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Representative Norgaard Starts Discussion on Prop 301 Renewal
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16 February 2018   Matthew Specht

"It’s important that we know the issue so that when the renewal conversation does occur, we are making sound, educated decisions."

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Jill Norgaard (R-18) held an informational hearing this week in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education regarding the renewal of Prop 301.

The meeting examined how Prop 301 monies are distributed and the policies that were funded as a result. Prop 301 has been in effect since 2001 but is set to expire in 2021. It is a .6% sales tax that raises over $600 million a year for educational purposes.

“These kinds of meetings need to be happening so that policymakers and the public can get educated on the stakes of a potential renewal,” said Representative Norgaard. “Most people believe all Prop 301 monies go to K-12 education, but that isn't the case. It’s important that we know the issue so that when the renewal conversation does occur, we are making sound, educated decisions.”

Total Collected
$ 667,458,515.20
TREASURER DISTRIBUTIONS
debt service (school fac.)
$ 64,142,501.00
technology & research (univ.)
$ 72,397,921.71
community colleges
$ 18,099,480.43
tribal colleges
$ 769,992.61
added school days (DOE)
$ 86,280,500
school safety (DOE)
$ 8,000,000
accountability (DOE)
$ 7,000,000
failing schools (DOE)
$ 1,500,000
income tax credit (DOR)
$ 25,000,000
balance to classroom site fund
$ 384,268,119.45
As a result of public comments heard in the meeting, Representative Norgaard generated recommendations for the state in the coming years, such as:
  • If School Facilities Board deficiency bonds are not reissued, those funds should be reallocated for other purposes, likely teacher pay;
  • Any renewed Prop 301 must match our current state landscape – Prop 301 monies are distributed based on prior year student counts, but the state funds schools based on current year student counts;
  • The Classroom Site Fund should be the first bucket of money, and it should be based on a hard percentage; and
  • Any policy decisions made in a renewed Prop 301 should be based on data and facts – delineated explanations of how money was spent within each bucket is critical for policymakers to determine the best use for the monies.

“I think it’s important that the public be educated on this issue,” said Representative Norgaard. “If the tax is not renewed, there would be a few holes in school funding that the state General Fund would have to cover, such as the five additional school days that Prop 301 pays for every year. Any renewal also ought to align with current state priorities, such as the teacher shortage. Any renewal and changes must be used to ensure we have enough quality educators to cover every classroom.”

The Appropriations Subcommittee on Education met over five weeks and heard a variety of topics. A full report will be available next week after it is adopted by the Subcommittee.