Superintendent Sánchez to speak to legislators about funding amendments

Infographic on SB 1076 & SB 1120 (in PDF)

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(beginning at 9 a.m.)

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Read the proposed amendment to SB 1120

Read the proposed amendment to SB 1076

To voice your opinion on the amendments, see the list of the legislators on the House Appropriations Committee

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Dr. H.T. Sánchez will testify in front of the Arizona House of Representatives Appropriations Committee at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, on two amendments that could have devastating effects on Tucson Unified School District's funding.

A House amendment to Senate Bill 1120 requires a forensic audit for any district that budgets more than $15 million in desegregation funding. The bill would apply to only two districts in the state: TUSD and Phoenix Union High School District.

The audit would focus on at least the previous year's spending and up to three prior years. That would mean an audit could begin on 2014-15 in August, when the books are closed for the fiscal year. Forensic audits can take four to six months to complete. The bill then requires a review of the audit by the House for completion.

All the while, TUSD's $64 million in desegregation funds, which pays for teachers, counselors, tutoring, transportation, Gifted and Talented education and more, would be frozen even as the school year is well underway.

Dr. Sánchez said Tuesday that the district has no objection to the audit. It's the lack of specifics on the timeline and the freeze of funding that presents a problem.

"TUSD's spending is already scrutinized by a court-ordered special master, the Fisher plaintiffs, the Mendoza plaintiffs, an appointed school budget operations expert and a federal judge," he said. "We have no concerns about another audit. We just ask that a reasonable timeline be set so that we are not forced to try to meet court-ordered desegregation requirements without the funding we need to fulfill them."

Dr. Sánchez will also address a House amendment to Senate Bill 1076. The amendment would change the way the state funds schools over the cap on property tax. The amendment could mean that districts wouldn't learn about their state funding levels until the school year is halfway over. For TUSD, a loss of $8 to $18 million would have to be absorbed in a matter of months, resulting in drastic cuts to programs, jobs and services.

Infographic on SB 1076 & SB 1120 (in PDF)

SB 1076 and SB 1120

What's At Stake?