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Auditor General's Office: More Money Being Put Into Arizona Classrooms

More money is being put into classrooms, according to new figures released Thursday from the Auditor General’s Office. But the state continues to spend less on its students than the national average.

The report shows almost 53.8 cents of every dollar was spent this past school year statewide, compared to 53.5 cents for the previous year. This is the first increase in 13 years.

Despite that, Arizona spends far less on its students than the national average. Part of the reason, school officials said, is that there are fixed costs that they have no control over like utilities.

Christine Medrano is with the Auditor General’s office. She says it’s not that simple. "I do agree that they may not have a say into what rate they are going to be charged. But they can do things, for example energy conservation, to control the amount of energy that they're using," Medrano said.

Medrano said there are examples of efficient districts in the report.

Earlier this year, Gov. Doug Ducey announced a plan to restore full funding for the “district additional assistance'” account, which funds textbooks, computers, school buses and some capital needs. To date the Legislature has not acted on that proposal.

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.