Association Response to K-12 School Funding Inequities

“First and foremost, Arizona charter schools are public schools. For more than 20 years, Arizona has been a pioneer and leader when it comes to empowering parents and families to select the best school for their children.

“Unfortunately, some self-declared ‘education advocates’ long for the bad, old days when district enrollment boundaries were iron-clad and the strength of a student’s classroom experience was determined by their home address. These charter critics cloak their true motivations behind a series of shifting arguments, but it’s clear what they seek is nothing less than to strip the sacred right of Arizona parents to make educational decisions in the best interest of their children.

“The fact is, Arizona families increasingly choose charters – approximately 180,000 students now attend one of nearly 600 public charter schools statewide. While district attendance is stagnant or in decline, charter schools account for virtually all of Arizona’s growth in K-12 enrollment. That says something.

“This shift in enrollment patterns helps explain desperation on the part of groups such as the so-called Arizonans for Charter School Accountability. They employ fuzzy math and fiscal sleight of hand to suggest Arizona charter schools are financially advantaged over districts, when the opposite is true. They cherry-pick numbers to mislead Arizonans and tell a fundamentally false story.

“Here’s the truth: All public schools in Arizona – charters and districts – are starved for dollars. The nearly 40-year-old system that funds K-12 schools in our state is broken.

“Rather than working to pit one type of public school against another, now is the time to work toward solutions that ensure all Arizona schools are supported and every Arizona student has access to the quality education they need.”