Arizona Republicans have proposed that education – from kindergarten through university – should be the first thing to get the chop in a proposed budget. They are looking to cut $1.5 billion from education over the next 18 months with the K-12 system being hit for nearly $1 billion of that. I agree with our Board of Regents that the proposed $500,000 cut to the universities would be “cataclysmic in the depth and breadth of devastation they will cause to our higher-education system in Arizona.” Even a short-term cut in funding will have serious implications for the competitiveness of Arizona. ASU alone pumps approximately $3.2 billion dollars each year into the state’s economy and creates tens of thousands of jobs. We have taken more than $37 million in state funding cuts in the last 18 months, leading to the loss of 500 staff positions and over 200 faculty associates, the disestablishment of two schools and a reduction in the number of nursing students. And that is just ASU.
(As an aside, one of the two proposers of the cuts – Russell Pearce – has featured here before. He had no problem making universities pay for flags in every classroom.)