Ducey promises funding boost for vocational education

By Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star


In a speech in Tucson on Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey vowed to increase funding for career and technical education.

The speech was largely identical to his State of the State he delivered Monday, but his address to a packed room at the Tucson Convention Center contained new language on his plans to add funding into Joint Technological Education District.

A year ago, Pima County JTED Superintendent Alan Storm called proposed cuts by the state a “death knell” to technical education.

Ducey reminded reporters that a year ago the state was facing a billion dollar deficit and that more details would be announced when he released his proposed budget on Friday.

With a predicted surplus for the next budget cycle, Ducey would say only that the state would be able to “change the trend line” when it came to JTED funding.

“I know not every child plans to go to college … their K-12 experience also needs to prepare them for life, which is why I’m targeting high-need employment sectors with a new focus on career and technical education,” Ducey told the audience at the Tucson Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“I’ve heard that there is bipartisan support for this,” Ducey said. “So I challenge the Legislature to get it done.”

Pressed for details on how the state can afford new programs while lowering taxes, Ducey noted Arizona was growing as a destination for both new businesses and residents, but he did not elaborate.

Ducey also stumped for Prop. 123, saying the bipartisan, $3.5 billion plan was the only way to fix the state’s education system.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the trend line on education funding. The stakes are high,” he said.

He also dismissed any other potential solution.

“For the cynics out there — looking to stop this plan or rooting for its defeat: If you’re hoping this lawsuit will be resolved any other way — it won’t,” Ducey warned.

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