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Ducey Proposes Plan To Close Recession-Era Education Funding Deficits

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has revealed more details about public school funding in next year’s state budget proposal. The governor’s plan includes $400 million of additional K-12 funding.

Ducey also revealed a longer term plan to restore recession-era cuts to capital needs funding. The first installment would phase in next year with $100 million allocated to capital. More than $1 billion will then be rolled in gradually over the next five years.

"I want to amplify that these dollars are permanent," explained Ducey. "They are flexible. They can be used for both capital and for teachers' salaries."

The plan comes nearly a year after a coalition of educators and advocates filed suit against the state to adequately fund capital formulas. Plaintiffs in the case, including the Arizona School Boards Association, say they’re optimistic about the move but add they’ll move forward with the lawsuit until school boards indicate the new plan meets their needs.

But other education advocates say it’s still not enough.

"That is not new money," said Dawn Penich-Thacker with Save Our Schools Arizona. "It is simply paying back a portion of what was taken out of the budget a decade ago. So paying someone back is not leadership."

Ducey’s budget proposal must be approved by the Legislature before it can take effect in fiscal year 2019.

Capitol Media Services contributed to this report.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.