Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Kathy Hoffman speaks during a news conference in Phoenix July 23, 2020. (AP) Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Kathy Hoffman speaks during a news conference in Phoenix July 23, 2020. (AP)

Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Kathy Hoffman speaks during a news conference in Phoenix July 23, 2020. (AP)

By Haley Tenore September 19, 2022

Yes, Kathy Hoffman lobbied to hire hundreds of counselors at Arizona schools

If Your Time is short

  • Records show that Hoffman had expressed a need for Arizona to hire more school counselors since she took office in 2019.

  • Data between 2018 to 2021 shows an increase in school counselors and an improvement in the ratio of counselors to students.

  •  In 2021, using a mix of federal and state money, Hoffman allocated $21.3 million for schools to hire counselors and social workers.

Demand for student mental health services has grown as educators grapple with the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on kids. 

Democratic Arizona State Superintendent incumbent Kathy Hoffman said that even before the pandemic, she pressed to place additional counselors in Arizona schools.

"Since 2019, I've successfully lobbied for the funds to add hundreds of school counselors, lowering our student to school counselor ratio by 20%," Hoffman tweeted July 28.

Did Hoffman raise the number of counselors, and was she the one who pushed for the increase? The record says she did.

Hoffman took office in 2019. In the 2018-19 school year, Arizona had 1,262 counselors. The next year, that rose to 1,359 counselors. By 2021, Arizona had 1,552 counselors. This is an increase of 290 counselors in three years.

According to the American School Counselors Association, the student-counselor ratio improved from 905 students per counselor in 2018-19 to 716 students per counselor in 2020-21. That’s an improvement of 21%. 

Richie Taylor, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Education, pointed to Hoffman’s 2019 State of Education speech as proof that she called for additional funding for counselors. 

Featured Fact-check

"In an era of ballooning classroom sizes, teachers feel unequipped to manage a class of 30 children while also finding the time to provide individualized attention to their students, especially those that are facing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts," Hoffman said in 2019. "That’s why I am fully supportive of any plan to increase the presence of counselors, social workers, and school psychologists in our schools."

Taylor said hiring more counselors was a top priority and the department’s legislative staff worked with the lawmakers to move that forward.

Federal COVID relief dollars made staff increases possible. In 2021, using a mix of federal and state money, Hoffman allocated $21.3 million for schools to hire counselors and social workers under the state’s School Safety Grant program.

The challenge ahead is the relief funds are temporary. Hoffman is urging lawmakers to fund the School Safety Grant program permanently.

Our ruling

Hoffman said, "Since 2019, I've successfully lobbied for the funds to add hundreds of school counselors, lowering our student to school counselor ratio by 20%."

The numbers back her up. The state hired nearly 300 counselors in the past three years, and the student to counselor ratio improved by about 20%. Hoffman began lobbying for more counselors before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We rate this claim True.

 
 

Our Sources

American School Counselor Association, Student-to-School-Counselor Ratio 2021-2022

KJZZ, Arizona Superintendent Hoffman Announces $21 Million To Hire School Counselors, Social Workers, April 19, 2021

National Association for College Admission Counseling, State-by-State Student-to-Counselor Ratio Map

American School Counselor Association, Student-to-School-Counselor Ratio 2019-2020

American School Counselor Association, Student-to-School-Counselor Ratio 2018-2019

Arizona Department of Education, About the State Superintendent

Arizona Department of Education, Supt. Hoffman Delivers State of Education Speech to House Representatives, Feb. 4, 2019

AZ Family, Arizona still ranks last in student-counselor ratio despite improvements, Feb. 17, 2022

Email exchange, Richie Taylor, director of communications, Arizona Department of Education, Sept. 6, 2022

 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Haley Tenore

Yes, Kathy Hoffman lobbied to hire hundreds of counselors at Arizona schools

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up