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Grijalva Highlights Federal Funds Coming to Arizona to Save Teacher Positions – Money Comes From Congressional August Jobs Bill

Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the $211.8 million Arizona is set to receive as part of the recently passed $10 billion measure to save teacher jobs nationwide. The funding is expected to save about 4,000 teacher positions around the state, according to Department of Education information.

The bill passed on a largely party-line vote when Congress returned for a rare one-day session in the midst of the August recess.

“Passing this bill was a crucial step to keeping teachers and other public servants on the job this school year, and I’m glad Arizona is getting the money it sorely needs,” Grijalva said. “Our education system ranks near the bottom in almost every education measurement you can name, and losing thousands of teachers at the beginning of this school year would have been a disaster for students and schools already stretched too thin for top performance.”

A January report from the non-partisan Pew Center on the States gave Arizona a “C-” overall for education quality, a “D” for K-12 achievement, and a “D+” for school finance, among other scores. The report ranked Arizona 46th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The $10 billion education fund, passed in August, will support education jobs in the 2010-11 school year and is being distributed to states by a formula based on population figures. States can distribute funding to school districts based on their own primary funding formula or districts’ relative share of federal Title I funds.

“We need to get the state on a better economic footing if we’re going to properly educate the next several generations of Arizona students,” Grijalva said. “Public education is a fundamental American institution that deserves respect and support from lawmakers at all levels. We can’t stay competitive in the national and global economies when we’re in the bottom five in education quality. The state needs to reform its education system as soon as possible, and these funds give us time to make longer-term decisions without falling off the class-size or school quality precipice we would otherwise be facing.”

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