Teachers fear they won't get paid after Gov. Ducey rejects fundi - Tucson News Now

Teachers fear they won't get paid after Gov. Ducey rejects funding

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Another push for funding in Arizona schools has been shut down. 

Gov. Doug Ducey just denied the Arizona Department of Education $17 million it needed to keep an IT department up and running. 

If the ADE doesn't get the money by July, officials say the IT department will crash, affecting students and teachers across the state.

According to Stefan Swiat, ADE public information officer, the IT department is vital.

Swiat said it's the hub of the entire education system, and handles everything from keeping track of student attendance to sending teacher’s paychecks.

If it goes down, the consequences will be a domino effect.

A major worry is that teachers won’t get paid.

“This could affect 1.1 million students and 60,000 teachers," Swiat said.

IT jobs in Arizona are currently in high demand, which poses a concern to staff at the ADE. 

If Ducey doesn't pay up, IT workers could leave for other jobs.

That means Ducey won't have the manpower to make sure education money is handed out to hundreds of school districts. 

“If my people are sitting here saying, ‘I don’t even know if I will even have a job by July 1st,’ and Intel is offering them great opportunities … we are in a very competitive market," said Arizona Superintendent Diane Douglas, adding she needs to be able to tell her employees what's going on now, not later.

"What has happened is that this state has defunded public education in Arizona and that is not acceptable to me,” she said. 

On Wednesday, March 1, the ADE launched a new effort to help get the money needed to keep the IT department running.

It is asking people to go to azed.gov/beheardaz to ask their legislator to advocate for the money.

“Its more about the timeliness of this," Swait said. "We really believe that the governor’s office has intention to pay schools, we believe the legislature has the best intention to pay schools. But what we are trying to explain to them is that this is a matter of extreme urgency.”

Tucson News Now reached out to Ducey's office for comment. 

It provided this statement:

"It’s typical for elected agencies, like the Superintendent’s office, to advocate for their own spending priorities at the Legislator. That said, Governor Ducey has committed that teachers will be paid and ADE will have the necessary resources.”  

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