by Tom Jenney
Americans for Prosperity
To all Arizona Taxpayers and Parents:
Odds are good that your local school district is holding a budget override election today — Tuesday, November 5.
Before you vote, we strongly urge you read AFP-Arizona’s Guide to School District Overrides and Bond Measures. Here is a short URL: http://tinyurl.com/azoverride13.
Before voting for a budget override, AFP-Arizona urges taxpayers to find out how much money is already available within their districts, and how much money the district could already get into its classrooms, with current resources.
We believe that classrooms should have adequate facilities and that good teachers should be paid what they are worth. But according to the latest Annual Report by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, odds are good that your district already has enough money to put TWO teachers in every classroom of 25 students. Not counting capital monies, the average district could potentially allocate $75,000 for the salary and benefits of a good teacher in that classroom, and still allocate another $63,975 to pay a special education instructor.
Unfortunately, the available money has trouble actually trickling down into classrooms (ask a teacher!), with too much spent on administration, soft capital, and a wide range of non-classroom services. For much more on this topic, go to AFP-Arizona’s Guide to School District Overrides and Bond Measures, and scroll down to the section on "AFP-AZ Guide to Wasted Money in AZ’s K-12 School System."
Also, note that the state’s charter schools received $6,722 per child in 2011-2012 (not counting capital costs). That’s 10 percent less, per student, than what the average unified district school got. When you add in the capital costs, the difference is 17 percent. And yet, charter schools have proven to do a better job of educating kids, despite the fact that many charter schools take students who have been kicked out of district schools, and also serve disadvantaged student populations.