Arizona Senate votes to waive cap on school spending, averts school shutdown

The Arizona Senate voted on Monday to waive the constitutional cap on school funding, narrowly avoiding a state-wide school and daycare shutdown due to lack of funds.

The 23-6 Senate vote allows the state’s schools to spend $1.154 billion in state funding that was appropriated in 2021, and would have put the school’s spending budget over the constitutional limit.

If the vote had gone the other way, Arizona schools would have reached their spending limit on March 1, which would have prompted layoffs, closures, and other money-saving measures that may have been detrimental to students.

Republican Senate President Karen Fann told the Associated Press,  “There’s one thing we can all agree on regardless of which side of the aisle we are,” she said. “We love our kids, and our kids come first. We just need to figure out how to make that work for all the adults.”

Some of her GOP colleagues did not agree, including Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who railed against the measure. “So here we are, feeding the beast, more money, more money, in my opinion capitulating to the educational terrorists who have held our kids hostage,” said said. 

Fann and other lawmakers are pushing for a change to a 1980 law that aimed to curb government spending, and requires the yearly school budget to be calculated based on the previous years’ attendance rates. The last two years have been a poor measure of attendance as parents nationwide pulled their kids out of school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“When this was set in 1980 we didn’t have Chrome tablets or whiteboards or any of the stuff that we have now that teaches our kids,” Fann said. “Back then in ’80 we had schoolbooks and chalkboards and all kinds of things that didn’t cost near as much.”




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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