Ducey wants savings from K-12 enrollment decline to help students who have fallen behind in pandemic

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By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Gov. Doug Ducey plans to use hundreds of millions of dollars that schools will lose from declining enrollment for programs to help students who have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many schools relying on virtual learning instead of in-person education.

Enrollment in district and charter schools dropped by 37,000 students during the current school year, which will cost them about $389 million in per-student funding, according to the governor’s office. Ducey’s executive budget proposal, which he released on Friday, calls for that money to be used instead for a grant program to fund things like summer school, one-on-one tutoring, longer school days and other things to help students who have fallen behind.

Ducey spoke in his State of the State speech about the students who have struggled with distance learning during the pandemic, which he said has been especially difficult for low-income students.

“Distance learning has not been good for these students, who often don’t have WiFi or a laptop available. So starting now, let’s direct resources to helping these children catch up,” the governor said. “It should be our goal that every student graduates high school on time and at grade level.”

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