(Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 12, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today brought attention to an issue in Gov. Ducey’s FY 2018 budget proposal that if left unchanged through the budget process would render the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) unable to issue payments to schools as early as July 1. Friday’s budget recommendation allocated zero dollars for the maintenance and support of ADE’s information technology systems, including those responsible for determining school enrollment numbers and payments, which will cripple its ability to calculate and distribute funding.
“I certainly appreciate that Governor Ducey has made education a top priority in his budget, and I was very pleased to see that many of the ideas he has included are similar to the proposals in my 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan,” said Superintendent Douglas. “Unfortunately, without any funding to support the data system that allows us to collect enrollment information from schools and calculate their allocations, we will soon be unable to process the payments that support Arizona schools, teachers, and students.”
ADE received $7.3 million in one-time dedicated IT funding for FY 2017. If no additional money is provided through this year’s budget process, ADE would be unable to pay for the basic software and network services required to operate the data system, much less support its continued development. The lack of funding also would have a devastating impact on over 150 applications used by schools and ADE employees to support students.
“I have every confidence that as a successful businessman the Governor will realize that this investment is critical to our state and our children and that he will work with the Legislature to ensure that our Department has the resources it needs to continue funding and serving our schools,” the Superintendent continued. “We cannot afford to jeopardize all of the work that has been done to create this state-of-the-art system, and we cannot leave our schools without the money they need to educate students.”
Realizing that ADE’s data system was at risk of going entirely unfunded without a new appropriation for FY 2018, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee also has identified the $7.3 million in one-time spending allocated in FY 2017 as a possible retention candidate in the FY 2018 budget.