Lawmakers Boost Pay for Teachers, OK New Programs
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2006 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
The Arizona legislature appropriated $45 million to increase teachers’ salaries this coming school year, created a few new education programs, and expanded others in the legislative session that ended last month.
The lawmakers approved a K-12 budget of $4.4 billion for fiscal 2008, which started July 1, up from $4.1 billion for fiscal 2007. For the second year in a row, the legislature appropriated $2.5 million to each of two voucher programs that provide scholarships for children to attend private schools. Each scholarship is for an amount equal to the cost of educating a child in a public school.
One of the programs serves students with disabilities; the other serves foster children.
Lawmakers also appropriated $1 million for a pilot program to make a single school a model for using technology in innovative ways, according to Art Harding, the legislative liaison for the Arizona Department of Education. Another $1 million was appropriated for schools to carry out reading programs modeled after the federal Reading First initiative that is part of the No Child Left Behind Act.
But the legislature rejected several K-12 proposals, including one for creating Web-based, personalized learning plans for students in grades 7-12 and another that would have established a number of schools specializing in international education.
Vol. 26, Issue 43, Page 22