PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says his new budget has the answer to solving the state's poorly funded schools.
"This will be a plan and a commitment to fully restore cuts from the recession to the additional assistance formula," he said at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
The details come just a day after his State of the State Address that was light on specifics of how exactly he planned to pump more money into the state's schools. The governor's plan spans five years and allots millions for schools to use in their additional assistance funds, which pays for items like books and laptops.
This fund of money is separate from the operational and maintenance fund, which covers things like building repair and teacher salaries.
"Necessity has forced many of us to use operational dollars, the same dollars used for teacher salaries, to buy desks, computers and repair school buildings," said Superintendent Calvin Baker of the Vail School District.
Gov. Ducey says the money is permanent and not a one-time fund. He plans to allot $100 million to school districts across the state immediately as the first step of the plan.
The amount of funding will increase over the following four years and will cap at $371 million in the final year.
Critics held a press conference outside the capital to respond to the plan that they say won't work.
"What we really need is to restore that $1.1 billion right off the bat, get us to where were were nine years ago and then start talking about improvements we can make," said David Schapira, a candidate for the Arizona Schools Superintendent.
Bigger questions loom over where the money will come from, a detail that Ducey has not explained.
"By the way, the governor is only governor for another year unless he wins re-election, and so he is making promises for the next administration," Schapira said.
Gov. Ducey's budget is set to be released on Friday and ultimately the legislature will have the final approval.