The Arizona Supreme Court has dismissed a request to review a lower court’s previous opinion that the state’s education funding formula is constitutional despite the fact that charter schools do not get the same amount of funding as traditional school districts.
Parents and charter school advocacy organizations in the state had filed a lawsuit claiming Arizona’s school funding formula was unconstitutional for violating the requirement of a general and uniform public school system.
The court of appeals ruling in Novemeber stated that the fact that charter schools provide students with free, adequate education is enough to satisfy the law regardless of whether their funding is equal to traditional public school districts.
While the state’s Supreme Court has dismissed this case, it did rule last year that the state had not provided charter and traditional schools with proper funding under 2000’s Proposition 301, which meant both school types did see an increase in funding recently.
Meant to address inflation, Prop 301 raised the state’s sales tax by 0.6% in order to fund schools while also requiring an annual raise to its minimum per-pupil funding or to “other components of the revenue control limit.” Schools sued in 2009 because the Great Recession saw lawmakers take advantage of the “or” clause and begin only boosting school-related funding, like transportation, instead of the per-pupil funding base.
Currently, Arizona ranks as one of the lowest states for per-pupil funding, and it has set aside $3,373 per pupil for the 2015 fiscal year.