Biting op eds published by The Daily Independent and the Arizona Republic put the spotlight on Arizona lawmakers’ serious shortcomings in funding public schools. In 2017, the Center and co-counsel from Osborn Maledon sued the state on behalf of four school districts, three education organizations and a taxpayer to fix these inadequacies. In these articles, Mary O’Grady, Josh Bendor and ACLPI’s Danny Adelman explain why they had to sue and describe the many problems that still exist.
In another article from the Arizona Republic, “Arizona children sit in crumbling classrooms. Who is fixing them?” ACLPI’s Executive Director, Danny Adelman, provided insight to the issue, pointing out vast disparities between Arizona’s school districts.
These articles assert that the state had actually fixed many of these problems almost 25 years ago when it enacted legislation called Students FIRST to allocate money to critical infrastructure and other capital needs. However, the state has since broken the promise of Students FIRST and turned its back on Arizona’s public schools. This severe lack of funding has forced many districts to rely heavily on passing bonds and overrides. Students in lower-income districts or those with fewer voters willing to pass bonds were left behind.
These articles explain how the state:
- Ignored its statutory duty to inspect schools
- Cut funding for books, computers and buses
- Took away the money schools need to keep their facilities in good shape
- Stopped updating standards for facilities, security and technology
- Slashed funding for new school construction, even in districts well over capacity
Without Arizona’s governor and legislature taking concrete, meaningful steps to fix these problems, local taxpayers will be stuck footing the bill, students and teachers in districts without local funding will continue to be neglected, and the state will continue to violate its constitutional responsibilities to Arizona’s public schools. ACLPI’s attorneys have worked tirelessly over the years to restore this critical capital funding to maintain schools and keep kids safe.