Recently, Governor Ducey shared his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2015-2016. http://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/governor-doug-ducey-unveils-executive-budget. His proposed budget includes a significant decrease to public school funding, which has caused me, along with Superintendents around the state, great concern about the financial, staffing and programming stability of our districts.
While the Governor has talked about increasing funds to the classroom, his proposal reflects a $113 million decrease in public school funding. What he has proposed is a decrease in non-classroom funding, to give the appearance of a greater percentage of district funds in the classroom.
While I understand that the State budget is stressed, a decrease in funding to public schools reflects a lack of commitment to the future workforce of this state and to local communities. The latest estimates from the National Education Association shows that for the 2012-2013 school year, Arizona ranks LAST in per pupil spending. http://www.nea.org/home/rankings-and-estimates-2013-2014.html. A commitment to job growth in this State cannot occur without a commitment to public school education.
Discussions are underway at the State legislature, and the Gilbert community is represented by three key legislators that need to hear from you today. Call them or email them and share with them that cuts to our children’s education is non-negotiable and we are relying on them to represent our voice.
Gilbert Public Schools is already facing an $8 million dollar operating budget deficit next year. The Gilbert Board of Education met last week to discuss a strategy to protect the classroom, while addressing our $8 million deficit. If the Governor’s budget is approved, GPS would be forced to cut an additional $2 million – that is a $10 million decrease in operating dollars for next year.
What does that mean for Gilbert Public Schools? The district will need to look at taking drastic measures beyond our proposed cost reduction strategies, which could include reducing the number of employees, including classroom teachers; consolidating and closing schools; or reducing full day Kindergarten to half day.
Our schools are important to us and are vital to our community. Please reach out to your state legislators today and to the Governor’s office to let them know that you want them to protect our greatest assets – our children, our future.
Rep. Warren H. Petersen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Andy Biggs: email@example.com
Rep. Doug Coleman firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Javan D. Mesnard email@example.com
Sen. Steve Yarbrough firstname.lastname@example.org
State Superintendent: Diane Douglas: 602-542-5460 email@example.com
Thank you for your much needed support.
In an ongoing effort to share the details of the proposed stepless salary schedule transition, you are invited to attend any of the meetings noted below:
Wednesday, 3/18 from 4-5pm @ Mesquite
Jr High School Auditorium