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  • Arizona Senate Democrats

Epstein warns against budget that does not include AEL fix

Arizona State Senate 

1700 W. Washington St. 

Phoenix, AZ 85007 

  

Press Release 


PHOENIX – Senator Mitzi Epstein (LD12) released the following statement on the current possibility of a budget vote that does not include an Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) fix for the upcoming ‘24-’25 school year.   


“Last year, Democrats put together a one-time increase of $300 million for K-12 education in the FY 2024 budget to account for growth and actual inflation.  It was above the formula because the formula in law only requires that K12 funding be increased for growth and up to 2% inflation.   Over the years, that 2% limit has caused education purchasing power to drop badly. It means teachers’ pay is effectively less, and each student gets less.   


This year, because of decades of Republican revenue mismanagement, that will not be a possibility. The Republican majority is not making funding for our children a priority.  Not only have they proposed cuts to education funding, but they have also not committed to fix the AEL.  


The AEL – Aggregate Expenditure Limit – must be adjusted to meet the actual needs of students each year, to allow school districts to spend the money that is in the budget for them.  If the legislature fails to do this accounting task, then schools cannot spend the money that has been approved by the legislature.  By not committing to lift the AEL, Republicans are destabilizing Arizona’s public schools.   


It is unconscionable that the Republican majority believes it appropriate to play games with public school money. They have already swung open the gates to untold amounts of fraud, waste, and abuse within their universal voucher expansion, and now in a year where we are trying to claw our state out of deficit, they have chosen to waste time on playing chicken with the AEL, and not allowing schools to spend the money they legally have in their budgets. This is not the time for games. While Republicans are proposing cuts to education, Democrats are fighting for our kids!”  

 

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