AZ Senate is Session

In case you’d like to watch a rare session of the State Senate in action on Saturday, here is the link:

http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=5

Earlier today, the Arizona Education Association almost started a riot on the House side.

Apparently a slight nick of the education budget was too much for them to handle.

Straight from the Speaker of the House, here is what is really going on with education funding:

Putting things in perspective is important. Apparently the ARIZONA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION can’t seem to understand the mathematical reality of a 2% cut. And they wonder why math scores are struggling.


Comments

  1. Incidentally, going back to an earlier post, I believe that pro-more-funding advocates argued that the State of Arizona was spending $6,536 per student. Someone also mentioned that the average teacher take home was about $44,967. That means that each teacher would only need 6.87 students in the classroom to pay their salary. Given that there are about 27 students per class that means that the classroom should be receiving $176,472 in funding. And since we know that our schools are not one-room schools, there is a whole lotta money supposedly going to the schools. So we have to ask if the average classroom is getting $175,000 and the average teacher is getting paid $45,000, where is the remaining $130,000/classroom going??? Is my math off or do we have a huge question of where the money is being spent.

    Finally, we all should ask, “why do our NAEP scores remain flat?”

  2. DSW,
    I believe I already answered that. When excluding school construction and maintenance of construction debt, the breakdown according to the Arizona Auditor General:

    Classroom Instruction – 57.3%
    This includes salary and benefits, any teachers aides, substitute teachers, or guests. Also supplies, books, instructional aids. Field trips and co-curricular activities like choir and band.

    Nonclassroom
    Plant Operations 11.3%
    Administration 9.2%
    Student Support 7.4%
    Instruction Support 5.4%
    Food Service 4.8%
    Transportation 4.4%
    Other .2%

    The above information is assembled by the state auditor for the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Chair is Thayer Verschoor and vice-chair Judy Burges.

    I would also point out that Speaker Adams is not providing quite the correct information. The current planned reduction amounts to a 5.2% cut from general fund. It is also important to note that the current $240 million cut is on top of the $130 million mid-year from the current fiscal year.

  3. Speaking of being bad @ math. I was a delegate to the Arizona School Boards Association Delegate Assembly meeting today in PHX, which sets the ASBA political agenda for the next year. There were 96 delegates available. 90 had signed in, yet there were 98 people on the floor at the time of the credentials report. The credentials folks counted signatures and then counted heads. Access to the floor was only allowed after you had signed in and received “the badge”.

    45 minutes later…after multiple recounts…they finally had everyone stand up. Then they read off the names of those who had signed in…those folks sat down…leaving some very silly looking people who had not followed the proper procedures standing.

    All in all, it was a funny (in a sad way) moment that was not lost on many in the room.

    I was happy to vote no (although it didn’t make a difference in the outcome) on the “but we really need more money to properly teach the kids and the nasty legislature doesn’t like kids” items that were presented today.

    The most interesting one to me today was from the Legislative Action Agenda, Item #2, which was amended to read that the ASBA “promotes individual performance pay, including merit pay, which President Obama has championed in his education plan.”

    ASBA seemed to be appealing to the assumption that school board members might be more inclined to vote yes if they only knew that Obama supported it.

  4. DaveinPhoenix says

    No matter what the spending per pupil, the fact is that 40+% of my paycheck goes towards funding a public education system which has obviously failed miserably. I deeply resent wasting my hard earned money on this. That’s money I could have saved or invested towards MY future. Until education is looked at as a gift, a privilege, our future looks dim. I work with these kids every day – these are people who can’t spell the word “at”, don’t have a clue about basic mathematics, managing their own personal finances, or important life skills. It’s a parental problem, it’s generational. Productivity is slowed greatly spending time teaching these kids what their parents AND school systems failed so terribly at. But wasting any more taxpayer dollars on this failed system is not an option anymore – too many kids have already been sentenced to a lifetime of poverty as a result of this.

  5. DaveinPhoenix,
    I can agree that with you that our education system is in many areas doing a disservice to children and we need higher standards. My question to you would be how exactly do we achieve this?

