March 31 1962

CONGRESSMAN'S REPORT

by Morris K. Udall

ARIZONA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS--HOW WELL ARE WE DOING?

General federal aid to public schools has been a bitterly contested matter for many years. On Capitol Hill it is generally agreed that the issue is dead for this session, stymied by a two-headed coalition:
 

** Those who oppose any general federal aid to public elementary and high schools; and
** Those who favor general aid, but only if such aid also goes to private and parochial schools.

This might be a good time for a calm appraisal of the efforts of Arizona taxpayers and school boards to provide the teachers and classrooms needed for our exploding school population.

There is an old courtroom saying that "figures can lie and liars can figure"; be that as it may, statistics can be interesting. In this report I would like to use some recent Congressional Record figures to compare Arizona's performance with that of other states.

To me, the figures show that, relative to other states, the taxpayers of Arizona are carrying the third heaviest load. Regardless of views on federal aid or statewide equalization, one must admire the efforts our people have been willing to make.
 
 

Relative "Effort" Among the States

A wealthy person can reasonably be expected to do more for his children than one of meager means; the same is true of states. In congressional terms the job a state can be expected to do for its public schools depends on (a) its taxpayers' level of income, and (b) the number of school age children in the population as compared with taxpaying adults:
 

** Arizona's per capita income of $1983 ranks 28th in the nation. Delaware is high with $3094; Mississippi is low with $1190.
** But, believe it or not, we have a larger proportion of children than almost any other state; our population is not, as many persons assume, dominated by "senior citizens". New York (at the other end of the scale) has 64 taxpayers and 36 children out of every 100 inhabitants. In sharp contrast Arizona has 52 adults and 48 minors in every 100 inhabitants. In fact an estimated 315,000 children, a whopping 25% of Arizona's total population, are enrolled in our public elementary and high schools. (This compares with Rhode Island's low of 15%).
** Because of this overbalance of youth in our population, every Arizona adult pays an average of $189 per year for public schools (the nation's 4th highest) compared with $102 in Rhode Island and $90 in Tennessee (lowest).
** Our average yearly operating costs are relatively low: $390 per pupil as against $585 in New York and $494 in California (among the high states) and $217 in Alabama (low).
** Our average certified teacher salary is $5830 (11th highest) as compared with California's
high ($6900) and Mississippi's low ($3560).

On the basis of these comparisons we can determine Arizona's "relative effort". This significant figure is the "percent of school operating costs per adult in relation to per capita income". On this scale our "effort" is a heavy 9.5%. Only New Mexico (10.0%) and Alaska (10.9%) have a bigger burden. Connecticut is low with 4.4%.
 
 

A Report on Classroom Construction

As many double session students can testify, there is a shortage of Arizona classrooms. Heroic efforts are being made to fill the gap, but we are having some trouble in meeting the exploding needs. Here are the most recent figures:
 
 

ESTIMATES --SEPT. 1960
ESTIMATES--SEPT. 1961
Classrooms Available
10,335
11,015
Additional Classrooms Needed
1,085
1,215
Classrooms Built or Scheduled
For Completion
800
720
SHORTAGE ------
285
495

Conclusions Will Differ

Those who study these figures may reach opposite conclusions. Some might claim that a clear case is made for some equalization among the states by means of the Kennedy federal aid to education proposal. Other reasonable minds will conclude that Arizona is now solving and can continue to solve its own problems without more federal help. I said "more" because federal funds provided 10% (11. 6 million) of the $119 million spent last year on our Arizona public schools.

What do you think? I would welcome your comments.

P.S. In a newsletter last summer I tabulated the amounts and types of federal aid to education received by Arizona in 1959-60. In a more recent study titled "Federal Aid to Education: Its Impact on Arizona" just published by Arizona State University, Dr. Louis S. Meyer has compiled an excellent history and report. I recommend it to students of this complex problem. On the other side of this sheet are a few highlights from his pamphlet.


