Gov. Doug Ducey is just days away from delivering his 2018 State of the State address, where he will announce his agenda for the upcoming legislative session. In this debut episode of Arizona 360, host Lorraine Rivera sits down with the governor to talk about priorities for the new year.
Ducey expressed pride in the state putting $223 million into K-12 education in 2017, but acknowledged Arizona has yet to overcome a teacher shortage. One way to help fund schools, he said, is to attract more companies to Arizona and increase the state's tax base.
Additional state dollars provided by the voter-approved Proposition 123 have already made their way into classrooms across Arizona. That includes Tucson's Sunnyside Unified School District, the second largest in the state. Superintendent Steve Holmes explains some of the funding and performance challenges facing his district.
Once the state decides on the amount of money to put toward education, school boards and superintendents are then tasked with deciding how it's spent. Ricky Hernández, chief financial officer for the Pima County School Superintendent's Office, breaks down what factors districts consider when finalizing their budgets.
Ducey's success hinges on whether or not state lawmakers pass bills that support his policies. In this episode, Arizona Capitol Times editor and publisher Luige del Puerto takes stock of how much of Ducey's agenda made it through last year's legislative session.
When it comes to preserving Arizona's water supply, Ducey said he wants to see stakeholders work together on long-term solutions. That type of collaboration is already visible in Tucson Water's efforts to conserve what it gets from the Colorado River. Spokesman Fernando Molina explains how infrastructure in Tucson benefits communities across Arizona.
For years now, Lake Mead's so-called "bathtub ring" has been a sign of less water flowing into the reservoir. Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico rely on Lake Mead for their allotments from the Colorado River.
While the lake is at less than half capacity, Central Arizona Project's Chuck Cullom said conservation efforts from more than a dozen entities will prevent a shortage along the river in 2018. If a shortage is declared, federal guidelines dictate that Arizona take the biggest reductions in the lower basin. University of Arizona Professor George Frisvold explains the immediate challenges a shortage would create for Arizona's agricultural communities.