School Funding Lawsuit Filed in Arizona

Last Updated: June 25, 2010

This article appeared in the June 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

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A group of education organizations, school districts, and district representatives has filed a lawsuit in the Arizona Supreme Court against the State Treasurer. The Arizona Rural Schools Association is one of the plaintiffs.

The suit claims that the new state budget does not follow a funding law known as Proposition 301, which requires that state funding for public schools be adjusted upward each year by either 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. The 2010 Legislature did not make that increase to the base student funding level, but instead only applied the inflation increase to one part of the funding formula — student transportation miles. The Legislature justified their action by saying the law allows them to choose to adjust either the basic aid formula or “other components.”

Had the full increase been applied to basic aid, it would have provided an additional $61 million to schools. The transportation increase will provide $5 million more for than this year.

A hearing has been scheduled for September.

In a separate matter, Arizona voters approved Proposition #100, which provides a three-year temporary one-cent increase in the sales tax to be used for education, public safety, health and social services.

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