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Senate offers counter budget proposal to Ducey; education takes big hit.
Senate offers counter budget proposal to Ducey; education takes big hit.
The Yellow Sheet- SENATE TO DUCEY: NAH
All told, the Senate budget documents show the chamber is considering cutting from Ducey’s proposal roughly $225 million from K-12 education and another $45 million from universities.

Senate Republicans drafted a budget proposal that fails to accomplish many of Ducey’s top priorities, starting with his goal of boosting the rainy day fund balance to $1 billion. The fund currently has roughly $460 million, and Ducey proposed adding roughly $540 million to meet his goal, but Senate budget documents offer a paltry $175 million boost to the fund.

The Senate proposal prefers to sit on much of the roughly $1 billion surplus lawmakers were expected to fight over this year. That lack of spending is reflected in the vastly different cash balances that the executive and Senate budget proposals leave for the state at the end of FY20. The Senate budget would leave the state with more than $490 million in cash, while Ducey’s plan includes just $59 million in leftover cash.

The Senate also left by the wayside many funding priorities on Ducey’s agenda. Those includes items big and small:
• Ducey requested $1.6 million to eliminate a freeze of the KidsCare program, but the Senate offers no money.
• Ducey wants $20 million to provide SROs and counselors grants to schools, but the Senate only provides $10 million.
• Ducey wants $20 million for a Pima Community College Aviation Center, but the Senate only budgeted for $10 million.
• Ducey sought $42.8 million for new school construction to fund the School Facilities Board in FY20, but the Senate didn’t budget for it.
• Ducey also asked for $96.8 million in advanced funding for school construction to ensure money is available when needed, and the Senate budget proposal provides nothing.
• Ducey also wants to provide $62.8 million to SFB’s building renewal fund, but the Senate would only provide $46 million.
• The Ninth Floor proposed $21 million in state dollars for the teacher’s academy, but the Senate only provides $5 million.
• The Senate budget zeroes out the $60 million increase that the Ducey administration is proposing for Results Based Funding for K-12 schools. The state is already spending $38 million, but Ducey’s proposal calls for spreading more money around, expanding the program to low-income schools with a “B” grade. Under the Ninth Floor’s budget plan, all schools with an “A” grade would be eligible for Results Based Funding, as would “B” schools in low-income areas.

Several Bills Passed Both Houses

SB 1468 schools; suicide prevention training (Bowie)
Passed Senate 3rd Read 28-0. Passed House 3rd Read 58-0.
ASA worked with the Trust Legal Counsel to insert an amendment for immunity from liability. Requires training for those who work with grades 6-12. AHCCCS makes the training available. ASA supports.

SB 1071 school districts; personnel evaluations (Boyer)
Passed Senate 3rd Read 28-0. Passed House 3rd Read 56-3.
Eliminates the model framework for evaluation. Changes requirement for quantitative data to 20 – 33% of the evaluation. Amended to add charter schools to establish a performance evaluation system. ASA supports.

SB 1318 schools; dyslexia; screening; training (Boyer)
Passed Senate 3rd Read 28-0. Passed House 3rd Read 58-0.
ASA worked to reduce the requirements of this bill..
1. Ensures that every Kindergarten or 1st grade student will receive a screening for dyslexia upon initial public school enrollment; and
2. Provides guidance for notifications to be sent to parents of students that are identified as “at risk of dyslexia”.
3. Developed with the ADE’s Dyslexia specialist and experts on dyslexia.
4. Identifies screening tests that are cost-effective and that screen for:
a. Phonological awareness.
b. Rapid naming skills.
c. The correspondence between sounds and letters.
d. A family history of difficulty in learning to read.

HB 2119 school safety; reporting (Barto)
Passed House 3rd Read 31-27. Passed Senate 3rd Read 17-12.
Bill lists extensive reporting requirements and allows SBE to withhold up to 10% of the monthly apportionment of state aid if school district fails to post its policies on mandatory reporting of serious offenses. ASA opposes.