PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Legislature's 2017 session put the spotlight on education spending and policies and provided a glimpse of expected election battles next year over schools funding and teacher salaries.
The budget package increasing school funding and a major expansion of the state's public school voucher program are likely to be used as campaign fodder by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in next year's re-election bid.
But the school funding boost is relatively small, giving Democrats a talking point against Ducey. They'll cite the small teacher pay raises and the potential for vouchers to siphon money from K-12 public schools.
Democrats pushed for a much-bigger teacher pay raise than the 2 percent over 2 years that the Republican-controlled Legislature adopted. Ducey says it's a boost the state can afford without raising taxes.