Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Moving Education and Arizona Forward

State House Phoenix-Prop. 123 is supposed to be the first step in restoring support for Arizona’s public schools and Democrats have been preparing for the next steps.

Our schools need more resources than just the inflation funding lawsuit money, which Republicans wrongfully withheld from schools in the first place. Maybe this is why people don’t trust the governor or the Republicans when it comes to doing what’s best for our schools. Maybe that distrust is also why Prop. 123 narrowlywon at the ballot box, even though a recent poll showed that many Arizonans who voted against Prop. 123 did want more money for education but said they did not trust the governor and legislature to follow through.

Arizonans know that Democrats have been, and will be, the champions for public education in this state. During the legislative session, we pushed to restore the $116 million that Republicans cut specifically from classroom resources.  We found a way to do that and keep a balanced budget without raising taxes. That effort was thwarted by a partisan 36-24 Republican vote. 

The governor should address any question about his commitment to education and immediately restore the additional cuts made to schools, while working with education advocates on Prop. 123 Go, on a long-term, sustainable revenue plan for education that will focus on three key areas:
  • Restoring funding for classroom supplies, updated technology and textbooks. This would require restoring district additional assistance.
  • Sustaining a workforce of quality, certified and caring teachers in the classroom by investing in competitive salaries and professional development.
  • Restoring capital funding to give our students schools and classrooms that are safe, clean and functional places to learn.
We’re still at the bottom of the barrel in the country when it comes to per-student funding, and that must change. We need an “ironclad”commitment from Gov. Ducey that after Prop. 123, he won’t ignore the next steps in restoring Arizona school funding.  We’ll be here to make sure that happens.