The Governor’s FY ’19 Executive Budget is out today and it includes $400 million in new money for public schools—a serious investment in education for anyone keeping score in Arizona. And I’ve heard there are a few.

$100 million of that investment is the first installment of a five-year commitment to restore $371 million in recession-era formula cuts. It’s worth noting this re-investment is a big deal. It represents a full restoration of decade-old cuts to District and Charter Additional Assistance formula funding. It also averts the likelihood of a legal battle that has been brewing over education funding, and provides permanent and flexible dollars so that schools can set their highest priority for spending on teachers and classroom needs.

In total the Governor’s education budget moves meaningfully toward re-establishing a strong education funding foundation for all schools in Arizona.

The $400 million proposal includes resources for student growth, building renewal, teacher salaries, early literacy, computer science, and Career and Technical Education. You can read the full breakdown of the Governor’s education budget here, and can view the complete FY ’19 Executive Budget here.

Earlier this week in the State of the State, the Governor spread the good news about the great gains happening in Arizona schools. He noted what we at A for Arizona have long touted—that our schools are showing real measurable signs of progress as students are leading the nation in reading and math gains. He went on to say, “The most compelling argument for investing in our schools is that they are improving.” So compelling in fact that 80 percent of the new state investments he proposes are aimed at K-12 education.

We are fortunate the Governor recognizes the great gains happening in Arizona schools and sees this achievement as worthy of serious investment. In fact, on Governor Ducey’s watch, nearly $1 billion of classroom and school facilities funding has been restored or increased. These dollars are flexible at the local level and support expansion of excellence, teacher pay, early literacy and the costs of maintaining safe classrooms.

Education once again takes center stage in Arizona’s budget discussion, and we look forward to watching the Executive priorities take shape and become reality in the legislative session now underway. Stay tuned as we share updates of the budget implementation process in the coming weeks.