Gilbert (Ariz.) Voters Have Health of Schools in Their Hands (Opinion)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

‘Slightly worse than Alabama.'

Anytime that phrase is connected to your state, you ought to be a little worried.

And so, when a new study ranked Arizona as the worst in the nation for cutting spending to education for the last five years, a 22 percent drop, I thought of the upcoming override election here in Gilbert.

Gilbert Unified School District, like all districts across the state, have seen the funding the Legislature provides drop considerably over the past four years. To a degree, that’s understandable, given the near-Depression recession we are slowly recovering from. Beyond that, Arizona’s been on a slow slide in funding over the past decades. In fact, according to a 2009 ASU study, education spending as a portion of the budget in Arizona has fallen from 69 percent in 1979 to 57 percent in 2009.

Of course, some of those cuts are understandable. After all, if the majority of a state’s budget is for education, and the state is suffering from the same recession as the rest of the country, the Legislature had to make some serious cuts.

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