February 24, 2016

JTEDs to receive nearly full funding from state

Legislature nixes $30 million cut for technical career education

Phoenix – After a coordinated lobbying campaign by parents, students, teachers, school leaders and the business community, the Legislature on Wednesday reversed course and eliminated a $30 million cut to the state’s Joint Technical Education Districts.

Last year, legislators inexplicably changed state law to reduce funding to the 14 JTEDs by $30 million – or about 45 percent of state dollars – beginning in next year’s budget. However, the districts worked hard to convince legislators and Gov. Doug Ducey the money is needed to keep the schools open to as many students as possible. 

The lobbying efforts by the JTED Consortium included a strong assist from the state’s business community. Chambers of commerce across Arizona joined together to convince legislators to reverse the drastic cut. 

SB1525 now awaits Gov. Ducey’s signature. The bill has an emergency clause, immediately reversing the cut set to begin July 1.

“I want to thank the many legislators who came to our defense and fought to ensure the opportunity for high-quality career and technical training for over 100,000 students,” said Dr. Alan Storm, the superintendent of the Pima County JTED.

“Legislators heard the stories of many successful students who participated in our programs and have decided to eliminate the $30 million cut in the funding so we can continue to provide the Arizona business community with a ready workforce,” Jeramy Plumb, the superintendent for the Mountain Institute JTED.

The 14 JTEDs serve children throughout much of the state and allow high school students to learn valuable skills that lead directly to employment after graduation. Students receive their core education at their home high schools and then attend a JTED program on their high school campus or a local, central campus where they obtain cutting-edge, hands-on training in a wide variety of technical careers such as airline maintenance, auto repair, construction services and more.

“So many legislators fought for us but none more so than Sen. Don Shooter,” Western Maricopa Education Center Superintendent Gregory Donovan said. “He understood our needs and the value JTEDs provide. His resolute commitment to restoring the funding for JTEDs pushed the issue to the forefront at the Legislature.