Education Funding

Upkeep in Arizona Taking Budget Hit

By Katie Ash — September 16, 2008 1 min read

School districts in Arizona hoping to give their classrooms a fresh coat of paint, repave their school parking lots, or take steps to become more energy-efficient will have to wait one more year to make those changes.

In the face of a projected shortfall in this year’s $9.2 billion budget and a slack state economy, Arizona legislators voted last spring not to appropriate money for the building-renewal fund, which goes toward preventive maintenance and general upkeep of school facilities.

Under a 10-year-old formula, that fund would have been in line to receive $216 million in the current fiscal year, though for the past five years districts have received only about half the amount recommended under the formula.

To offset this year’s more drastic cutback—driven by a statewide deficit projected to be at least $1.7 billion earlier this year—legislators set up a $20 million building-renewal grant fund for repairs to schools that have fallen below the minimum facility standards.

That fund is essentially “for when things break,” said John S. Arnold, the executive director of the Arizona School Facilities Board. “It’s really just a much less efficient way to maintain your buildings.”

At Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary School in the 3,000-student Tolleson Elementary School District, officials will have to delay replacing a failing sewer system they were planning to fix with $153,000 from the building-renewal fund this school year.

“If [the sewer system fails] during the school year, we’ll have to remove those kids out of that classroom and shut [it] down” until emergency repairs can be made, Mr. Arnold said.

In the decade that the current formula has been in place, it has been fully funded only once.

“The one thing that really kills us is the inconsistency in funding,” said Marcus E. Jones, the director of engineering for the 57,600-student Tucson Unified School District. “We need funding to support the day-in and day-out upgrading and revitalizing of our existing schools.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 17, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Biden Pitches 41 Percent Spending Increase for Education Next Year on Top of COVID-19 Aid
The president wants nearly $103 billion for the Department of Education, although history indicates Congress won't approve that request.
4 min read
Conceptual image of money, a mask, and the American flag.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: HAKINMHAN/iStock/Getty and Cimmerian/E+)
Education Funding Biden Infrastructure Plan Calls for $100 Billion for School Construction, Upgrades
President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan would also fund replacement of lead pipes and expand broadband internet access.
4 min read
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Education Funding Miguel Cardona Releases $912 Million for Puerto Rico's Schools, Easing Trump Restrictions
Puerto Rico has regained access to hundreds of millions of dollars for education to address the fallout of COVID-19 and other needs.
2 min read
Students arrive at the Ramon Marin Sola primary school for the first time in nearly a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some public schools reopen in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10, 2021.
Students arrive at the Ramon Marin Sola primary school for the first time in nearly a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some public schools reopen in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10.
Danica Coto/AP
Education Funding School Budgets: Why They're Not As Bad As Predicted
Revenue projections are up, but districts aren't out of the woods. Seven questions answered about the evolving landscape for budgets.
11 min read
Image shows a businessman searching for new revenue in unchartered waters standing on a compass among several waves.
iStock/Getty Images Plus