Friday, April 1, 2011

No April Fool's Day Joke: House and Senate Approve Deep Cuts to Education

Arizona Education Network Newsletter ~ Friday, April 1, 2011

We wish we could tell you this is an April Fool's joke, but it's not.

The House and Senate today passed a budget that eliminates $183.2 million from K-12 and $270.8 million from universities and community colleges for a total of $454 million in cuts to education in Arizona. The budget was a compromise negotiated between Gov. Brewer and the Legislature. Brewer did not keep her commitment to hold the line on education cuts --agreeing to $115 million more in cuts than she proposed in her budget.

In addition, the House passed SB1614, which effectively cuts teacher salaries by requiring teachers to pay more into their pension plans. Previously, the teachers and districts split those payments 50/50. Now, teachers must pay 53 percent. District savings will be offset by a reduction in the aid received by the district--amounting to additional cuts by the state.

Read more here.

Former Intel CEO warns lawmakers that education cuts will harm AZ's economy

Just days before the cuts, former Intel CEO Craig Barrett told Brewer and legislators that Arizona's low level of investment in education is damaging the state's economy. Barrett said that if Intel was relocating now, Arizona would not even be in the top 10 states considered.

"Quality education is extremely important to a place like Intel," Barrett said. "(The) education cutbacks don't bode well for that." To attract "those high-paying jobs - the jobs that pay two to three times the average - look for your educational infrastructure to be the key," he said.

Read more here.
Arizona Education Network Press Release on Education Cuts

Governor Brewer yesterday showed complete disregard for our state's faltering economy when she failed to defend public education funding as she had promised she would.

On Tuesday, former Intel CEO Craig Barrett, warned legislators that Arizona will not be able to attract good -paying jobs without investing in education. He warned that Arizona's "education cutbacks don't bode well for that."

Yet, the House, in the dead of night --after striking a compromise with Brewer and the Senate - the House pushed through $454 million in cuts to education funding. They also cut teacher salaries by increasing the amount teachers must pay into their pension plans.

Schools across the state had been planning their budgets for next year based on Brewer's proposed budget. But her failure to stick up for her own plan is now going to push school districts, our community colleges and universities into last-minute, emergency plans based on much deeper cuts than expected for the coming school year.

Not only will the budget cuts damage the state's economy in the long-term, there will also be short-term hits as schools, colleges and universities eliminate thousands of jobs.
To read the full press release click here.