PHOENIX (KSAZ) - At the state capital lawmakers are trying to hammer out a budget and one of the sticking points is funding education for K-12. Republicans control both houses of the Arizona State Legislature, and Gov. Doug Ducey is a Republican. So it's a battle playing out among Republicans, with Democrats focusing attention on the state's comparatively low level of spending on education.
"Well when you look at the budget we have been presented, per pupil is cut," said Rep. Eric Meyer.
A $21 million cut, because of a plan to allocate money to schools based on how many kids go there in the current year as opposed to how many attended in prior years. Valley Charter schools are also taking a hit. Republicans counter they must change their approach.
"That is one of the areas we are looking at fixing, the schools have been very loud in their opposition to that, and I think everybody here is looking at a way for the next year to take care of that issue," said Rep. Darin Mitchell.
Meanwhile, Arizona teacher pay continues to hover near the bottom of all 50 states. Rep. Regina Cobb of Kingman says Arizona teachers are crossing state lines going to Nevada or California to be paid better.
"And so what they do is train in Bullhead City and go to work over in Laughlin, that is so wrong, we need to work on being competitive and with our opposing states," said Rep. Regina Cobb.
While Republicans haggle over allocating money to K-12 schools, the Republican produced budget plan gives $13 million to ASU, the U of A, and NAU. Five million goes to economic think tanks at ASU and the U of A.
Money to start those think tanks came from Charles Koch.