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Arizona's next governor will need congressional OK to use state trust funds for schools, judge says

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled a state governor must get congressional approval before using financial trusts for school funds. 

Based on an Arizona law passed in 2000, school funding must increase to keep up with inflation. 

The Enabling Act that granted statehood to Arizona gave the state federal lands to hold as trusts for schools. 

But Gov. Doug Ducey initially tried to grant extra funding through Proposition 123 to provide $3.5 billion to schools over a 10-year period. That ends in 2025.

The ruling from the judge was preemptive as the governor attempted to provide the funding with trusts without congressional approval. That case was on its way to court before Congress acted and granted approval on the funding. 

After those funds run out in four years, it is estimated schools could lose more than $237 million annually.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.