Latinos represent a large and fast-growing subset of the Arizona population. There are more than 2 million individuals of Latino heritage in Arizona, making up 31 percent of the state’s total popula-tion and 44 percent of its student population.
Given that Latino students already represent a plurality of Arizona students, clear need exists to focus attention and resources on this population. One potential solution is through an unlikely source: rethinking Arizona’s policy on bonds and overrides. Reforming our school finance system is a critical first step to addressing the impact of economics on this growing population.
If we want our school funding system to be more equitable, we must make it less local. Reliance upon supplemental funding through bonds and overrides disadvantages schools; while wealthy districts may be able to generate additional resources, they don’t always have community support and underprivileged communities – serving Latino students in particular – often don’t take the risk due to the little reward. A system that provides the fewest resources to students with the greatest needs is fundamentally unfair. Arizona must replace its broken model with a school finance system that treats all students equitably.
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