AZ K12 Funding


Arizona’s public school system is the worst-funded in the nation. This means Arizona children are not getting the quality education they deserve. 

Impact of Budget Cuts

Schools have been forced to slash budgets for teacher and staff salaries, programs, nurses, counselors, extracurriculars, advanced coursework, the arts, and more.

  • AZ ranks 49th in teacher salary

  • AZ is last in the nation in per-student spending

  • AZ spends $5900 less per child the national median

  • AZ classrooms are the 2nd most crowded in the nation

  • AZ K12 funding is extremely inequitable, and funding cuts hit children of color, students in poverty, and rural students the hardest

  • AZ does not fund full-day kindergarten; those funds have to be swept from elsewhere

Why are Arizona schools so underfunded?

The answer is less complex than you might imagine. 

In the early 1990s, the doctrine of shrinking state budgets began. 30 years later, Arizona doesn’t have the revenue it needs to fund public services, including schools, public safety, transportation, healthcare, and more. 

The problem was exacerbated by cuts made during the 2008 recession. Many of these cuts have not been restored. The burden of K12 funding has been placed on local taxpayers via property taxes, tax credits, PTO/PTA fundraising, and local bond and override elections. 

Our current state leaders refuse to champion funding for schools - even though they know that it is the number one economic driver for our state. 

When Governor Ducey campaigned for Governor in 2014, he opposed Proposition 204, which would have raised $1 billion per year for AZ schools. Since, he has lauded himself for modest investments that haven’t moved the needle, including 20x2020 teacher raises. Moreover, he’s fought every funding proposal that citizen groups have brought to the ballot, including voter-approved Proposition 208. 

The Arizona legislature makes the vast majority of decisions around education funding in our state. AZ legislative leadership has long favored budget cuts and tax credits for the wealthy over funding public services, and for the past decade has been guided by special interests intent on converting the public education system to a for-profit system. For this reason, the AZ state legislature has fought to pass ESA and STO private school voucher expansions year after year; now, these programs siphon $300 million from public schools every single year. Learn more about the harmful nature of private school vouchers here

In order to fix this classroom crisis once and for all, Arizona voters must elect pro-public education leaders who will prioritize funding our schools.