The nation’s public schools are crumbling, including those in Arizona. The Center’s Executive Director Danny Adelman provided insights into the widespread repercussions of poor infrastructure in a recent report by The 74 Million, a nonprofit, non-partisan news site covering education in America. The article points out that Arizona has slashed capital funding for schools by over $5 billion since 2009. Even as the economy has recovered from the Great Recession, school funding in Arizona and other states has not caught up.
“Some districts [in Arizona] lost 80 to 90 percent of their state funding for school facilities and other capital items like technology, school buses and textbooks,” Adelman says in the article.
Many of Arizona’s school districts now must rely on local tax bonds to maintain infrastructure and provide needed equipment. This system creates inequities as lower-income areas may not be able to raise needed funds. Low-property-wealth school districts have fewer resources, including a lack of computers, outdated air conditioning and older, unsafe buildings.
“It creates huge disparities,” Adelman says in the article. “When you can’t pass local bonds and overrides, you are left behind.”
To pressure the state to restore needed capital funding for schools, Adelman is representing four school districts, the Arizona School Board Association, the Arizona Education Association, Arizona School Administrators and a local taxpayer in the lawsuit Glendale Elementary School District vs. The State of Arizona. Funding is not only insufficient, Adelman argues, but also creates an unconstitutional system that creates massive disparities in Arizona’s public schools.
The Center is deeply involved in litigation to secure funding for the state’s public schools.