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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
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
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

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 A Lifelong Advocate Explains Why The Feds Need to Invest in the Nation's School Buildings
A veteran advocate for improving school buildings sees the fight for funding as a generational battle with enormous stakes for communities.
6 min read
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C..
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C..
Alex Boerner for Education Week
Education Funding Schools Can Help Families Apply for Federal Help in Paying for Home Internet Access
Families who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program can get $50 off their monthly broadband bills.
2 min read
Image of a child's hand on a keyboard.
kiankhoon/IStock/Getty
Education Funding Miguel Cardona's First Budget Hearing Becomes Forum on In-Person Learning, 1619 Project
In his first public testimony to Congress as education secretary, Cardona also touched on standardized testing and student discipline.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, right, talks to 12th grade art student Madri Mazo at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, left, talks to 12th grade art student Eugene Coleman at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. in April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
iStock/Getty