Category Archives: Ballot Referendas and Initiatives

Back to the McCarthy Era for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas

If teachers walk off the job on Thursday, April 26, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas warned that “there may be investigations” if complaints come into the Department of Education. Furthermore, if the courts deem the walkout a “strike,” Douglas cautioned that teacher certifications may be revoked and censure notices placed on an instructor’s permanent record.

In an interview with Channel Three Arizona Family News (link below), Superintendent Douglas relayed that she is in favor of more money for education and increased salaries for instructors and support staff. She appeared receptive to ideas ranging from local governing boards setting local district salaries to education budget increases being placed as ballot initiatives.http://www.azfamily.com/clip/14295201/raw-video-diane-douglas-discusses-planned-teacher-walkout

However, Douglas urged teachers not to walk out on Thursday and suggested that they continue negotiations with the Governor and legislature, especially because there are proposals to bargain over. Furthermore, she pointed out that students with free and reduced lunch and special needs may suffer if a walkout occurs. Finally, Douglas intimated that instructors may themselves be blacklisted, have their certificates revoked, or be ostracized from future employment if complaints from the community to the department were processed.

That portion of the interview with Superintendent Douglas threatening potential reprisals against instructors shows an attitude that this country has not seen publicly since the McCarthy Era when many were blacklisted for their real or imagined beliefs. That attitude should not be ingrained in the public servants of our state or country in the year 2018. Fortunately, there are two Progressive Democrats (Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira)  just waiting for a chance, after one of them earns their party’s nomination, to replace her after the November elections.

Teachers do not want to walk out. Teachers want to educate and shape children’s hearts and minds. However, they cannot do it effectively when their salaries rank near the bottom of the country. They cannot do it passionately when they sometimes have to work a second job to put food on their table. They cannot do it competently when they are not provided the modern resources to do the job well.

This is about what is right for the children. It is a step in the right direction to make sure that the people who are responsible for them eight hours a day or longer are properly provided for. Making sure our schools are safe and provide all the features of Twenty-First Century culture and technology is another. The Superintendent and Governor are not going to get there by making idle threats or catering to the conservative whims of their alt right-reactionary sponsors who feel the McCarthy Era was “The Good Ole Days.” It is time to properly fund our schools, compensate our instructors and support staff, and prepare our children for tomorrow.

Shocking! Arizona Republican proposes a tax increase to support public education

This is like discovering that a species believed to be long extinct, like the dodo bird, is still alive and well and living in a small flock on some remote uninhabited island somewhere.

There is actually one Republican in the Arizona legislature who proposes to perform his constitutionally mandated duty under the Arizona Constitution and is willing to raise taxes in support of public education. Shocking! Republican lawmaker pitches $1 billion tax hike to prevent Arizona teacher walkout:

A Republican state lawmaker has a plan he hopes will prevent Thursday’s statewide teacher walkout and, at least temporarily, solve Arizona’s education funding crisis.

It involves a tax hike.

More than 50 Arizona school districts — and counting — will close during Thursday’s statewide #RedForEd walkout as educators push for higher pay and the restoration of $1 billion in cuts to education funding [over the past decade].

Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, told The Arizona Republic on Monday afternoon that he will introduce a budget amendment — whenever Republican legislative leaders introduce a budget — for a three-year, 1-cent education sales tax increase.

The plan would require the approval of two-thirds of the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey [i.e., the “Two-thirds For Taxes” Amendment, Prop. 108 (1992).]

The proposal would provide the state’s public district and charter schools with $880 million a year more in discretionary funding, and require the state to fully fund Arizona’s kindergarten students. It also could provide the state’s public universities with hundreds of millions of dollars a year in extra funding, though the exact amount remained unclear.

Campbell said his proposal would serve as a “temporary bridge” to allow voters to potentially approve in the 2020 election a long-term tax measure for education.

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Governor Ducey’s ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ plan to fund teacher raises; teachers to vote on strike

After our Koch-bot Governor Ducey went from “those damn teachers should be grateful for the pittance I gave them” to doing a complete 180 degree flip-flop last week, saying he would agree to the teacher’s demands for a 20 percent pay increase by 2020, the question he left unanswered was “how do you intend to pay for it?” In a rare editorial opinion the Arizona Daily Star editorialized, Star Opinion: Gov. Ducey’s 20 percent teacher raises? Show us the money.

The Arizona Capitol Times has a partial answer today, and as you might expect, it’s the same old dog and pony show the GOP does with the state budget every year. Ducey proposes spending sweeps, reductions and rosy revenues to fund teacher raise. Lord help us.

Gov. Doug Ducey plans on funding a 20 percent teacher raise over the next three years with rosy revenue projections (magic!) and a mix of funding sweeps, lottery revenues and spending reductions.

