COTTONWOOD - Schools could be seeing an inflation windfall from the state, after a judge's ruling further confirms that Arizona has not kept education funding at pace with inflation.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper has decided the state would have to start paying $2.6 billion back into the education system over the next five years, starting this year with $317 million.
The state will appeal, but area schools are seeing this as good news. The next step is likely superior court, said Mingus Union High School Finance Director Kirk Waddle.
"While we are cautiously optimistic, it may be months before we will know how or if this will impact current and future yearsâ budgets," Waddle said. "We are certainly hopeful that there could be restoration of some of the devastating cuts we've sustained since 2008."
The district won't be making any budgetary decisions until the department of education has "concrete information," he said.
Clarkdale-Jerome School Superintendent Kathleen Fleenor said the Arizona School Board Association legal counsel and the Arizona Association of School Business Officials advised her district not to do anything yet.
"While we are optimistic, we will wait until we see the money and what regulations the State Legislature may put on the funds," Fleenor said.