Category Archives: Political Calendar

Moving Forward: What is next for Red For Ed?

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting.

Fresh off the week-long statewide teacher walkout, Red for Ed co-leader Noah Karvelis answered questions on what his organization accomplished and where its members will channel their energies in the coming months. Karvelis expressed happiness with the movement they were able to energize, the “empowerment” Arizona teachers harnessed in the walkout, and the down payment in increasing funds towards our state schools. This was more impressive given that the Red for Ed Movement did not negotiate directly with Governor Ducey or any of his allies.

He acknowledged the contributions of other leading Red for Ed Team Members like Derek Harris, Rebecca Garelli, Dylan Wegela, Vanessa Arredondo, Heather Nieto, Brittani Karbginsky, Kelley Fisher, Kellee Wolfe, and Cat Barrett,

Moving forward,  Karvelis (who is also the campaign manager for Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Kathy Hoffman), said that the goals for Red for Ed are to bring education funding to the level where it was in 2008. What passed the State Legislature last week was still $700 million short of restoring parity to our education funding needs. To that end, the movement will champion and campaign for the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative.

Saying the wealthy should pay their “fair share,” Karvelis expressed reservations about a sales tax to fully fund education, calling it “regressive.” He favors Invest in Education coupled with other measures that would bring in funds from a “devoted revenue source” such as income tax increases with a trigger to adjust funds for inflation.

On other education-related issues, Karvelis conveyed that support staff should perhaps be salaried instead of hourly wage employees. Furthermore, he indicated that a $100,000 grant to the Koch sponsored-centers at Arizona State University and University of Arizona was “highly problematic” and indicative of an organization using public funds to “proliferate their agenda.”  Finally, on Proposition 305, Mr. Karvelis wrote that school vouchers with public funds were a “direct attack on public schools and public education.” He also stated that “public dollars should be spent on public schools, not on vouchers for private and charter schools.”

Mr. Karvelis and his team should be congratulated for the positive change they have helped usher in for Arizona’s public schools. Congratulations and thanks should also be extended to everyone that was willing to fight for better conditions for Arizona children’s schooling. As Karvelis and the other members of Red for Ed would point out, there is a long road moving forward. There are pro-education candidates to support in the November elections.

Voters need to read where each candidate, from both parties, stand on the issues of moving children’s education forward to help make an informed decision. There are ballot initiatives to fight for and against. Finally, there are dark money and open reactionary interests to ward off. If the people make fully informed decisions and objectively evaluate where the candidates stand on the issues, the sun should rise on a bright day on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

 

 

Political Calendar: Week of May 6, 2018

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Political Calendar for the Week of May 6, 2018:

Monday, May 7, Noon: Democrats of Greater Tucson luncheon, Dragon’s View Restaurant (400 N. Bonita, South of St. Mary’s Road between the Freeway and Grande Avenue, turn South at Furr’s Cafeteria). New price: buffet lunch is $10.00 cash, $12 credit; just a drink is $3.50. Featured speaker is Alison Jones on “The economic case for Progressivism.” Next Week: J.P. Martin, candidate for LD 9 House.

Monday, May 7, 6:30 pm.: Pima County Democratic Party executive committee meeting.

Tuesday, May 8: National Teacher Day. Show your appreciation for Arizona’s teachers today.

Tuesday, May 8, Noon: Democratic Women of Rim Country meeting, at Tiny’s Family Restaurant, 600 Arizona Hwy. 260, Payson, AZ. Meet the second Tuesday of each month. For more information please contact paysondems@gmail.com or call (928) 468-9669.

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The First Chapter Completed in Funding our Schools? Maybe not for Tucson.

Walking around the state capital late this morning, there were universal signs of enthusiasm, passion, and unity among the supporters, dressed in red,  for increasing school funding. People held signs advising gatherers to remember the November elections and the need to vote in people who will finish what started this week.

The well-organized and very visible Superintendent of Public Instruction campaign of David Schapira, with signs and volunteers throughout the capital park,  joined with the forces promoting the Invest in Education Ballot act, collecting signatures. The leaders of the Red for Ed Movement were not letting up, with leaders like Noah Karvelis telling reporters what will happen next.

Not satisfied with the budget that passed today, district union representatives were telling their people from their districts that the fight must still go on after a week of rest and returning to the classroom. These representatives encouraged teachers to collect signatures for the Invest in Education Ballot Initiative, by collecting at least 200,000 signatures so 150,000 will be validated. They also said that they needed to work towards electing public school advocates this November, no matter which party they belonged to.

The one area of immediate concern expressed was when a few of the educators from Tucson relayed that their districts may not reopen for a couple of reasons.

  • First, they are justifiably not happy with how the support staffs have been treated.
  • Second, they are understandably furious that Pima County, unlike Maricopa, did not have their property tax increases in the budget taken care of by the state government. Saddled with this increase, net instructor raises would be minimized and support staff would receive a net cut in their salaries.

What will happen in Tucson and the other Pima County District Schools will be revealed later. It is important that the Red for Ed Movement stick together and work to correct this imbalance this county is beset with as well as the other funding issues not addressed in this budget. It is six months to November and there is a lot of work to do.

