Arizona auditor: $1M budget shortfall leaves schools with $2M in cuts
The Arizona Education Association says it is expecting to receive a $1.4 million budget shortfall this year and will begin to slash services to the tune of $1 million, which will leave students with an $872,000 gap in funding.
The association says that means a full-time employee in every classroom will have to work less than three hours per week to make ends meet, while staff will have less than 30 hours of overtime per year.
The budget shortfall has been a persistent theme in the Arizona education system.
The Arizona Department of Education estimates that the district’s budget shortfall is about $2.4 billion, which means Arizona’s students are facing a $2 million shortfall this fall.
“This budget year is going to be really tough,” said Ariz.
Education Department Director Tom DeSantis said the budget shortfall means the school district is having to lay off teachers, principals, social workers and other workers to make up for the shortfall.
The district has also cut $3 million from the budget, including $1,000 per student from the district health program and $500 for a summer camp.
In a letter to parents and students, DeSantsons office said the $1 Million budget shortfall will be offset with savings through savings on school supplies, staff salaries and equipment.
The letter said that if the budget deficit continues, the district will have a $3.9 million surplus this year.
“The budget is already in surplus, but we’re not in a position to cover all of the costs,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis added that the budget surplus could be used to address additional shortfalls in the future.
He said the district is confident that students will receive a “robust” budget this fall and the district expects to get some additional savings from its general fund this fall, as well.
“Our focus is to help the students,” De Santis said.
The Department of Public Instruction says the budget situation will only get worse as the district works to find additional savings.
De Santis says he is confident the district can meet its funding needs, even if the overall budget gap remains high.
“We’re going to keep fighting for what we believe is a fair budget,” he said.
“We know the district has a lot of work to do to fix this problem.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.