AZ Gov Ducey — Koch bros. acolyte — slashes school and university budgets

by Félix Pérez (image of Gov. Ducey courtesy of Gage Skidmore)

Already-reeling Arizona public schools will have to make do with even less, despite the heated objections and protests of educators, parents, students and residents. Passed in the middle of the night without any opportunity for public debate, the budget, assembled by Gov. Doug Ducey and signed last week, also eliminates all funding for the state’s three largest community college districts while imposing deep cuts on public universities.

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“Arizona is already last in the nation in per-pupil spending; this budget will keep our children at the bottom unless voters take action,” said Tucson high school English teacher and president of the Arizona Education Association Andrew Morrill. “This budget ignores the priorities of our citizens and shows no respect for the majority of parents.”

The $9.1 billion budget slashes $113.4 million from classroom materials, technology, building repairs, and more, representing an overall loss of $352.4 million to school districts when combined with the prior year’s cuts (for a reduction of more an 83 percent). The loss amounts to approximately $135 per student.

The final deal also cuts $15.6 million from Pima and Maricopa college districts and Central Arizona College — eliminating all state funding. State universities also came under the knife, losing $104 million, or 14 percent of their state support.

Prior to this budget, Arizona legislators had cut education funding by $1 billion over the last five years.

“Education is not something extra. It’s like water. It’s not something we can do without. I’ve been in education for 40 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I have never seen anything like this,” Michael Cady, a retired teacher, told The Arizona Republic.

Touted by Ducey and his allies in the legislature as a lean blueprint consistent with the state’s resources and needs,the budget nevertheless includes funding increases for private, for-profit prisons, $267 million in corporate tax giveaways, $500,000 to Teach for America, and more than $100 million for a corporate tuition tax credit program for private school vouchers. Ducey was elected to office last November thanks in large measure to financial support from the Koch brothers’ political network.

Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance, reacted to Ducey’s budget this way:

Governor Ducey keeps churning out press statements bragging about his focus on education and pretending that money appropriated to pay for more students and higher costs counts as a new investment. But Arizonans know better. The college students, parents, grandparents, foster parents, and children marching at the Capitol and speaking up on social media have not been fooled. We see the lists of cuts in the budget that will truly shape the school days of our next generation – larger class sizes, growing teacher shortages, less technology, weaker infrastructure, fewer options for preschool and after school education.

An editorial in The State Press, Arizona State University’s student newspaper, took Ducey to task over his priorities. “Ducey and Arizona Republicans have made an all but official declaration that the education of future generations is less important than the feelings of millionaires on tax day.”

18 responses to “AZ Gov Ducey — Koch bros. acolyte — slashes school and university budgets

  1. The real question is where are the “millinials”? This state and country is declining as Lee Atwater designed. As Reagan’s Campaign manager in his Southern Strategy. A hope maybe in holding a spot light on the SCOTUS for the 2020 US Census, but there is no assurance Mexican Americans will vote, regardless of political affiliation. The under 30’s must step up every election or see this country slide into fascism, which it appears it is well on the way. Posting here will not help, post on Brietbart and the other NeoCon sites where the WWIIers read. Do the know their grandchildren in AZ are funded at a lower per-student-per-cap in the entire union? Maybe, but maybe not as well.

    1. Funny! The Dems have Controlled the public schools for Decades, and have run education into the ground. Big fancy buildings, 10K smart boards and high Admin. costs do not make children smart or successful. Charter schools have better results, well in Texas public schools are amazing but we are not Texas are we? Politicians spend taxpayers money like it grows on trees and we are on the cliff of debt ready to fall into another Great Depression! Your beloved George Soros is warning of a collapse, will you even listen to him?
      Do you Libs ever actually research what’s going on or do you just get all of your ideas and thoughts from the liberal controlled media? Do you want AZ to be Detroit, San Bernadino, California or any city/ state in America on the verge of Bankruptcy?
      Let’s see if we can cut back on excess and put the $ elsewhere. The foster care system is hurting, job stimulation is needed. Education is nothing without a healthy economy, no one works, no one spends.
      Do you realize the UN wants to tax us in the area of $800 million dollars, for third world countries, for wealth redistribution. I guess all of you commenting are as disgustingly rich as George Soros so you can afford to save the rest of the world while tanking your own economy….??