 

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/03/arizona-teacher-strike-scottsdales-ingleside-pima-madisons-madison-park-open/577156002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona-education/2018/05/02/arizona-budget-legislature-teacher-strike-redfored/575753002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/03/redfored-has-changed-arizona-politcs-so-who-won-and-who-lost/577208002/

 

 

It looks like the First Chapter in Increasing Education Funding is not quite finished yet.

It appears the teacher walkout will continue into tomorrow (maybe Friday as well)  as the Legislature was unable to pass a budget as originally planned. State Representative Townsend, a foe for increasing Education Funding, indicated that the budget may not pass until Saturday. Educators and their supporters will be back at the capital and other locations tomorrow and remain there until the legislature completes its responsibilities.

While the budget process lingers, please take time to review the amendments Democrats are offering to the budget that affect education. These include measures to “cap” class sizes, give raises to support staff, and reducing the counselor to student ratio.

Finally, also review the other budget provisions in education that are being debated such as a “repeal and replace” of the voucher measure or giving twenty percent of the University increased budget to two Koch Brothers-sponsored centers (one at Arizona State University and the other at the University of Arizona).

Please contact your legislators and let them know your views on these budget priorities for our K-12 schools and state universities.

Please remain patient. This is the first step in ensuring that all so children in the state get a first-rate quality education. This is just a short delay that will hopefully be over in 48 hours. Afterward, the educators will be back at school and the movement to increase education funding will take the shape of electing candidates in November that want to properly fund schools and working to pass measures like the Invest in Education Ballot Initiative.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/02/arizona-teacher-redfored-walkout-really-end-thursday-legislature-budget/574251002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/02/arizona-house-take-up-back-door-voucher-expansion-bill-today/573499002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/01/asu-ua-koch-brothers-economic-freedom-schools-arizona-budget/570667002/

A New Chapter Dawns on the Fight For Education Funding

The leaders of the Educator Walkout (Red for Ed and the Arizona Education Association) signaled that the teachers and support staff would return to the classroom on Thursday if the Governor signs a budget that provides a raise to teachers and monies to go towards support staff and other urgent school needs.

Is this the perfect solution to Arizona’s school funding woes? No, this is simply a down payment on solving the needs our Public Schools have in providing a first-rate quality education to the state’s children.

With the closing on this chapter where the walkout brought the Governor and legislature to agree to a teacher raise and additional monies for schools, a new one will start to be written on Thursday as educators return to the classroom.

There is a ballot initiative to fund education through taxing high-income earners that must be debated and voted on.

There is an election in November where voters will have a chance to choose Progressive Candidates in a new Superintendent for Public Instruction, a new Governor, and many new legislators. If chosen by the people, these public servants will continue what started this last week and fully funding our schools by following the ballot initiative, closing corporate tax loopholes, or both. They will chart a new course to take our schools into the Twenty-First Century where our students are actively engaged and challenged in safe and modern buildings with educators who are well compensated.

These future opportunities for the children and their schools are in the next chapter that still needs to be written. It can not happen without the people banding together to help to write it so please remember to participate, engage in the process, and vote this November. Nothing can happen without you.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/01/redfored-teachers-stay-legislature-debate-arizona-budget/569229002/

 

 

Differing Plans for Different Philosophies to Solve the Education Funding Crisis in Arizona

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

As the educator walkout continues this week, there are currently five published plans that have been offered to solve the funding crisis our education community faces in this state. Each plan has positive features to one or more groups. All of them have drawbacks to one or more groups. Hopefully, mature public servants on both sides will get together and try to fashion a plan based on aspects of part or all of these proposals that will enable the children and educators to return to school.

Plan One: Invest in Education Act Ballot Initiative

What is the scope of the plan? To place an initiative on the November ballot to raise the state income tax on high earners to raise monies to fully fund schools. People earning from $250,000 to $499,000 would pay an additional 3.46 % in state taxes or $17,265.40 maximum. People earning $500,000 or higher would pay an additional 4.46 percent or $22,300 minimum.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Superintendent Candidates Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira, Gubernatorial Candidate David Garcia, Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Increasing the state income tax for high earners.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan? It is a steady and consistent revenue stream that would not be susceptible to an economic downtown like a sales tax.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? As designed, it only raises close to $700,000,000 of the $1,000,000,000 needed to fully fund schools. Also, as columnist Laurie Roberts points out, it does not ask any of the other income groups to contribute. This initiative puts the added burden solely on high-income earners. This could potentially galvanize the corporate right and create a highly charged partisan fight, waking up the conservative base just as the Blue Wave hits in the November elections.

Plan Two: Governor Ducey’s Plan

What is the scope of the plan? To give teachers a 20 percent raise in stages by 2020.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Governor Ducey and his allies in the legislature.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Revenues based on economic performance and possible reallocation from other sensitive budget areas for the needy. This may also include the shifting of property taxes to local communities where they are forced to pay more.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan?  Most of the teachers would get a raise.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? First, it does not fully fund education or even the teacher raises. How are the teacher raises determined in the local districts?  Where are the raises for support staff?  Where are the monies for capital improvements and investments? They are not there.

Second, the funding apparatus, even in its revised form is both unclear and unstable. Updated proposals relayed that the Governor would divert funds from other areas of need like prescription drugs to fund the raises, which would be pitting one group of needy recipients against another. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposals depend on a consistently strong state economy. There are no provisions, other than raiding other budget areas, like prescription drugs, if there is a downturn.

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