Perfect storm may threaten public schools

Thomas photo med_2Perfect storm may threaten public schools

This opinion is my own and does not represent that of the Oracle school board.

The share of tax dollars that winds up in Arizona classrooms has slid to the lowest level in 12 years primarily because education funding has declined significantly. In fact, Arizona leads the nation in cuts to per-pupil spending from 2008 to 2012 – almost 22 percent.

In the Oracle School District, this includes no increase in base level amount, no excess utilities funding, no building renewal funding, capital fund reductions, and reductions to maintenance and operations funding. It also includes a one-time $300,000 sweep from our cash balance and the removal of funding for all-day kindergarten.

This, while state Sen. Al Melvin claims the Arizona Legislature has “moved heaven and earth” to ensure education is properly funded.

So far, we’ve made it work. But cash reserves are dwindling, and tough decisions loom. Now we have the unfunded mandate of implementing Common Core Standards, and the potential effect of sequestration. Is a perfect storm looming?

Linda Thomas

Oracle school board member, Oracle


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