In the last legislative session, Arizona lawmakers made large cuts to high school career and technical education training programs. These cuts saw $30 million dollars being removed from education budgets. On Thursday, February 9, Arizona lawmakers came to anagreement to reverse a majority of the previously agreed upon cuts. The result will be an injection of $28 million back into the Arizona education system.
Senator Don Shooter was one of theleaders of the initiative to reverse the cuts. He mentioned that they were able to save $2 million on the budget by performing an audit of current enrollment and implementing a new grading system.
There are still several steps that must be taken before the budget adjustment can go into place. The language of the bill will accompany the 2017 state budget despite the fact that the financial adjustments would occur sooner.
The reversal of the education cuts must be approved by both the state House and Senate before it can appear on Governor Doug Ducey’s desk. It has been said that the Governor is eager to review the bill.
The restoration of funding would affect 14 school district know as Joint Technical Education Districts. Currently, there are nearly 100,000 high school students enrolled in programs in the Joint Technical Education Districts. If funding is not restored to the JTEDs, they will likely face closure.
“It’s tremendously important, not just for the business community but these kids’ lives. These are the kids that struggle. They’re not particularly good at academics, but they are fantastic as a carpenter, construction person, car mechanic,” said Senator Don Shooter.
It is worth noting; these programs historically have a graduation success rate of 98 percent, well above the 72 percent statewide rate for traditional high school programs.