Why is Arizona’s K-12 funding so low? ATRA report offers explanations

Arizona Capitol Times
Monday, October 19, 2015
Ben Giles

The influential Arizona Tax Research Association penned a study that attempted to provide context for why Arizona consistently ranks among the worst states when it comes to spending on K-12 education.
In a state ranked No. 48 in the country by per-pupil spending, Arizona lawmakers have long heard they’re not doing enough to fund schools. What ATRA senior research analyst Sean McCarthy set out to show was why – why Arizona is ranked so low, and in fact has been for the last two decades, and why that ranking isn’t likely to change, no matter how much lawmakers choose to spend on education.
But McCarthy and education finance experts say lawmakers got the wrong impression from the report, as GOP leadership cited it frequently while defending their proposal to increase K-12 funding without raising taxes, but with sweeps of other state funds.