April 28, 2005
The Tempe Elementary School District and Mesa’s East Valley Institute of Technology received hoorahs and accolades on Wednesday for spending more money in the classroom.
The Tempe district and EVIT were among 27 Arizona districts to increase classroom spending by 5 percent in just one year.
During the "Nickel Plus" education conference at the state Capitol, Gov. Janet Napolitano asked other districts to continue working toward her goal of increasing classroom spending by 5 percent by the end of next fiscal year.
Debra Gomez, Tempe Elementary’s interim superintendent, said the passage of a kindergarten- through thirdgrade budget override for education programs helped.
But she said the public should be careful not to criticize other spending, which includes busing students and counseling.
"Everybody has to look at the big picture," Gomez said. "I believe they think if it’s not in the classroom, it must be all spent on administration."
Paul Koehler, Napolitano’s education adviser, said school districts have been moving in the right direction. Some have cut utilities costs, one combined bus lines and the Mesa Unified School District saved money after discovering the district was being charged for unused utility meters.