By: Hank Stephenson October 26, 2015, 4:00 pm

 Details emerge on K-12 settlement deal

According to multiple sources briefed on the matter, the deal that Gov. Doug Ducey, legislative Republican leaders and school groups have reached to end a years-long lawsuit over education funding has five essential components:

-Resetting the K-12 base level funding.

-Modifying how much inflation money is paid each year.

-Implementing economic and budgetary triggers for when the inflation funding would be required.

-Implementing a version of Ducey’s proposal to increase school spending from the state land trust.

-A decade of spending largely focused on increasing teacher pay.

First, the plan would settle the lawsuit by paying out $249 million in the current fiscal year to rest the base level funding to $3,600. A court last year ruled the state owed $336 million to reset the base funding, and the Legislature this year made a partial payment of $74 million.

The deal would absolve lawmakers of the $1.3 billion that were illegally withheld from public schools between 2010 and 2013.

Second, the tentative deal would tweak the voter-approved law that requires annual inflation increases to schools of up to two percent by adding mechanisms to allow lawmakers some wiggle room in future economic downturns.

The triggers would exempt lawmakers from increasing funding for inflation if sales tax growth and employment growth are both less than one percent, and would give them the discretion to suspend increases if sales tax growth and employment growth are less than two percent.

The inflation funding requirement would also be suspended – and lawmakers would be allowed to cut education funding by same amount as the previous year’s inflation increase – if total K-12 general fund appropriations reaches 49 percent of the total general fund revenues. If K-12 appropriations reach 50 percent or more of revenues, lawmakers would be allowed to cut education funding by twice the previous year’s inflation increase.

Third, Ducey’s land trust plan would be modified to a flat 6.9 percent distribution for 10 years, as opposed to the governor’s original proposal of 10 percent for the first five years and 5 percent for the following five years. The plan would still pay out roughly $2.2 billion over the 10-year span.

Finally, the plan would commit lawmakers to additional general fund appropriations for education for the next 10 years. Under the settlement, lawmakers would agree to $50 million per year through 2020 and $75 million of additional funding from 2021 through 2026. That money would not be included in the annual calculations for inflation.

In return, plaintiffs in Cave Creek v. DeWit would agree to drop both the back payments and base funding reset portions of the lawsuit.



PHOENIX – The Arizona Board of Education has voted to reject Common Core, but for the time being leave its standards in place.

The Board voted 6-2 Monday morning.


Majority expressed that school choice should be an option for every Arizona student

PHOENIX (Oct. 20, 2015) — The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, highlighted the results of a statewide poll conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research group. The results show 63% of likely Arizona voters favor school choice in general, and 64% said all students in Arizona deserve to have access to school choice programs. Results also show strong support for school tuition organizations in the state’s Tuition Tax Credit program. In addition, a majority of people supported the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, which is Arizona’s version of education savings accounts.

“The poll clearly demonstrates the support for both school choice as a concept and the specific programs parents are using so their child can learn in the best environment for their individual needs,” said Kevin Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children. “This is extremely valuable information as lawmakers address high-priority education issues in Arizona, and we believe the results show that school choice should be a major portion of the discussion.”

On Oct. 14 and 15, live interviews were conducted with 501 likely voters across the state. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

Out of the 63% of people who support school choice, more than half of them say they strongly support school choice.

Poll Question:

School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars associated with their child’s K through twelve education to send their child to the public, charter, or private school which best serves their needs. Generally speaking, would you say that you have a favorable or unfavorableimpression of the concept of school choice?
The state’s School Tuition Organizations and Tuition Tax Credit program were supported by 65% of people polled.

Poll Question:
As you may know, Arizona’s School Tuition Organization Scholarship Tax Credit program allows taxpayers a dollar for dollar tax credit for donations to school tuition organizations or STOs. STOs provide scholarships to children to attend the K through twelve private school of their families choosing. Would you say yousupport or oppose the STO Scholarship Tax Credit program?
Additionally, charter schools were favored by 69% of those polled as a good school choice option for students.
As Gov. Ducey and the legislature prepare for a special session to deal with education funding proposals, AFC will be releasing further polling results relevant to that discussion.

Click here for a memo from Matt Gammon, vice president at Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, detailing poll findings in reference to this news release.

The Arizona Federation for Children is the state affiliate of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice.

Original article

DC: The House of Representatives narrowly passed a bipartisan bill that would extend the District’s vouchers program. Several local politicians sent a letter to protest the measure, saying they would rather control the money than let families do so. Interesting fact: Almost all voucher students graduate and only 58 percent of district students do.

TEXAS: Every single one of this charter network’s 541 graduates from this spring is attending college this fall (except two who entered the military). Approximately 30,000 children are on a waitlist to attend these schools, which have room for only 7,000 students. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked state lawmakers to study private school choice programs nationwide as preparation for the upcoming legislative session.

Public school vouchers: Where are the campaigns?

OPEN ENROLLMENT: Fifty-five percent of the nation’s 100 largest school districts now let families choose among district schools, more than double that proportion of 15 years ago, finds a new study. The report authors recommend calling this attachment of public dollars to individual kids within the government system “public-school vouchers.”

Education Tax Credit Laws Across the States Ranking and Scorecard 2015


Of the 16 states that have education tax credit programs, only five earn grades of A or B on the second edition of Education Tax Credit Laws Across the States, Ranking and Scorecard 2015 released September 30, 2015 by The Center for Education Reform (CER).

The report provides analysis and state-by-state comparisons, ranking states not only based on the law itself, but real results of programs. The Education Tax Credit Laws Across the States, Ranking and Scorecard 2015 methodology has been revamped from last year’s analysis, placing greater emphasis on participation and implementation, and taking a deeper look at rules and regulations governing programs.

Click here to read School Choice Today: Education Tax Credit Laws Across the States 2015 Ranking and Scorecard

Banning religious schools from choice program could be illegal

Montana’s new school choice program is scheduled to launch in January, but already it’s running into constitutional problems. Proposed regulations don’t allow faith-based schools to participate in the program, which is discriminatory and unconstitutional, one attorney says.


The Rich Get Richer under Tax Credits-Public School Tax Credits that is

Arizona passed individual scholarship tax credit donations for children to attend private schools, and for public school extracurricular activities, in 1997. Since that time the newspapers have felled many trees and spilled much ink printing columns and letters bewailing the injustice of the private side credits- they are destroying public…


Arizona Ranks Highest in School Choice

Arizona, June 2014

The Center for Education Reform (CER) recently published a ranked list of the 14 states that offer school choice programs.   Arizona was ranked at the top of that list.     To see the report, click on this link –  School Choice Today: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014.


New Ranking of School Choice Programs Reveals Need for Strong Laws that Facilitate Greater Participation