Arizona Week takes an in-depth look at Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget proposal for the 2015-2016 budget year.
Higher education budget cuts are proposed to be $77 million. The cuts amount to approximately 10 percent in operating costs, said Eileen Klein, president of the Arizona Board of Regents.
"These are not catastrophic cuts by any stretch of the imagination and we don’t characterize them that way. It’s really the accumulation of the cuts that have been taking place over time,” she said.
Klein said “serious conversations” about the matter are underway.
Though it’s unclear how quickly the matter will be discussed in the legislature, the cuts are dominating discussion, said Rep. Macario Saldate, D-Tucson, a member of the the higher education committee.
Community colleges will also be affected by the cuts. It’s estimated Pima Community College will lose about $3 million in funding from the state. The institution has been preparing for the loss since last year, said Chancellor Lee Lambert.
Ducey proposed increases to K-12 funding, cuts to administrative costs will hurt overall spending in the classroom, said Andrew Morrill, the president of the Arizona Education Association.
"That’s like penalizing someone for doing the right thing because those cuts have largely already been made, we’re past the fat, we’re past cutting muscle, now we’re cutting bone,” he said.