of the School Resource Officers Grant Program.

Results-Based Funding $60 million to expand results-based funding, which awards Arizona’s highest performing schools based on the state’s A-F letter grade system. Under the plan, results-based funding will now be available to schools in high poverty areas that receive a “B” grade. Funding will be applied as follows:

  • $400 per pupil for A schools with 60 percent or greater free and reduced price lunch status
  • $225 per pupil for A schools with less than 60 percent free and reduced price lunch status
  • $225 per pupil for B schools with 60 percent or greater free and reduced price lunch status

Additional conversations are needed about opportunities to continue to reform the state’s letter grade system in order to reward both growth and proficiency and help address the opportunity gaps that impact student achievement gaps.

Funding for Charter School Transparency, Accountability and Oversight – The Governor’s budget proposal includes $786,000 for the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools to hire additional staff for charter school oversight

School Building Improvements – A total of $80 million is available for building renewal in FY20 (Includes $28 million in new funding for FY20 and $25 million in supplemental funding for FY19).

New School Construction – A total of $191 million is available for school construction in FY20. This funding will be targeted to specific school districts experiencing high levels of student growth, including Chandler, Douglas, Maricopa, Pima, Safford, Somerton, Laveen, Vail, Yuma Union and Sahuarita.


Teacher Recruitment – $21 million to expand the Arizona Teacher’s Academy. Academy eligibility will no longer be limited to education majors. Students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are also eligible. Students who participate may request tuition benefits for up to four years. The Academy will also provide students who agree to teach in a critical-need area and an annual stipend of $1,000. The program will now also be open to non-resident students and community college students in post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs.

Investments in Maricopa and Pima Community College Districts – The budget calls for $20 million to double the capacity of the Aviation Technology Center at Pima Community College to meet the growing workforce demands of the aerospace industry in Southern Arizona. It also includes $6 million to expand student capacity at Maricopa County Community College District’s healthcare professional training facility.

Investments in Arizona’s Public Universities – The budget proposal includes $35 million in one-time funding to support university operating and capital improvements and funding to hold the universities harmless from Health Insurance Trust Fund increases, including $10 million available immediately and another $20 million in FY20. This funding will be used by universities to help cover the cost of employee health care premiums.

Tuition Reimbursement – $1 million for National Guard tuition reimbursement for universities or community colleges.

Note: The state fiscal year (FY) runs from July 1 to June 30.

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