February 23, 2022

What’s Next for the Aggregate Expenditure Limit?

On Feb. 21, the Arizona legislature addressed the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL), a formula-based school spending cap set by voters in 1980.

The resolution passed by the legislature allows schools to exceed the AEL during this school year by a specific amount. This was an important action to take to ensure that schools could spend the $1.1 billion in funding they already have for this school year and avoid a 16% budget cut.

We appreciate our Education Forward Advocates Network and all the community leaders and organizations that asked the legislature to address the AEL. If you haven’t already, please send a note to legislative leadership to thank them for their bi-partisan effort to address the AEL.

So, How Do We Move Forward?

The options are: (1) for the legislature to allow schools to exceed the AEL on a year-by-year basis with a two-thirds vote (like they did this year), or (2) to implement a permanent change, which would mean asking voters to make changes to the AEL or eliminate it entirely.

This long-term solution can be proposed by the legislature and referred to voters. As these conversations are being held, it will be important to consider:

  • How does having the AEL allow Arizona to improve our education system and meet the goals we have for education?
  • Does the limit allow Arizona to increase funding to eliminate opportunity gaps to meet the diverse needs of our students many who require more services to be successful?
  • Does the limit recognize the changes in education that have happened over the last 40 years since it was enacted, including increased use of technology?
  • Does having the AEL today still accomplish the same fiscal responsibility that voters wanted in 1980 to keep property taxes in check?
  • Should the limit be raised or eliminated completely?
  • Should all district and charter schools be included?
  • And more…

We’ll keep you posted on next steps and how you can get involved. For now, if you haven’t already, sign up to be a part of our Education Forward Advocates network to get updates from us on key issues like the AEL.