Superintendent Hoffman asks, “When will be the right time to fund education?”
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today issued the following statement regarding the fiscal year 2020 state budget:
“This year, the state made some movements in the right direction by funding several K-12 education initiatives, including giving schools more money to spend on new counselors, the next installment of the promised 20×2020 teacher raises, and increased funding to address our teacher shortage by training the next generation of educators. However, it is disheartening to see another tax cut of nearly $400 million when Arizona’s education spending remains among the lowest in the nation.
“While the department received critical funds needed to begin upgrading our school finance payment system, currently running on outdated 1990’s technology, many of our budget requests were not granted. We were not given the spending authority for anywhere close to what is needed to manage the ESA program effectively and efficiently. This money would have directly supported ESA families with improved customer service, as well as helped us provide a smooth transition to our new ESA payment system. This new payment system will make it easier for families to appropriately spend their funds and cut back on cumbersome processes which currently leave too much room for error or misspending to occur. Another statutorily mandated program, the Office of Indian Education, also remains unfunded. Additionally, this budget places a strain on available federal matching funds to support Adult Education programs, money which would have directly prepared individuals for the workforce.
“I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel the state, meeting with countless administrators, teachers, and students. These visits have made clear to me that we must return to pre-recession funding levels, with a sustainable, dedicated revenue source. Next session, I look forward to fighting for this as well as for increased special education funding. I will also continue to advocate for more money to support the paraprofessionals and other school employees who play a vital role in educating our students.
“All students deserve access to a high-quality public education – no matter their zip code or their background. If the state cannot bring itself to fully fund education during a year with a massive budget surplus, when will it do so? We must find the collective will to make this happen. Our future depends on it.”
WHO: Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas
WHAT: Statewide Broadband Sign-Up Day in Flagstaff
WHERE: Family Resource Center at Flagstaff Unified School District (4000 N. Cummings St, Flagstaff, AZ)
WHEN: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday, January 11
WHY: Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas will visit the Statewide Broadband Sign-Up Day in Flagstaff, one-stop-shop opportunity for schools throughout the state to learn how to take advantage of the Arizona Broadband Initiative for Education funding, as well as help them file all of their paperwork in one day.
DETAILS: The morning session will focus on training the schools on improving their broadband connections and utilizing the grant, while the afternoon will target the Form 470/RFP posting process for receiving funds.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced last week that she will host the first of at least two free statewide sign-up days for broadband access in Sierra Vista on Thursday, December 7.
“The Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity for all schools in Arizona to sign up to upgrade to high-speed internet service at little or no cost,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Since the deadline to apply for these special funds closes in early 2018, we created one-stop-shop opportunities for schools throughout the state to learn how to take advantage of the funding, as well as help them get all of their paperwork filed in one day.”
As one of only 18 states that have millions of dollars available for this opportunity, this initiative provides K-12 schools and libraries in rural areas with the opportunity to upgrade their Internet, which may currently be slow or non-existent. Upgrading K-12 schools and libraries to high-speed broadband opens the door for teachers to utilize innovative digital learning in their classrooms. It also creates community anchor institutions, paving the way for Arizonans to access to telemedicine, online occupational and speech therapy, as well as distance learning. In order to make it easy for schools to take advantage of this program, the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative – in conjunction with Superintendent Douglas, as well as Cochise County Superintendent Jacqui Clay and Coconino County Superintendent Risha VanderWey – are hosting two sign-up days at no cost to the schools.
The first event will take place in southern Arizona from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on December 7, 2017 in Cochise County at 901 North Colombo Ave, Sierra Vista, AZ. The second sign-up day will take place in northern Arizona from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on January 11, 2018 in Coconino County at 4000 North Cummings St, Flagstaff, AZ.
Both events will feature a team of broadband experts, including representatives from our partner non-profit EducationSuperHighway, who will provide tips, best practices and hands-on support for schools looking to upgrade their services, as well as assist applicants through the entire upgrade process. Superintendent Douglas, as well as the respective county superintendent at each event, will be on hand to show their unwavering support for closing the connectivity gap.
Schools interested in attending either event should email State E-Rate Controller Milan Eaton [email protected], while press inquiries can be directed to the press contact listed above.
Posted in Hot Topics, Press Releases
Tagged Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative, Arizona Department of Education, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, broadband sign-up days, Cochise County, Coconino County, Diane Douglas, E-Rate, Erate, Jacqui Clay, Risha VanderWey, Superintendent Douglas