Democrats Again Provide Key Votes to Avoid Catastrophic School Funding Crisis; Urge Senate Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2023
PHOENIX — For the second consecutive year, the House Democratic Caucus provided the key votes today to pass an emergency bi-partisan waiver of Arizona's 1980 Aggregate Expenditure Limit, avoiding a catastrophic $1.3 billion mid-semester cut to public schools on March 1. Passing the resolution -- along with the Senate who is expected to vote on Wednesday -- will allow schools to access the remainder of their already-appropriated 2023 budget but leaves proposed reforms for the antiquated and unnecessary education spending limits for another day. All 29 House Democrats voted to pass HCR 2001 along with 16 of 31 Republicans, providing the required two-thirds majority needed to lift the cap. The Senate must also pass a waiver by the same margin for the cap to be waived. Since before the opening day of the session Democratic members have consistently spoken up urging the Legislature to waive and reform the 1980 spending cap, which no longer reflects the required technology, materials and staffing needs of public schools in 2023. "House Democrats applaud the bipartisan passage of this measure and urge the Senate to take immediate action in order to avert school shutdowns on March 1st," Leader Cano said. "Since Day One of this legislature, Democrats have been asking for a simple vote to keep schools open— a month later, we’re pleased to see House Republicans join us to support the one million kids in our public schools.” Rep. Jennifer Pawlik, a teacher and the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, has helped lead the call for action for months. In her floor remarks during Tuesday's vote, she noted the need for long-term reform to the 1980 Aggregate Expenditure Limit. "We have schools across the state that will have to close their doors or lay off teachers if we don't pass this cap. It's absolutely critical," Pawlik said. "It's perhaps even more critical in the rural areas, where the schools are the largest employers in the community. I'm pleased to hear that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are willing to talk about a long-term fix. I'm sure that's something we can work on."