Governors Stress School Spending
By Eric Kelderman, Staff Writer
Arizona Gov. Janet Neapolitano (D) laid out sweeping proposals to boost early childhood education Monday in her second state of the state address.
"Arizona is internationally famous for its tourism attractions, its retirement communities, and its golf courses. Unfortunately, it is infamous for the number of children who live in poverty, start life without even basic immunization, and enter adulthood as high school dropouts," Napolitano told state legislators.
The governor proposed phasing in full-day kindergarten to all of the state's public schools, increasin the number of low-income parents who receive child-care subsidies, and ranking state-licensed child-care centers.
"Clearly, the seeds of academic failure are sewn very early in life. But so are the seeds of success," she said. "If Arizona is ever to improve the academic performance of its school children, it must tackle the issue of early childhood care and education."
Napolitano also outlined plans to help senior citizens collect more health benefits, protect the state's military bases from closure in 2005 and give state employees their first raise in two years.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) also highlighted education in her second state of the state address Monday: Calling on the state legislature to raise taxes for a $300 million boost to schools spending.
"Everyone in this chamber knows that we are not adequately funding our schools," Sebelius told lawmakers. "It has been years since we provided districts with an adequate increase in base funding, and the cost of our neglect is beginning to show."
A state District Court judge has tentatively ruled that the state's education funding formula is unconstitutional. A final ruling is expected in July.