    I would also add that I would be angry if 40%+ of may paycheck was going towards the public education system, but the fact is nowhere near that amount is coming from individual paychecks. The top state income tax bracket for income of $300K and above is 4.54%. If one includes sales taxes and property taxes even the amount is still low. And this it for all state and local functions, not just education.

  6. DaveinPhoenix says

    Typing before thinking is not suggested…

    I was attempting to personalize the fact that 40+% of state budgets go towards K-12 public education. Last year I earned just over 30K and paid the state a little over $800 in taxes. So, about $320 of my hard earned pay went towards Arizona K-12 public education. In my view, I’d have enjoyed wasting this money better by tossing it out the window and watching the homeless guys around town scamper around for it.

    Ideas ? I’d like to see school district funding tied to performance. I’d like to see a paid tuition system giving parents a voucher for the cost of educating their child in their area: the parents get their choice – public, or private schooling. I’d like to see no more promoting kids to the next grade until they pass a standard test. I’d like to see school funding going directly towards education rather than increasing superintendent salaries and perks. I’d like to see many of the successful reforms from other states undertaken here in Arizona which would break the monopoly that the teachers unions have on our kids. And I’d like to see politicians have the backbone to stand up and debate the special interest groups who hold the future of our kids lives in their hands. I’m no expert, but all this takes is a willingness to try other options.

  7. LiberalWatcher says

    I’d say kudos to the Teachers’ union and the Dems with a home run on stirring up the emotion.
    Gotta remember, Joe Average Republican sends his kid to public school and the first source of info, like it or not, is the teachers and the local PTA (which are mostly mentally bought into the teachers). They hear that the Legislature is a whacking their kids education.
    Now, I send my kids to a private Christian school and it costs me $4700 a year per kid, for which I get all the teachers with masters and a classroom aid with a bachelors – so the class size is about 35, but I really have two teachers per class, so that’s what – 17.5 class size.
    I am paying less and getting more.
    The problem rests with the local school boards. Some of them squeeze the dickens out of the money turnip and deliver a bang for the buck, the really large districts – the same ones with the teachers unions – are the money sucking machines.
    Remember all those education rallies at the Capitol – the vast majority of the crowds came from the really big districts here in Phoenix – the ones with the really big teacher union contracts. Go figure.
    I’m trying to work past the hype.
    I drive past schools with the digital billboards on all night and day, even though school is closed. We build schools with more carpeting than I have in all the houses I’ve owned and we wonder why the bills are high?
    What we are not seeing is Legislation to incentivize the school districts to be better at the bucks.
    Oh, and all those teacher layoffs – the dear AzCentral clone Az Repbulic has reported in a few articles that many of those “laid off” teachers are now being recalled, but funny how five TV stations, Horizon and the paper just seem to not get that story as much play as the other hype.
    I’m all for giving the AEA some advertising award – by gosh, they’ve pulled off a great play. And I also recognize that most of the people playing with our money in the Legislature don’t have a college degree or didn’t finish one.
    I’m sick the hype, but that’s our system. What is painfully true here is that Krystin Sinema and the teacher’s union are having a good run on public opinion and the Republicans are not doing much to defend themselves – so you lose what you fail to defend. Just another disappointment in the Guv and the Rep Party machine. If it keeps up, we should just ask Terry to come on down now, because we won’t have a leg to stand on with the voters – especially after asking them for more taxes.

  8. LiberalWatcher,
    Actually the larger districts are more efficient in their use of money and have a higher percentage of money going to the classroom than small districts.

  9. kralmajales says

    Todd,

    Keep fighting the good fight. You dismiss their arguments with facts. Much appreciated.

    On the post, “a slight nick”? What the hell are talking about? It is a massive cut and is a cut from a base that was already (as Todd shows well) one of the lowest spending levels of ANY state on education.

    Admit it, you don’t care because most of you would rather spend tht extra 50-100 bucks you’d pay on beer, blooming onions, or god knows what that doesn’t contribute a squat to our society.

    Last, much of the funding, if not most, comes from property taxes, which by the way are among the lowest in the nation also. Your party wants to cut that too…and has…all so that education gets blistered again.

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