 
FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION- - ITS IMPACT ON ARIZONA

By Dr. Louis S. Meyer, Arizona State University

Expenditures for Public Elementary and High Schools


Local Costs by County 1960-61
Apache ----- $
2,715,082
Cochise ---
5,870,633
Coconino--
3,399,871
Gila ------
2,558,039
Graham ---
1,247,950
Greenlee--
1,420,405
Maricopa--
59,284,711
Mohave ----
775,203
Navajo ----
2,941,312
Pima -----
24,430,629
Pinal -----
5,912,019
Santa Cruz
907,725
Yavapai ---
3,110,953
Yuma -----
4,920,267
 
TOTAL ---
119,494,800
Federal Aid Programs for Arizona 1960-61
 
Johnson- O'Malley Funds ------------ $
1,160,901
 
School Lunch Funds:  
Commodities' value -----------
1,564,911
Lunch and Milk repayment ----
1,055,180
Public Law 874, Federal  
"impact" aid for maintenance and operation of public schools ---------------------
4,467,121
 
Public Law 815, Federal "impact"  
funds reserved for school construction -----------------
2,549,075
 
Vocational Education Funds ------
372,884
 
Vocational Rehabilitation --------
433,792
 
TOTAL FEDERAL FUNDS ------ $
11,627,682

***************

"Control" Through Federal Grant-In-Aid Programs

"In the field of education most, if not all, of the cooperative projects have at one time or another been tinged with the idea of "control". At the same time this "control" aspect has been used argumentatively to illustrate what type of a threat these programs are to state and local autonomy. However, for the most part these programs, over the many years of their existence, have contributed significantly to needs in areas of education not adequately cared for by local initiative."

***************

Federal Government Assumes a Large Share of Costs?

"When viewed from an overall point the University (of Arizona) received $1,164,226 from the Federal government in 1957 while its expenditures totaled $10,626,665. Thus ... total current fund income of Federal origin received by the University of Arizona came to slightly more than 10 per cent of its total expenditures. This is considerably lower than the percentage of funds received by all the land-grant colleges and universities compared to their expenditures where the ratio of receipts to expenditures is 24.6 per cent.

***************

Federal Funds Received by the University of Arizona (1957-58)


From 1862 Land Grant Funds ----------------------------------- $
16,630
From Other Federal Land Grant Funds --------------------------
89,125
From Veterans Administration -----------------------------------
19,639
Federal Research Funds ---------------------------------------
466,171
Other Federal Grants and Payments ------------------------------
15,264
Smith-Lever Funds --------------------------------------------
253,081
Agricultural Marketing Act Research ----------------------------
4,000
Hatch Act Funds as Amended -----------------------------------
328,594
Morrill -Nelson and Bankhead Jones Acts -------------------------
77,477
FUNDS OF FEDERAL ORIGIN...TOTAL ---------------------------------- $
1,269,981
University Expenditures, all Funds TOTAL ------------------
10,626,665
Percent Federal Funds to Expenditures ------------------------------------ 11.9%

***************

"Fiscally speaking, the total amount of educational grants-in-aid relative to the whole expenditure is of a minor nature. Yet, it is a very important lesser part. Programs which are recognized today as being of considerable significance to the state's educational operation would flounder without this aid. And more important, there Is no assurance that the State of Arizona could raise the necessary $12 million to offset the discontinuance of these funds...

"In general, criticism may be made of any aid program where regulation or supervision concerns itself. But just as generally, the public would oppose such programs if there were no regulatory provisions, for it is through these conditions that a distribution of expenditures is achieved. On the whole, Arizona has not been adversely affected from regulatory or supervisory aspects..."


Previous Report: March 19, 1962 -- Billboards or Scenery -- Which Will It Be?
Next Report: April 16, 1962 -- The Tennessee Apportionment Case--Will It Affect Arizona?


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