By Darcy Mentone
Now that the very long 2019 Legislative Session has wrapped, up we know what school funding will look like next year. Arizona schools are still among of the lowest funded in the nation; however, things are starting to improve. This year’s budget included funding for:
- Teacher Pay Raises (part of the 20% by 2020 plan)
- District Additional Assistance (capital funding)
- Building Renewal (to repair school facilities)
- New School Construction (to build new schools in Arizona)
- Results Based Funding (highly controversial performance funding)
- Grant Money (to add counselors and school resource officers to schools)
- Career and Technical Education
One of the most exciting things, that happened this session, is that the law was changed so that Vail can continue to run (and get funding for) their early college.
This year, almost 50 Vail seniors attended school at Pima Community College. They were taking two classes from a Vail teacher, and spent the rest of their day as college students. Their college classes gave them both high school and college credit. Therefore, they graduated from high school this year and completed their freshman year of college. However, because of a glitch in the law, the state was not providing funding for these students and Vail would have had to shut down the program, had the law not been fixed.
Thanks to Senators Heather Carter and David Gowan, and Representatives Michelle Udall and Gail Griffin, the law was changed and the program will continue. This program is so promising that VUSD has been offered a grant to expand it to other Pima College campuses, so that students from other school districts can attend.
VPN hopes that this legislative session is a sign of things to come, and that education funding will continue to improve until schools and teachers have everything they need to teach and care for our children.