A settlement agreement to repay inflation dollars owed to schools and to increase K-12 funding will do little to improve the dire situation Arizona districts have been put in, TUSD’s superintendent said Friday.
“We urge lawmakers to fight for Arizona’s children and to stand up for adequate funding,” said Superintendent H.T Sanchez, who described the deal as “necessary housekeeping” at best.
“It does little to substantially change the fiscal conditions of our districts,” Sanchez said. “We hope this conversation opens the path to more effective, strategic and sustainable discussions for improving the vision and quality of education in our state and our district.”
For the Tucson Unified School District, the agreement would result in an increase of about $120 per student if voters pass all of the measures included.
Also not satisfied: Tucson mom and public education activist Jen Darland.
“Nobody should be allowed to take a victory lap on this and say ‘woo hoo, we’re done,’” Darland said. “The message has to be, this has been dealt with, though not satisfactorily, and with a number of concerns but we are far from being over with putting stable and sufficient funding within our programs.”
Among the concerns, according to Kent Barrabee, a member of the Arizona School Boards Association and Tucson’s Metropolitan Education Commission, are the various conditions written into the agreement allowing the state to reduce funding.
“There are so many outs,” Barrabee said. “To me, those are indications of a lack of support for maintaining support for education.”
The Metropolitan Education Commission is made up of education stakeholders from across the area including students, representatives appointed by the county Board of Supervisors and Tucson City Council, along with Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, among other organizations.
It works to identify issues of economic, political and social importance to education and to advocate for sound and wise educational policies, practices and legislation.
The Sunnyside Unified School District, the second-largest in Tucson behind TUSD, is working to determine the agreement’s specific budget implications.