Arizona's citizens have been subjected non-stop to the claim that Arizona's public schools are desperately underfunded. The Superintendent of Public Instruction's finance report says otherwise.
On page six of that document, you will find a figure for all revenues collected by Arizona school districts from all sources. That number is $9,232,916,095. If you divide that figure by the enrollment number for districts on page nine of the same document, you get $9,707.45 in total revenue per pupil.
For a bit of perspective, the average Arizona private school tuition in 2006 was $4,300 and the average total cost was $5,500. The same revenue per pupil calculation for Arizona charter schools is $7,800.
Some might be inclined (I'm not) to divide the revenue number by fall enrollment rather than average attendance. Doing so effectively gives credit for students that have since dropped out or moved away. Even doing the math this way, this figure is still near $9,000 per pupil.
Facing a catastrophic downturn in revenues, state lawmakers cut 3 percent from the 2009 K-12 budget. The various education associations whipped their members into a frenzy and directed them to send hate emails to legislators. I've been getting them myself.
If, however, you go to the JLBC website and look at the budget excel spreadsheet you'll see a budget line for the Arizona Department of Education of $4,141,201,000 on line 135.
Even if you cut this number by 18 percent, to $3,395,784,820, it would keep state K-12 funding between where it was in 2005 and 2006. Yes there has been some inflation and enrollment growth since 2005, so tightening of belts would be necessary. Average revenue per pupil would remain well above what charter schools receive.
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: 99.999999999999 percent of Arizonans choose not to protest spending cuts