Category Archives: Education

Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: pigs do fly!

News you never see reported in Arizona ….

Something truly remarkable happened last week: the state legislature of Brownbackistan fna Kansas passed an income tax increase to begin repairing the fiscal damage to the state caused by Governor Sam Brownback and Tea-Publicans’ religious experiment in creating a faith based supply-side “trickle down” utopia in America’s heartland. Pigs do fly!

The Kansas City Star reports, Kansas Senate passes tax increases opposed by Gov. Sam Brownback:

Gov. Sam Brownback has a choice to make.

After the Kansas Legislature on Friday approved legislation that would reverse his signature tax cuts, he can veto the bill or let it become law without his signature. He has already said he wouldn’t sign it.

“As with all legislation, Governor Brownback will review the bill closely once he receives it,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Melika Willoughby, said in an email.

The Kansas Senate passed the bill 22-18 Friday morning. Because no amendments were made to the legislation first passed by the House, it heads to the governor’s desk.

The bill is projected to raise more than $1 billion over two years by raising income taxes and ending a tax exemption for roughly 330,000 business owners.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican who voted for the bill, said the governor could get a popularity boost if he lets the legislation take effect.

“I’m not sure his ratings can go any lower,” Bollier said. “That clearly isn’t going to impact his decision, I don’t think. I would say if he does (let the bill become law), his ratings will go up, and if he had the guts to sign the thing, then they really would.”

Continue reading

Vouchers aren’t the solution!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

JLBC Report: No savings from “vouchers for all” bill, it will cost taxpayers mo’ money

What a shock! Senator Debbie Lesko is a liar, but then, you already knew that.

Lesko is the prime sponsor of the school “vouchers for all” bill, SB 1431, claiming that vouchers will save the state money. This right-wing ideologue is no economist, and those who get paid to know such things beg to differ.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) has issued a report that says the “vochers for all bill” will actually increase costs to the state  and will not result in a savings as its prime sponsor is claiming.

Don’t you just hate it when they call you out like that, Debbie?

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, JLBC concludes voucher expansion will increase costs to state:

Making vouchers universally available to pay for all children to attend private and parochial schools will actually increase costs to the state according to a legislative budget analysis and not result in a savings as its prime sponsor is claiming.

The report by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee figures the state will shell out an extra $13.9 million by 2020 if 2.6 percent of students move from traditional public schools to private schools.

But that’s only part of the issue.

SB1431 also would allow parents of kindergartners to get vouchers without ever having to first enroll their children in a public school and without any evidence of whether they were going to put their children in private schools anyway. And the report puts the cost of providing vouchers for them at another $10.6 million above what the state would otherwise pay to educate them in public schools, putting the total pricetag by 2020 at $24.5 million.

Even that may not be the end: If more than 2.6 percent of parents are interested in getting $5,600 vouchers — formally called “empowerment scholarship accounts” — the hit to the state treasury would be even higher.
And budget analysts warn there are other changes in the legislation that could boost even further the number of students seeking vouchers.

Continue reading

Senate Tea-Publicans advance unconstitutional school ‘vouchers for all’ bill

Don’t say that I didn’t warn you. School ‘vouchers for all’ bills scheduled to be heard beginning Thursday.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislators advanced their unconstitutional “vouchers for all” bill in the state Senate to open the door to all 1.1 million students in Arizona schools to use state dollars to attend private or parochial schools. Lawmakers move Arizona closer to school-voucher option for all students:

The 4-3 vote by the Senate Education Committee followed hours of testimony from people who already get what lawmakers call “empowerment scholarship accounts,” detailing how they’ve helped their children. Eligible groups include children with special needs, those living on tribal reservations and those who attend schools rated D or F, among others.

Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, sponsor of SB 1431, said vouchers save taxpayer money. She said schools get an average of $9,529 a year for each student while a typical voucher is in the $5,200 range.

But Chuck Essigs of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials said that’s misleading.

He said the $9,529 figure includes federal aid to schools as well as locally raised dollars for bonds and overrides. Essigs said the actual amount paid in state aid to schools is an average of $1,100 less per student than a voucher for an elementary school child; for high schools the difference is $1,200 per child, he said.

Continue reading

School ‘vouchers for all’ bills scheduled to be heard beginning Thursday

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature intends to fast-track the unconstitutional “vouchers for all” bills today in committee hearings. Tea-Publican legislators routinely disregard the advice of legal counsel. Rules attorneys warn bills are unconstitutional — to no avail.

The Arizona Republic reports, Republicans fast-track school-voucher bill in Arizona Legislature:

Republican lawmakers in the Arizona Legislature are attempting to fast-track a plan to eventually offer vouchers to every public-school student and, in separate legislation, privatize oversight of the public money given to parents to pay private-school tuition and other expenses.

Beginning Thursday, the Legislature will train its sights on the plan to broaden eligibility for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, a school-choice program created six years ago for disabled children. Under the legislation, all of Arizona’s 1.1 million students would be eligible for the program by 2020.

Sen. Debbie Lesko, of Peoria (above), and Rep. John Allen, of Scottsdale, have introduced identical bills to expand the program in their chambers, a move intended to expedite passage. ESAs allow families to use public-school dollars on private-school tuition and other educational expenses.

Continue reading

Money changes everything: GOP Senate approves unqualified Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary

For the first time in American history, a vice president had to vote in the Senate to break a tie on a Cabinet nominee, and Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Donald Trump’s education secretary. With historic tiebreaker from Pence, DeVos confirmed as education secretary:

The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary Tuesday by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Pence casting a historic tiebreaking vote after senators deadlocked over her fitness for the job.

The entire Democratic caucus of 48 senators voted against DeVos, as did two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who said they did not think that DeVos was qualified for the job. The remaining 50 Republicans voted for her, setting up a 50-50 tie that could be broken only with Pence’s vote.

It marked the first time that a vice president’s tiebreaker was needed to confirm a Cabinet secretary, according to Daniel Holt, an assistant historian in the Senate Historical Office. And it was the first time a vice president cast any tiebreaker in the Senate since Richard B. Cheney did so nine years ago.

Continue reading