2 States That Made Big Investments in P-20 Education in 2015

In order for education in the U.S. to regain its former preeminence, we must start to fully fund education. Fortunately, many state governors got the memo and decided to do just that. Here is a shortlist of states that made investments in education in 2015.

Michigan governor invested millions in P-20 education. Higher education and public schools received a shot in the arm from the Michigan legislature earlier this year when Governor Rick Snyder approved a new funding bill for the 2015–2016 school year.

According mlive.com, the legislature sent $16 million worth of education funding to the governor’s desk for approval in June. Within the budget was an increase of over $18 million for higher education, $1.53 billion for the state’s public universities, an over-$23 million increase for community colleges, and $50 million “for a possible agreement on Snyder’s plans for Detroit education reform. The reform money will go towards paying down “the debt of Detroit Public Schools.” More antecedents included were money for at-risk funding and a bump in per-pupil funding, from $70 to $140.

Because the education budgets received bipartisan support and votes, Snyder signed off on them. He received the money he requested for education reform, and there seem to be no coming cuts to higher education.

State legislatures across the country have struggled to balance budgets without cutting higher and public education. This money addresses the needs of low-income, or poor, school districts and will pump more money into Michigan’s public universities.

Hopefully Michigan sets a trend nationwide where lawmakers will refrain from freezing or cutting money from higher and public education.

Arizona governor invested $3 billion in K-12 education. In October, Arizona politicians took a small sigh of relief when Governor Doug Ducey signed an education bill that will pump over $3 billion into K-12 schools.

According to azcentral.com, the bill was signed after leaders squabbled over coming to terms on funding due to a five-year-old lawsuit “that sets conditions on when the K-12 formula can be denied inflation funding.” This new plan calls for $3.5 billion to go to Arizona schools in the next decade by raising the base amount of K-12 dollars. That base will then be adjusted annually for inflation, and an extra $625 million will be added from the state’s general fund.

It took several weeks of negotiations between Ducey and school officials. Democrats weren’t fully behind the deal, which was championed by Republicans and signed into law by a Republican governor. But in the end, students seem to be the winner, so there’s no reason to grasp for partisanship.

In the next 10 years, K-12 schools in Arizona will see an uptick in funding due to the deal. That could mean more teachers, better facilities, and better resources for students to utilize. Of course, oversight of these funds is essential, and my vote is always to improve education conditions for minority and underserved students (especially in bilingual Arizona), but we will see how it all falls into place.

The semantics of the deal, or how we arrived here, may be debatable. But in the end, students seem like they will come out ahead with Arizona’s latest education law.

Can you think of any additional states that made big investments in P-20 education in 2015?

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