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What Arizona's New Budget Means For State Education And Other Issues

Published: Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 4:02pm
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State lawmakers are expected to start debating the new budget Thursday afternoon. Details started emerging yesterday about a deal reached between Governor Doug Ducey and GOP legislative leaders.

One of the biggest differences is the amount the new proposal would cut from the state’s universities. Ducey’s plan would have slashed $75 million, the new proposal increases that cut to $104 million. Mark Killian, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents and former speaker of the Arizona House, said he’s upset with the expanded cuts.

Some of the state’s community colleges would also face bigger cuts under the budget lawmakers are taking up. Maricopa, Pima and Pinal community colleges would lose all state support. Rufus Glasper is Chancellor of the Maricopa Community College district. He said if lawmakers were going to cut more, district officials figured they might just zero out funding altogether.

The news in the new budget proposal is better for K-12 education, which would see smaller cuts than under the plan released by Governor Ducey in January. But students, parents and educators are still planning a rally this afternoon at the capitol. For more on what the proposal would mean for schools, we turn to Bobette Sylvester, the Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services with Mesa Public Schools.

Governor Ducey’s proposed budget called for a 3,000-bed expansion for private prisons. Negotiations with legislative leaders have dropped that to 1,000 private beds and counties will have the chance to bid for what remains. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said he’s pleased.

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