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Superintendent Candidates Face Off In Debate

Candidates for Superintendent of public schools had their first televised debate Thursday night. The two candidates disagree on Common Core and school funding.

Republican candidate Diane Douglas beat out incumbent John Huppenthal in the August Primary election. 

“I’m against common core for many reasons, Douglas said.

She said she wants local control over K-12 education.

"Number one it’s not going to prepare our children the way it needs to," she said. "It’s untested, unproven; it hasn’t been shown to be internationally bench-marked.”

Douglas has not offered an alternative plan.

Democratic candidate David Garcia said standardized tests should be a part of student and teacher evaluation but not the whole picture.

He said there are other more pressing issues facing the state’s public education system.

“We’ve got funding that needs to be restored, we have teacher positions that aren’t being filled, and we have huge achievement gaps and outcome issues that need to be addressed,” Garcia said.

Garcia said he will continue to fight the legislature to pay public schools the money they are owed.

During the recession the Arizona legislature didn’t increase school funding as much as a voter-approved funding formula dictated and ended up shorting the schools more than $1 billion.

Douglas says she wants the state to revamp the entire education funding system.

Alexandra Olgin was a Senior Field Correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2016.