  2. I warned everyone I knew going to The Polls in Arizona, that if he was to be elected our Governor that we would get Stone Cold Creamed. He took it even farther and Melted us. Hopefully next time the Voters go back to school and become educated. God help us all….. every Arizonian and American.

  3. What’s happening in Arizona, has also happened in Wisconsin under Gov.Walker. Whatever you do, do NOT get pulled in by Walker…. he’s a ‘Bait & Switch’ politician running for the Presidency…. can you imagine this? So sorry this is also happening in your state…..VOTING IS THE KEY!!

  4. I am a veteran public school teacher who has been in the middle of this mess for years! The cuts actually started during the 1990s. When we contacted our state leaders to ask for reinstatement of our materials and supplies funding, we were called “those whining teachers” and told to “have the kids write on sidewalks with chalk” and rudely dismissed. As a result, many teachers have (for years) purchased their own supplies (with no reimbursement) at the before-school sales so that their students would actually have pencils and crayons to use. Since then, class sizes have grown, important programs have been slashed, and teachers are hanging on by a fingernail. New teachers cannot make it on a teacher’s salary and we often have to buy lunch for them or give them gas money so they can actually get to work. We have already lost many of our best and brightest teachers who have either moved to another state or changed professions altogether. One teacher I know (with a Masters Degree and ten years of experience) actually makes more as an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant. Now that this new budget is in the works many, many others have said that they are leaving after this year. They feel there is no respect and/or support for teachers and education in this state. There seems to be a teacher shortage now. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s time that every single Arizona citizen and every single Arizona business leader lets our leadership know that education should be a priority. After all, these precious children are Arizona’s future!

    1. As an Arizonan passionate in equal education as a right for all, please stop bashing and generalizing Arizona as a whole. The two most populous counties in Arizona (Maricopa and Pima) did not vote Ducey into office. He was largely supported by the rest of counties, a make-up of rural, and mainly Republican, communities. Unfortunately, these folks are also some of the most ill-informed. What’s even sadder is that those rural schools and students will suffer the most from these budget cuts.

      1. I had to fact check your comments. Governor Ducey won Maricopa County. In fact he won all, but four AZ counties.

        Arizona has elected a republican led legislature for 51 years. We get what we deserve. We have some of the lowest educated, single issue voters in the nation.

  5. This pattern of idiocy is happening all over the country. ISIS is a minor problem compared to this effort to destroy the US from within.

  6. Bottom line is our local, state and national financial resources have an upper limit. We cannot keep on spending more than we take in. Cuts have to be made and those on the receiving end of those cuts always believe it to be done unfairly.

    1. Well there is money but they spend it on people who give them kick backs. They give tax cuts to multi-millionaires. Greedy people are not satisfied with what they have, they want it all at the expense of the people.

    2. We can raise revenue and invest in our children and our future. Invest in education, roads and bridges. Or we can continue to cut cut cut and spend money on prisons. When people drop out of school, you greatly increase the chances of them going to prison and/or needing public assistance.


    3. We have been doing the same thing for years and years and it is not working at all. Yes we do have a limit. So why are we giving unprecedented cuts to the wealthy? Why is he building more charter schools? Why is he draining money from the regular public schools and giving it to charter schools (they did get some cuts but not like the regular public schools) and private prisons? We have one of the largest debts in the nation and the smallest amount (We are #50) of money spent on education. We have had a Republican controlled legislature since the early 1980’s( and don’t mention Napolitano.. she had an almost complete red congress). Why does anyone want to keep lining the pockets of for profit prisons and schools? It isn’t working. The debt lies squarely in the laps of the Republicans and at the cost of education and children. What is wrong with this picture? And you support this?

  7. Anything goes in AZ.The idiots here voted him in. Sheep in over 55 houses believing Fox News, younger people believing obamacare caused people to lose jobs when the people who lost them were incompetent. But you forget we have to keep the kids stupid, that is the only way that people like Ducey, the Kock opps I meant Koch brothers can keep us an oligarchy. Democracy is lost to us.
    thanks to the republicans. Sad day, year, years to come in America and people believe it is because of one “black man” who has tried to do his best under an ineffective Congress, useless millionaires.

    1. I agree with you but the sad news is it lies in the laps of the Democrats also. I heard a very low number of Democrats voted. I could scream.

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