Arizona’s best schools spend results funding on training and salaries

From Colorado City to Yuma, this year’s Results-Based Funding schools are supporting students and teachers across Arizona, according to data recently released by the Arizona Department of Education.

Nearly 145,000 students attend one of the 285 schools that earned Results-Based Funding, which provides additional dollars to Arizona’s best schools with an emphasis on the top schools serving high poverty students.

University High School Principal Amy Cislak said the Tucson school earned Results-Based Funding for the last two years and used it to lower freshman class sizes and provide bonuses to teachers.

“It was a huge relief and celebration for teachers who were able to apply those funds towards bills, vacations and even towards major purchases such as their first home or even a car–two teachers were carless before this came in!,” she said. “This year, in addition to substantial teacher bonuses, we are considering the maintenance of smaller class sizes and professional development opportunities to further expand opportunities for students.”

Results-Based Funding incentivizes public schools – traditional district, magnet, and charter – to grow their impact and serve more students. Approved by lawmakers in 2016, Results-Based Funding provides $225 per student to the top 10 percent of schools in the state, and $400 per student to the top 10 percent of schools with more than 60 percent of students who quality for free or reduced priced lunch.

While Yuma County represents only 6 percent of students in all of the high poverty schools across Arizona, schools within the border county earned 12 percent of funding, according to the Center for Student Achievement’s analysis.

At Crane Elementary Schools District in Yuma, three of its schools earned the funding.

“We have so much to celebrate as we enter another school year with our academic excellence, nurturing culture and integral involvement in this fine community. Crane is categorically one of the finest school districts in the state,” said Laurie Doering in a post on the district’s website.

In addition to supporting growth and expansion, Results-Based Funding may also be used for teacher salaries and professional development. Districts and schools work together to determine the best use of the funds.

At the Phoenix Union High School District, Bioscience, Phoenix Coding and Franklin Police and Fire high schools earned Results-Based Funding this year. The district used the funding earned by Bioscience last year to provide professional development for all teachers.

“We are very proud that (our schools) earned this by being among the top schools in the state. With our teachers receiving the results-based funding in the form of professional development, we know this will pay additional dividends toward increased student achievement at Bioscience and across the District,” said Phoenix Union Director of Federal and State Programs Stacie Crain Hacker. “We anticipate more of our top performing schools receiving this funding and distinction in the future.

Megan Gilbertson

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