Arizona lawmakers delivered a big win for the state’s vocational high schools, known as joint technical education districts. The governor signed a deal late Wednesday, giving back nearly all of the money that was cut from the programs last year. Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports.
The funding package restores $29 million of the $30 million that was slashed from the career and technical programs. Matt Weber had been keeping close watch as lawmakers worked to restore the money. He’s superintendent of Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology, or NAVIT. Weber says the institute needs state funding to stay open, and without it, the school would have major setbacks.
“We would have literally had to shutter at least a third if not half of our programs. And, without question, a portion of teachers would not be renewed if this doesn’t get signed," Weber says. "So, to me, it’s huge for our high schools to know for sure that this is a go.”
14 districts across the state, including NAVIT, rely on the money. The deal passed after a week of back and forth at the state house and senate, as the two were deadlocked over who should get credit for restoring the funds.