CHINLE, ARIZONA-Navajo leaders heralded last Friday’s signing of a $3.5 billion settlement between the state of Arizona and three education associations as a boon to school districts on the Arizona side of the Navajo Nation.
“It truly was a great day for Arizona, for our youth, families, and teachers, and a step forward for Arizona public schools on the Navajo Nation,” said Arizona State Sen. Carlyle Begay (D-Dist. 7). “I was proud to have supported the $3.5 billion K-12 education settlement for rural and tribal communities in Arizona. The K-12 funding agreement had bipartisan support, and is a victory for public schools in my district and across the state.”
In a written statement, Speaker Lorenzo Bates (San Juan/Tiis Tsoh Sikaad/Newcomb/Tse Daa Kaan/Nenahnezad/Upper Fruitland) and Delegate Nathaniel Brown (Chilchinbeto/Dennehotso/Kayenta), who attended the signing ceremony, said they look forward to seeing the funding benefit Navajo students who attend public and charter schools on the Navajo Nation, if the referendum is approved by voters.
Because the money is coming from the State Land Trust Fund, the allocation must be approved by Arizona voters. A referendum will be held next May.
Begay said the settlement will infuse an estimated $5.2 million into school districts wholly or partially in the Navajo Nation over the next 10 years, ranging from $27,000 in Cedar Unified to $1.5 million in Flagstaff Unified School District.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.