Mike Nickerson, Chair
Kathy Hoffman, Arizona superintendent of public education, was the speaker for the June 9 SaddleBrooke Democratic club meeting via Zoom.
Superintendent Hoffman shared what the department has been doing during COVID-19 to help students throughout our state. Besides many educational programs, it has partnered with Health and Human Services to get meals to students who would have normally had those meals at school.
She also shared that 90% of the $4 billion of education aid that came to Arizona via the American Rescue Plan is going directly to the schools to be used as local school districts determine. The other 10% is being used for special programs. One that she pointed out was to hire new counselors for each of the schools. This was vitally important given the trauma of the last year, but the funding for this program will last only two years, and then will need to be taken up by the state if we want to continue to have these counselors.
During the question-and-answer session, we had a wide range of topics, including how Proposition 208, that passed in the last election, will help fund schools and the continued need to improve our school system. Presently, Arizona teachers rank 50th in average pay out of the 50 states. This is something that should concern all Arizonans. We also are one of the few states that do not fund full-day kindergarten. Hoffman said there are many issues like this, but our department of public instruction continues to find ways to help all of our Arizona communities improve our schools. The future of Arizona, its people, and economy depend on a strong education system.
The next meeting of SaddleBrooke Democrats will be on July 13 at 3:30 p.m. Charles Fisher, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, will be our speaker. It will be on Zoom and everyone is invited. Send an email to [email protected] to get an invitation if you are not already receiving invitations to our meetings.