Poll Shows That Arizona Voters Want More Money Spent on Education

LBN’s Bob Donley reports that Arizona may be on the verge of spending more money on its schools for the first time in decades. A poll taken by the group Stand for Children indicates that “likely voters” now consider education to be the number one issue facing Arizona.

Donley points out that education is ranked ahead of border security and the economy for the first time in two years. And 61% of those who responded favor the plan put forth by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Donley notes that the number includes those who are just leaning in favor of Governor Ducey’s plan. Ducey wants the state to get money from its land trust to provide the more funding for schools (as previously reported by LBN). Once the schools are better funded, Ducey suggests, the state can look at reforming the system.

Governor Ducey proposes to spend about $2 billion over the next ten years on schools and to do it without raising taxes. Only 27% of the survey respondents were opposed to this approach. Arizona currently ranks 49th out of the 50 states when it comes to spending on education. “The state spends only $7,208 per student.” The national average is $10,700.

Donley says that a joint budget committee of the Arizona legislature analyzed the governor’s proposal and for the most part agreed with the numbers. The value of the trust will still increase despite a greater drawdown in funds. The only downside of the governor’s proposal is that the trust would increase by less than it otherwise would.

In order for all of this to happen, the legislature would need to approve placing the proposal on a ballot in 2016. Then, the voters could decide the issue.

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