Local districts likely to receive money from Legislature after recent court ruling - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Local districts likely to receive money from Legislature after recent court ruling

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Posted: Monday, January 28, 2013 2:16 pm

After a recent Court of Appeals ruling turned out in favor of school districts and charter schools, Kyrene and Tempe Union will likely see inflation increases from the Arizona Legislature starting next year.

The appeals court ruled on Jan. 15 for the Legislature to begin a yearly 2 percent inflation increase for school districts and charters, which had not been given for the past three years.

The ruling will give districts another $82,205,959 in 2013-14, according to Jeremy Calles, Kyrene School District’s chief financial officer.

Tempe Union High School District officials were unavailable to provide exact numbers last week. For Kyrene, the district would get about $1.5 million next school year.

“It does improve the situation, it just doesn’t make complete amends for what took place several years ago,” Calles said during last week’s governing board meeting.

In 2000, Proposition 301 increased the state sales tax by 0.6 percent and required the Legislature to adjust school funding by 2 percent per year to allow for inflation.

In 2010, lawmakers revisited the law and interpreted its language for funding to mean “or” instead of “and,” thereby allowing a sort of pick-and-choose method of where to allocate funds.

After three years, a lawsuit ensued which led to the recent appeals court ruling. The total impact to Kyrene was $10,573,346, according to Calles.

While the ruling doesn’t require the Legislature to repay districts and charters for each year that went without inflation increases, it will have to begin planning for the upcoming school year.

“We celebrate winning this battle but we still have a lot of work to do before we can be considered a state that values education,” Calles said in an email.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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