Arizona’s schools and universities could get as much as $1.7 billion and be spared drastic cuts in the next two years if a stimulus bill similar to the House of Representatives version becomes law.
The U.S. Senate bill approved Tuesday is more sobering: The state would reap less than half that amount for K-12 and higher education, or roughly $700 million extra. One of the big differences is the Senate’s denial of any funds for renovation and construction.
Mesa Republican Rich Crandall, chairman of the state House education committee, said state lawmakers will watch closely.
“2010 was looking to be a complete disaster for the state,” Crandall said, adding that the House stimulus bill would negate that. He expressed mixed feelings about both bills, saying the House version includes excess spending but the Senate’s fails to appreciate how renovation funds will generate jobs.
Either version would offer some good news for schools and universities, where leaders are cutting nearly $300 million in state money from their budgets.