Ducey Unveils Optimistic Fiscal 2019 Budget With Emphasis On School Spending

Fletcher Montzingo, budget manager for the Arizona Governor’s Office, said the fiscal 2019 budget will help establish a division to tackle abuse and trafficking of prescription drugs. (Photo by Daria Kadovik/Cronkite News)

By Lerman Montoya

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office released his proposed fiscal 2019 budget on Friday with hopes the state will return to pre-recession spending. His focus: K-12 education.

State officials highlighted that the record $10.1 billion budget would allocate 80 percent of new spending to K-12 education.

“My budget will include a full commitment to accelerate the state’s K-12 investment and restore long-standing cuts from the recession,” Ducey said at his State of the State Address earlier this month.

In fiscal 2016, the state’s school districts spent about $3,300 less per pupil than the 2014 national average, the most recent national data available, according to a report by the Arizona Auditor General.

Matthew Gress, the director of the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, unveiled the budget, which includes $300 million more in spending over the current budget. He specified that the proposed budget would allocate $100 million for K-12 education.

“K-12 education is the most important part of Doug Ducey’s responsibility as governor and is his No. 1 priority,” Gress said.

Stephanie Parra, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Education Association, said the governor’s proposal is a step in the right direction, but the state needs to do more.

“We appreciate the additional assistance that the $100 million for K-12 education will offer,” Parra said. “While he is making a difference, we are still in $1 billion in deficits since the (Great) Recession.”

Gress said the governor’s proposed budget also prioritizes addressing other state issues, such as wrong-way drivers, opioid addiction, prison recidivism and the lack of funding for the three public state universities and prison recidivism. The proposal includes $15.8 million in funding for adoptions and more money to hire state troopers to patrol border areas in Southern Arizona.

David Garcia, a Democratic candidate for governor, said he’s skeptical of Ducey’s plan.

“Doug Ducey is taking us back to before the recession hit,” Garcia said. “We have seen these proposals from his office, and they don’t come through.”

The budget proposal indicated that a “a combination of prudent belt-tightening initiatives and steadily growing revenues” will allow for the state to increase it spending and balance the budget.

The state Legislature will approve a budget for the new fiscal year, which starts July 1, and send it to the governor.

3 Comments on "Ducey Unveils Optimistic Fiscal 2019 Budget With Emphasis On School Spending"

  1. Ducey needs to teach in any Arizona public school for one year, not as a privileged guest teacher because he’s the Governor, but by the same requirements as any AZ public school teacher. That means go to all of the teachers’ meetings, write lesson plans according to the latest educational guru’s standards or those of the useless site administrators, teach five classes daily with one planning period during which he must substitute at least twice per week for other absent teachers, grade student papers, follow the district’s discipline procedures with no exceptions because he’s the Governor, go to all Parents Nights, fill in all of the computerized Bravo Sierra on the Danielson Evaluation system or whatever the latest evaluation system the district is using, do all of the work himself without a teacher’s aide or help from his gubernatorial staff, take work home, get constantly “hawked over” by daily visits from worthless site administrators, get paid a beginning salary of $25,000.00, pay union dues and all of his bills with that. If Ducey survived all of those challenges, he would have a better idea of what is needed to improve education in Arizona public schools. However, we all know neither he nor any other elected official is going to do that because it’s easier to throw money at the problem than to investigate it fully and affect viable change in education.

  2. I’ve seen some stories on spending for AHCCCS – so is it more or less than what is being spent now?

  3. No matter if some one searches for his essential thing, so he/she needs to be available that in detail,
    so that thing is maintained over here.

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