Armando Christian Perez, commonly known as “Pitbull,” announced last week that Arizona will be the next expansion site for SLAM! Academy, the rapper’s public charter school system which currently operates schools in Florida and Nevada. The announcement tells us a lot about Arizona’s school environment and what we’ve done right to finally attract quality out-of-state charter systems.

Without state support for facilities, financing is tricky for public charters and opening a new school always involves risk. That means school operators must be confident they can attract students, as well as have sufficient per-pupil funding and capital investment to support the school’s debut.

The news that Pitbull is bringing his school to Arizona is a great signal that we’re on the right track in several areas.

First, he must have recognized the appetite for school choice here is big, with one in two families choosing a school outside their assigned campus. Families’ strong desire for education options and diverse public school models tells prospective operators that there are students to serve in Arizona. Plus, our fast-growing K-12 population and strong economy give added confidence that we have a solid new market in which to grow.

Another hugely important factor are the recent infusions of state funding into K-12.

Voters have supported an infusion of millions of dollars by passing Prop 123 and 301. Lawmakers have consistently increased additional assistance funding and gave teachers a 20 percent pay raise. In addition, high quality schools can earn additional funding to support growth though Results-Based Funding.

Funding levels are now high enough to catch the eye of outside highly performing school systems. The investments Arizona is making in our public schools are meaningful and they are working to attract nationally recognized school systems – a great outcome for Arizona families looking for additional high quality options.

Pitbull made the announcement at Woz U’s DesTechAZ, a group of innovators, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and government officials that gathered last week to celebrate innovation in technology.

“I want our students to be able to do whatever they want in life,” Pitbull told the crowd. He also credits great teachers, including his own, with making the biggest difference in a child’s life. “When teachers believe…anything is possible.”

Pitbull is not the only one to have his eye on Arizona. Charter management organizations (CMOs) from Texas and Florida with long standing histories of excellence are scouting Arizona, meaning there could be more announcements on the horizon.

Arizona is on the map with student achievement scores on NAEP consistently on the rise, and strong economic performance enabling the state to put additional resources into our public school system – both in the classroom and toward teacher pay.

The good news of Arizona’s educational gains and achievement are reaching far and wide. It’s an invitation for others to join us in providing a high-quality education to the next generation of thinkers, doers, and innovators.