The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Dear Chandler Unified School District Governing Board,

I am sending this in response to a recent letter your governing board drafted and approved on February 25, 2015 about the CUSD budget and concerns with the governor’s proposed budget.  In your letter, you stated that the Chandler District has experienced cuts of $36 million dollars over the past five years.    This statement was very curious given the Gilbert Public Schools District has experienced an overall increase in funding per student from the state over the past five years, so I reviewed financial records filed with the Arizona Department of Education.  What I learned is that the Chandler District has had an increase in both student enrollment (congratulations) and funding from the state.  I pulled numbers from the past five years and did some math to see if funding per student has decreased from the state to try to find the $36 million dollar cuts you assert the Chandler District has experienced.  What I found is similar to the Gilbert District, Chandler Unified has benefited from an increase in funding per student from the state over the past five years.  The data I pulled from the Annual Report for the Arizona Department of Education is below:

 

Fiscal Year           State Revenue            Total Attending                                 Revenue per Student

 

  2010                     $115,580,587            36,320                                                                $3182

  2011                     $119,782,161            37,299                                                                $3211

  2012                     $120,729,335            37,975                                                                $3179

  2013                     $126,436,932             38,811                                                               $3258

  2014                     $133,207,649             39,908                                                               $3338

 

School Districts receive funding from four sources; local, county, state and federal.   Given that the total funding per student has increased over the past five years from the state, why is your governing board urging the public to contact legislators about the upcoming budget?    Shouldn’t you instead be contacting legislators and the governor to thank them for increasing total state funding?  Why are you attempting to point the finger of shame at our legislators and governor for a supposed lack of $36 million in funding that these entities are not responsible for?  Do you not have a responsibility to your constituents to be honest about your funding and the sources?  The truth is school districts across the state of Arizona have experienced an overall increase in state funding over the past five years. 

 

In closing, I would like to share an article with you from the Wall Street Journal.  The article discusses the need to focus on states that are producing the best results for education dollars spent.  Guess what, Arizona is doing a pretty good job!  Here is a tease from the article, “But school funding in isolation is misleading. In the past year alone at least a dozen states have been ranked 49th in K-12 spending, depending on the source and its methodology.  Among the states earning this distinction were Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas.  What these identical rankings prove is that you can aggregate data and sift statistics to prove almost anything you want. And what teachers unions and politicians want is more money. Too bad there’s no direct correlation between dollars spent and what matters most: student achievement.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/vicki-alger-educations-no-dollar-left-b...

 

Sincerely,

Julie Smith

 

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