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Governor Katie Hobbs proposes change to results-based school funding

Education, school
Posted at 5:36 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 20:22:29-05

PHOENIX — In Governor Katie Hobbs’ State of the State address Monday, she made it clear education is one of her top priorities.

She’s wanting to scrap the current results-based funding formula and equally distribute funds to all schools across the state.

Currently, the state distributes $68.6 million to schools based on their assessment scores and letter grades that are determined by the state. That means if a school received an “A” letter grade and has higher test scores, they’ll get more money.

“This approach has largely only benefited schools in high-wealth areas of Arizona’s two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima, while leaving rural and economically struggling areas behind,” she said in her speech.

Instead of distributing certain amounts to different schools, Hobbs wants to evenly distribute them.

It’s a move the Arizona Education Association(AEA) applauds.

“It means that we can finally have a conversation about equity in schools. We can have a conversation about how every student deserves a fighting shot and increased opportunities. It means that we may be finally focused in on the whole child and not just a test score,” said Marisol Garcia, the president of the AEA.

While Tom Horne, the state superintendent of public instruction, said he agrees with Hobbs on a lot of education issues and priorities she wants, this is not one of them.

“I think we need to reward success and punish failure and in education too often they do the opposite. If you show signs of failure, they put more money in and that rewards failure and it and it skews the incentives,” Horne told ABC15.

He does agree with Gov. Hobbs that wealthier schools are getting more money.

He also believes there should be a change in the funding distribution system, wanting to focus more on progress made instead of the absolute letter grade from the state.

“That would even the playing field so that all schools, regardless of the economic level, have the same chance of showing the improvement that would get in the extra funding,” he said.

Horne says he wants to try and work with the State Board to help change the system to put more emphasis on what he calls value added and less emphasis on absolute levels reached.

More details on education funding may come out as Hobbs plans to release her budget proposal on Friday.