Pima County’s technical education program is adapting to a shrinking budget.
In the last year, the state cut the budgets for Joint Technical Education Districts, or JTEDs, by 52 percent. In Pima County, the cuts took the $24 million budget down to $13 million, said Tina Norton, the chief financial officer of Pima County's JTED.
Cuts hit every high school in Pima County, and that means fewer students in the program, she said, which has a domino effect.
“We’re funded based on the number of students in our programs. So if we have fewer students because we have fewer programs to offer then we will see a lower budget next year,” she said.
Backers of the program said studies show JTED students are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school and many of those graduates go on to college.
JTED officials said the vocational technical education degrees often translate into college credit.
Pima County’s JTED is in its sixth year and officials said they will continue to lobby state lawmakers in hopes of getting their budget restored.