Tag: Capitol Media Services

Public schools to get 280 new buses from lawsuit settlement

| June 13, 2018
Public schools to get 280 new buses from lawsuit settlement

More than 280 aging – and presumably high-polluting – school buses are going to be replaced, at no cost to Arizona taxpayers.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced (on June 8) he intends to use more than half of the $59 million the state is getting as its share of a nationwide settlement with Volkswagen to replace buses that are at least 15 years old and have more than 100,000 miles on them.

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Senate approves watered down gun bill. See related story here

| May 2, 2018
Senate approves watered down gun bill. See related story here

State senators voted Tuesday for what was crafted as a comprehensive school and public safety plan — but not before Republicans removed a key provision designed to take guns away from dangerous people.

SB 1519, approved on a 17-13 party line vote, still al lows police to ask a judge to have someone brought in for mental evaluation. And judges remain able to order temporary removal of weapons if there is “clear and convincing evidence” the person is a danger to self or others.

But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, took out language which also would have allowed family members, school administrators, probation officers, behavioral health professionals, roommates and “significant others” to go to court to seek what are known as Severe Threat Orders of Protection.

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Lawmakers call on Ducey to form task force to prevent school violence. See related stories

| February 21, 2018
Lawmakers call on Ducey to form task force to prevent school violence. See related stories

Three years into office, Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday he has no clear idea of how to prevent mass shootings at schools.
But the governor said he does believe in two things: Protect the Second Amendment and don’t “politicize” the massacre at the Florida high school.
Speaking to reporters a week after the gunman killed 17, Ducey said he could provide no guidance on what changes in laws are necessary to prevent similar shootings here.

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Opinion — Let’s agree – greater education funding will lead to greater quality

| January 17, 2018
Opinion — Let’s agree – greater education funding will lead to greater quality

If you’ve ever tried to get your family to agree on anything, you know it can be a daunting task. It doesn’t matter if it’s what’s for dinner or which movie to watch – everyone has a preference, and it can be difficult to reach a consensus.

Now, imagine trying to get everyone in Arizona to agree on something. There is no doubt that there will be plenty of conflicting opinions and points of view.

That being said, based on a recent poll we released, it seems like we are getting closer to reaching universal support for additional education funding than we’ve ever been – currently, 78 percent of Arizonans agree our schools need more. Put in other words, about four out of every five Arizonans see a need for more public school funding.

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Senate President willing to consider cap on school tax credits

| January 3, 2018
Senate President willing to consider cap on school tax credits

The architect of an ever-increasing siphoning off of state tax revenues to help send students to private and parochial schools said Thursday he’s now willing to consider a cap — now that the diversion has topped $74 million a year.

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Report shows lots of teaching job vacancies, uncertified teachers. Please see related stories here

| December 20, 2017
Report shows lots of teaching job vacancies, uncertified teachers. Please see related stories here

A new report shows that nearly 2,000 teaching positions in Arizona remain vacant four months into the school year.
And 866 have quit since August or just never showed up.
The survey of 172 districts and charter schools also found that more than 3,400 teaching positions that schools had hoped to fill this year are being staffed by individuals not meeting standard teaching requirements. That includes not just individuals who are awaiting certification but also student teachers, those with emergency certification and those who are teaching interns while pursuing alternate methods of certification.

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Ducey disputes group’s claim school funding less now than leaner times. See related story here

| November 29, 2017
Ducey disputes group’s claim school funding less now than leaner times. See related story here

Gov. Doug Ducey is fighting back against a report by a left-leaning research group that shows Arizona is spending less on K-12 education today than before the recession when inflation is taken into account.
“That’s a false report by a left-wing public interest group,” Ducey said Wednesday just moments after helping break ground for a new charter school in west Phoenix which is being built, at least indirectly, with the help of the state treasury.
“It’s up 10 percent since 2015,” the governor said. “It’s above per-pupil rates, inflation adjusted since the Great Recession.”
But figures obtained by Capitol Media Services from state legislative budget staffers paint a different picture of what has happened since before the recession than the one being claimed by Ducey.

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State Board of Education will reconsider new school grading system. Please see related stories

| October 25, 2017
State Board of Education will reconsider new school grading system. Please see related stories

Facing a barrage of questions and criticism, the State Board of Education voted Monday to take another look at its new system for grading schools.
The unanimous vote means that some schools which found themselves with preliminary grades of D and F could move up. That’s important because parents use these grades to make decisions about where to send their children to school.
It could also means more A grades. That, in turn, has financial implications, with those schools eligible for additional state dollars.

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Attorney: Judge has no authority to determine proper amount of money Arizona gives to schools

| August 30, 2017
Attorney: Judge has no authority to determine proper amount of money Arizona gives to schools

Saying challengers have no right to sue, lawyers for the state want a judge to throw out a challenge to the state’s school funding scheme.

In legal papers filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, attorney Brett Johnson does not directly address the contention by education officials, taxpayers and others that the lack of cash from the governor and Legislature has left schools with hundreds of millions of dollars of unmet construction, maintenance and equipment needs.

Instead, Johnson is telling Judge Connie Contes she has no authority to decide if the state is providing enough money. He said whatever they decide to provide in cash is a “political question” beyond the powers of the courts.

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Arizona Regents have tuition rule that could benefit DACA students. Please see related stories here

| June 28, 2017
Arizona Regents have tuition rule that could benefit DACA students. Please see related stories here

A little-known policy of the Arizona Board of Regents could blunt the financial effect on DACA students of a new court ruling denying them in-state tuition.

The policy says anyone who is a graduate of an Arizona high school but does not otherwise meet the definition of “residency” can attend any of the state’s three universities for 150 percent of what in-state students are charged.

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