PHOENIX – Today, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman delivered her second "State of Special Education" address to the House Education Committee.
Superintendent Hoffman’s address focused on the effects the pandemic has had on Arizona students, particularly students within special education. For many special education students, schools offer more than academics – providing essential wraparound services to support students' growth and success. As more students begin to return to in-person learning, some will need additional targeted supports to meet critical pieces of their individualized education plans. Superintendent Hoffman announced that the Arizona Department of Education would provide $5 million in CARES Act funding for compensatory services to help schools meet these needs.
Superintendent Hoffman also called on state leaders to continue taking COVID-19, its variants, and the vaccine rollout seriously so students can return to the classroom safely. "Our students are at the end of every public health decision," she said. Additionally, she called for predictable, stable funding for public schools and additional investments in special education funds – calling on lawmakers to support SB 1189, a bill that would allocate $5 million to the Extraordinary Special Education Needs Fund. She also urged lawmakers to continue to support HB 2015, which will provide funding for pre-k programs, a critical need for all students, particularly students receiving special education services.
"With a 1-billion-dollar rainy day fund and a projected 2-billion-dollar surplus, our state has a duty to support students of all backgrounds, abilities, and experiences to learn, grow, and succeed," said Superintendent Hoffman.
A full transcript of Superintendent Hoffman’s address can be found here.