June 18, 2024

Passed Budget Will Hurt Arizona Education

Education Forward Arizona champions the transformative power of education for individuals, families, and communities. That’s why we believe the budget passed by the state legislature is unacceptably short-sighted. It undermines our state’s future and forces students to pay the price for Arizona’s projected $1.3 billion deficit over the next two years. 

Leadership requires decisions that, while they may be tough at the time, will have long-term benefits. Passing a budget that simultaneously slashes funding for K-12 education and our three public universities is not moving the state forward, especially when more than 80 percent of voters say they support greater investment in education and opportunity—not less. 

These cuts will likely have a real cost for the future prosperity of Arizonans and the state. Economic projections show that increasing postsecondary enrollment by 20 percent—an effort that requires a strong school system and well-resourced community colleges and universities—would lead to more than $5 billion for Arizona annually. 

By withdrawing investment in students and schools, elected officials are essentially telling Arizona voters, across the ideological spectrum, that what they want doesn’t matter. More than 90 percent of voters say they want all students to have access to a high-quality education no matter where they live. More than three-quarters say the state should be doing more to increase educational attainment rates. Instead, the state is choosing the opposite.

Opportunities for young people depend on education, and our state’s economic future depends on strengthening the pipeline of homegrown talent. Arizona students are not the cause of our state’s dismal fiscal problems—we can point to years of reckless budget decisions and bad policy for that—but, nonetheless, their futures and the state’s future are being sacrificed.