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Researcher: Money Alone Won't Fix Arizona's Special Education Funding Gap

Arizona has an education funding problem, but it might not be exactly what came to your mind.

Funding for students with special education needs is allocated based on a formula that is decades old, and efforts to update it have fallen flat. The formula currently used was rolled out in the early 1980s, a time when students were more evenly distributed before school choice opened up other options. Lawmakers were given a chance to create a more modern system in the 2019 legislative session, but that effort died quietly despite widespread support.

Now, The Yellow Sheet Report reported this week that Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) intends to ask her fellow legislators to increase special education funding by $50 million in the 2020 session, but does that really get at the heart of the problem?

Anabel Aportela is the director of research for the Arizona School Boards Association, and she is intimately familiar with the complexities of the funding formula. She joined The Show to make sense of the complicated funding mechanism.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.