General fund, revenues and school finance
Investing in education is an investment in both the present and the future. The return on that investment is the foundation for economic growth. Arizona cannot continue to depend on the importation of talent to meet our goals for economic success; we must grow our own.
Policy makers, educators, citizens, and business leaders must hold each other jointly accountable for improvements in the financial and academic condition of our schools by working proactively to create long-term funding that supports long-term investment in Arizona and its future.
Budgeting for Arizona's general fund will require difficult decisions. A budget is a statement of priorities and Arizona's top priority should be the education of its children to ensure the quality of the future workforce and citizens of the state. Arizona's education budget must fund enrollment growth and inflation in order to promote continuous improvement and quality.
An adequate school funding formula is one that includes all of the funds a local educational agency needs to cover all of its costs and is flexible enough to allow for the funding of new costs as they arise. Teachers, schools, and school administration are held increasingly accountable for student achievement through state and federal laws. Funding for schools must be adequate to meet the standards to which Arizona's schools are held accountable, and increased where necessary to cover gaps in the existing funding formula. Arizona's school funding formula is two decades old and badly in need of revision. Educators must continue to seek efficiencies to target as much funding as possible toward student achievement.
ABEC believes that revenues used to fund schools should be raised in an equitable manner among all taxpayers, and not place an undue burden on any one community or constituency.
ABEC also believes that quality learning cannot occur without quality facilities. Significant work remains to be done to create a sustainable framework for school capital finance.