Brewer: State to appeal ruling on school funding

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Gov. Jan Brewer says a judge's ruling requiring Arizona to pay an inflation boost to schools will be appealed.

The judge's July 11 ruling said schools are entitled to at least $317 million in additional funding for inflation this year and set the stage for proceedings that could boost the total to $2.9 billion over five years.

Brewer said Thursday that the ruling would devastate the state's budget and services such as public safety.

Any actual decision will be made by the attorney general and legislative lawyers after a final judgment is issued by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper. Cooper on Friday set a week of hearings for late October to decide if the state must pay back payments to schools for years it didn't fund an inflation adjustment.

The ruling follows a state Supreme Court decision last year that said the Legislature disobeyed a voter mandate for annual school funding inflation adjustments.

Lawmakers dramatically reduced inflation adjustments in reaction to the Great Recession's hit on state revenue.


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