PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer is proposing what she said is a first-in-the-nation plan to tie state aid for education to academic performance and improvement.
That means the best-performing schools could get up to an additional $500 a year on top of the $5,244 in basic aid. And the plan also is geared in a way so that even schools rated D or F on the scale, who are ineligible for this achievement bonus, could get some extra dollars if their overall performance improves.
But schools that are low performing now and cannot do better would actually end up with less money than they have now.
Initially, that funding cut would be small — one-third of 1 percent, or about $17 a year. But when fully implemented, the cut to schools that do not qualify for either bonus would be five times as much.
The plan was immediately panned by Andrew Morrill, president of the Arizona Education Association.
“Right now that plan is more of a reshuffling of resources that are already too little,’’ he said. “Simply rearranging the structure of insufficient funds doesn’t really help anything.’’
More to the point, Morrill said it is built backwards, mistaking cause for effect.
“Under that scheme, if you improve the effect is you get more money,’’ he said.
“That doesn’t mean that having a performance-based funding system is somehow going to make districts magically work harder when they’re working as hard as they can or do something they’re not already doing,’’ Morrill continued.
“That’s necessarily the way we see it,’’ said gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson. “This is just one more way to encourage improvement and innovation in the schools,’’ he said.
Morrill said none of that means anything without basic funding.