Horne urges lawmakers to waive school spending limit, avoid major budget cuts
A House subcommittee held a hearing Thursday to review the state’s Aggregate Expenditure Limit, known as the AEL. The AEL puts a cap on how much school districts can spend each year.
The Legislature made historic investments in public schools last summer, but districts can’t use those funds until the spending cap is waived.
Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne told the subcommittee that if schools have to cut those funds from their budgets, there will be major repercussions.
“The great bulk of the budget of a school district is personnel," Horne said. "So we would be talking about massive layoffs of teachers and the one third of teachers who are left, unable to handle the number of students that parents had sent to be educated. It would be an incredible disaster.”
Sandra Christensen is on the Paradise Valley School District Governing Board. She said without those funds, her district would not be able to operate past April.
“The consequences of raising the Aggregate Expenditure Limit for this school year pale in comparison to the damage it will cause our students and educators if another shutdown occurs," she said.
Republican Rep. David Cook has introduced a resolution to override the limit by a March 1 deadline.
That’s expected to be heard at a meeting of the House Education Committee on Tuesday.