State budget analysts provided legislators an analysis of Ducey’s plan, which the governor announced on April 12 amid emphatic teacher protests and threats of a strike. The governor promised he would push for a 9-percent raise in 2018, to be followed by 5 percent raises in the next two years.

That plan would cost the state $240 million in fiscal year 2019 alone. By FY21, the cost rises to $580 million, according to budget documents obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times.

In fiscal year 2019, that includes $176 million added to the base funding formula for K-12 schools, and $64 million in one-time dollars meant to act as “bridge” to the adjustment in Proposition 301 approved by the Legislature.

The Prop. 301 extension, approved in March, will shift $64 million in debt servicing to the Classroom Site Fund in fiscal year 2022, when the debt is paid off.

On top of those dollars, another $165 million would be added for teacher pay in fiscal year 2020, followed by $175 million in FY21.

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Evil GOP bastards are plotting to deny your right to vote on Proposition 305

Tea-Publican state lawmakers are plotting with outside groups (read “Kochtopus” and Betsy DeVos) on a plan that could knock Proposition 305 off the November ballot before voters can decide the fate of Arizona’s expanded school-voucher program (vouchers on steroids bill). Will Arizona Republicans ‘repeal and replace’ voucher expansion to thwart referendum?

The goal is to repeal last year’s legislation that expanded the ESA program to all 1.1 million public-school students and replace it with legislation intended to address criticisms of the expansion, according to more than a half-dozen people familiar with the wide-ranging discussions.

Sen. Bob Worsley, a Republican from Mesa (a mythical moderate Republican), has talked in broad terms over the past week with lawmakers and outside groups about new Empowerment Scholarship Account legislation but did not offer specific details to The Arizona Republic.

The “repeal and replace” idea would circumvent Arizona’s referendum process, which allows voters to try to veto a law if they gather sufficient signatures to place it on the ballot.

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In Arizona, the will of the voters is irrelevant, the ‘Kochtopus’ corporatocracy decides what is law

Last month, the City of Tempe voted by a margin of 9-to-1 in support of more transparency in political spending. Near unanimity is virtually unheard of, and yet on the issue of the corrupting influence of anonymous “dark money” on elections, it was achieved. (It would appear that only lobbyists and political operatives who live in Tempe voted against the measure).

The City of Phoenix was also considering a similar measure to curb “dark money” in city elections, but our anti-democratic Tea-Publican state legislators who are dependent on the “Kochtopus” network of “dark money” stepped in with H.B. 2153, which would bar local control by cities and counties, and even the state from requiring political non-profits to disclose their anonymous “dark money” donors.

These anti-democratic Tea-Publican legislators effectively said to Arizonans “What the people of Arizona want is irrelevant, this state is a corporatocracy run by the ‘Kochtopus.’ They decide what is the law, and you will obey!” 91% of Tempe voters saw a problem. Arizona just outlawed a fix:

Rep. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, the bill’s sponsor, said the landslide passage of the Tempe measure on March 13 didn’t deter him.

“Lots of people in my district want the right to remain anonymous [read my corporate campaign donors] and that’s who I’m here to represent,” Leach said after the Senate passed the bill in March.

“Charitable organizations shouldn’t have the privacy of their donors jeopardized simply because they weigh in on a political issue that may affect them,” Leach said in a statement Thursday.

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Red-State Teacher Rebellion This Week

Oklahoma and Kentucky teachers are walking off the job Monday and holding rallies at their state capitols to pressure lawmakers. Oklahoma and Kentucky teachers plan to walk out in what could be huge rallies:

Inspired by the West Virginia strike in which teachers demanded and got a pay raise from state leaders, a wave of other states, including Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona, are taking similar action.

Educators are organizing and publicly pressuring state lawmakers over issues such as education funding, teacher salaries and pension reform.

Teachers in Oklahoma are rallying for more education funding and salaries, and those in Kentucky will be marching over a controversial pension bill and the state budget.

Arizona’s #RedForEd will be back at the state capitol on Wednesday. Arizona’s education funding shortages are the direct result of annual GOP tax cuts since 1992 that produced a structural revenue deficit. Why is Arizona teacher pay so low? Blame those tax cuts

Media coverage of possible teacher strikes in Arizona and Oklahoma, following one in West Virginia, has often overlooked an important contributing factor in those states: Excessive state tax cuts that have shrunk state revenues and thereby made it harder for states to devote adequate resources to education.

Reductions in state education funding largely due to tax cuts have limited pay and other resources for teachers.

And both Arizona and Oklahoma have supermajority requirements to raise revenue — the “Two-Thirds for Taxes Amendment,” Prop. 108 (1992) in Arizona — which tend to lock in tax cuts once they’ve been enacted and make it difficult for these states to address shortfalls in education funding.

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