Arizona budget cut in education affects community colleges

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Arizona is yet again cutting funds for higher education.

Azcentral.com reports that there was a $99 million taken from Arizona’s three public universities, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Arizona, respectively, a 13 percent reduction, while Maricopa and Pima colleges lose all aid, an estimated $15.6 million.

“A budget demonstrates the priorities of a state,” Governor Doug Ducey said to azcapitoltimes.com in response to divvying the $9.1 billion budget. Ducey’s concern was increasing government spending toward K-12 schools, which received an accumulative $102 million reform along with a recent report made by AZ Central that recorded a proposal made on behalf of the Republican Party for additional $500 million to go toward education over the next 10 years.

As former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, Ducey is making it impossible not to serve a Rocky Road for both current and inbound community students from here on out.

Of course, Ducey isn’t the only factor in this equation. Another issue is that over the course of several years, state legislature has gradually cut back. Tom Gariepy, District Director of Marketing Communications, said that there are three ways community accrues funds. The first is through property taxes, the second is through tuition, and the third is through state money submitted by the legislature and state governor every year, which, as of this year, Gariepy describes as a finite payout for Maricopa community schools.

Currently, the chancellor is looking at ways to raise revenue through means other than those provided by the state. “We need to find additional revenue to be able to operate the system,” Gariepy said. “We need to be able to be innovative and entrepreneurial.”

One of these alternative methods involves an initiative entitled Maricopa Priorities, an operation founded in 2013 that ranks current programs and services in the district as the most to least important and/or successful. Above all else, this cut is a radical change and may result in legislative action.

As a college student whose higher education relies solely in the hands of financial aid, I wouldn’t know what I would do without the government’s backbone. That is unless it involves greasy takeout. With the work study program defunded on campus and an additional millions cut, it will be an affliction on not only Maricopa schools, but students whose only option for higher education is community.

There’s a quote by Mark Twain that I hold to be self-evident. It states: “We have the best government that money can buy.” Government is made possible by taxpayers. Taxpayers are people. People are the government and—also not unlike to people—the government is only as effective as what’s put into it.

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