UA students and faculty encouraged by Hull's funding efforts
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Likins says even small amount of additional funds will
While students and faculty have said they are pleased with Gov. Jane Hull's efforts to raise funding for public education, most agree that money is only the starting point.
"This is a good start, but it's not enough," said Robert Hendricks, assistant dean of the College of Education.
Hendricks said only about 70 percent of education students who graduate from the program stay in Arizona to teach, primarily because of low wages and less money to work with.
"We need to use money to retain and attract top teachers," he said.
Arizona teachers earn on average $5,000 less than starting teachers in California and Texas. More teachers will leave the state if the earnings gap continues to rise, Hendricks said.
With the current growth in the economy and population of Arizona, a more effective educational system may be necessary.
"If we don't support education in this state we won't be able to compete in the new economy," said Larry Schooley, professor of computer and electrical engineering and a member of Faculty Senate.
Associated Students members said they strongly support any education increase but would like to make grants and scholarships a top priority for funding going to the university.
ASUA President Ben Graff participated in the rally organized by Hull for student funding and said he would like more student involvement in the process.
More money directed towards Pell grants is something that ASUA Sen. Danielle Roberts said she would like to see come about with the additional funding.
"I think it would be really neat to get notice out to students to rally in support of education, the more students that go the more presence," she said.
She added that student presence could help make education an ongoing concern for the Legislature.
UA President Peter Likins said Hull's education bill is the first sign of hope that educators in Arizona have seen in a long time.
However, the amount of money the UA receives will be relatively small.
"The most important benefit will be morale," he said. "It is not financial salvation, it is spiritual salvation."
Likins said he hopes this bill will help the university retain professors who have been considering leaving because of the state's attitude towards education in previous years.
If the university receives money from the state, those funds would be directed towards four programs that the Governor's Task Force for Higher Education selects.
The four strong points selected by the task force as strengths are the Optical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Information Systems and Water Systems.