Author

Maria Polletta/AZCIR

Maria Polletta/AZCIR

Maria Polletta is an investigative reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, focused on covering inequities in education. Prior to joining AZCIR, she covered state government and politics for The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network, leading breaking and enterprise watchdog coverage of the Arizona Governor’s Office, Attorney General’s Office and state Supreme Court.

A national epicenter for Valley fever infections, Arizona gets first major state funding boost in 15 years

By: - April 12, 2022

Researchers from Arizona’s three state universities will get $3.1 million to pinpoint hotspots and infection patterns for Valley fever, providing new tools to combat the fungal disease that sickens more people in Arizona than in any other state. The three-year grant, awarded to the Valley Fever Collaborative by the Arizona Board of Regents, represents the […]

Report: Child care woes cost Arizona economy $1.8 billion a year

By: - December 7, 2021

Instability in Arizona’s child care system is costing the state an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity a year, according to a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report, as gaps in care force parents to forgo professional and educational opportunities. Though access to child care proved to be “a concern for nearly every working […]

State leaders’ decade of neglect imperiled fragile child care system. The pandemic nearly made it collapse.

By: - November 4, 2021

As coronavirus cases crept up across Arizona in March 2020, Gov. Doug Ducey announced a statewide school shutdown meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. It was, at the time, the most aggressive step state leaders had taken to prevent infections. And for employees and clients at Yuma child care center Desert Trails, who’d grown […]

COVID-19 is surging in Arizona schools, but parents are left in the dark

By: and - August 31, 2021

As COVID-19 infections surge in Arizona schools, sickening thousands of students and staff and forcing thousands more into quarantine, parents — and the public at large — have been left without a comprehensive picture of where Arizona students and educators are contracting the virus.  A patchwork of outbreak and quarantine notifications from school districts has […]