Public Education Funding System In Arizona

As our supreme court has observed, "The Arizona education statutes reflect the complexity of the underlying system . . . and the financing scheme is particularly complex." Roosevelt Elementary Sch. Dist. Number 66 v. Bishop, 179 Ariz. 233, 236, 877 P.2d 806, 809 (1994). Referring specifically to the funding of Arizona's public education system, the court stated, "Under the formula provided by the statutory scheme, the cost of public education is allocated as follows: the state (45%), local districts (45%), and the United States and counties collectively (10%)." Id. at 237, 877 P.2d at 810. The court did not suggest, nor have we found any authority stating or suggesting, that any other governmental unit, or private citizen or entity, has additional affirmative financial responsibility for Arizona's public educational system. See id. at 240, 877 P.2d at 813 ("The only sources of funding mentioned in article XI, of the Arizona Constitution are the state and the counties."). Indeed, article XI, 1, of the Arizona Constitution provides that the "legislature shall . . . provide for the establishment and maintenance of a general and uniform public school system, which system shall include kindergarten schools, common schools, and high schools." Section 2 of the same article provides that the "general conduct and supervision of the public school system shall be vested in the State Board of Education, a State Superintendent of Public Instruction," and others, but does not mention a role for cities or towns. Although local school districts also have a role in financing their own needs, we find nothing in the law imposing any duty or responsibility upon municipalities to act in this area. See generally 15-341 (listing mandatory duties of school district governing boards) and 15-342 (discretionary powers); see also Hull v. Albrecht, 192 Ariz. 34, P9, 960 P.2d 634, (1998) (once legislature has met its responsibility for minimally adequate school system, school district may "seek local sources of revenue, such as property taxation, to surpass the state standards"). See, e.g., A.R.S. 15-481(Y) (school district shall hold public meeting when increasing its budget pursuant to subsections (L) or (M), at which meeting the school district shall discuss the use of voter-approved bonding in funding possible capital improvements) and 15-491(A) (providing rules for elections regarding use of bonds to fund improvements). General law cities such as Apache Junction may exercise only those powers expressly granted them by the legislature, together with those powers that arise by necessary implication out of those that are expressly granted. City of Glendale v. White, 67 Ariz. 231, 194 P.2d 435 (1948); see also Uhlmann v. Wren, 97 Ariz. 366, 393, 401 P.2d 113, 131 (1965) (Bernstein, J., specially concurring) ("Where a municipal corporation is involved, specific legislative authority must be found for all of its activities."); Shaffer v. Allt, 25 Ariz. App. 565, 570, 545 P.2d 76, 81 (1976) ("Municipalities, be they charter or otherwise, have no implied powers, except such as may be fairly implied from expressed powers."); cf. City of Mesa v. Smith Co. of Arizona, 169 Ariz. 42, 816 P.2d 939 (App. 1991) (municipality can only exercise right of eminent domain when it is conferred by legislature expressly or by necessary implication). The City and the District argue that 9-463.05 and various other statutes expressly authorize the City to impose the fee. They also contend that the fee is implicitly permitted because neither the constitution nor any statute expressly prohibits the City from imposing it. We have been cited no relevant authority to support the proposition that such authority may be inferred; rather, there is substantial authority requiring that a city must have authority to support its actions. Uhlmann; City of Glendale; Shaffer. The powers of cities are set forth in A.R.S. 9-274 and 9-276. Additionally, under 9-499.01, cities may exercise any powers possessed by towns. See, e.g., A.R.S. 9-240 through 9-244. None of those provisions, even by implication, gives cities or towns any authority over or responsibility for public school matters. Rather, as discussed below, responsibility for public schools lies elsewhere. See, e.g., Ariz. Const. art. XI, 1 and 2; A.R.S. 15-341 and 15-342.