Some great news for Arizona schools came out of the capitol today, the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) has been lifted! Following a 46-14 vote in the AZ House on February 7th, the AZ Senate voted 23-7 to lift the spending cap for the ‘22-’23 school year. This lift ensures that Arizona public district schools can spend the money previously allocated to them by the legislature when the budget was approved in 2022.
This one-year override of the spending cap will prevent schools around the state from having to make collective budget cuts of over $1.4 billion. Had the cap not been lifted, schools would have been required to make tough decisions regarding programs, staff, transportation, and other expenditures. Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs celebrated the move, saying, “Today, the Legislature completed this long overdue action and showed our students, educators, and parents that we can come together to do what’s right.”
In many districts, like Deer Valley Unified School District, the override will result in pay raises for certified and classified staff. In late 2022, DVUSD passed pay raises for staff with trigger language requiring the AEL to be lifted to become active.
While all this is great news for Arizona public schools, this is only a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Our legislators must work together to find long-term solutions for this antiquated spending cap that has threatened to cut 15-20% of district budgets for two years in a row.
As far as elected representatives who voted against the AEL being lifted, they’re listed here:
Arizona House Representatives
- B. Parker
- J. Parker