Category Archives: Propositions

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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The lie of trickle-down economics that led to the #RedforEd teacher revolt

Flagstaff’s the Arizona Daily Sun editorialized that the governor and the GOP cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith when it comes to public school funding. Our View: Ignore Ducey and go for a dedicated school funding tax:

The first days of most strikes are easy.

Now comes the hard part.

Last week’s opening days of a statewide teacher walkout over pay and school funding were predictably high on energy and hope.

But as most labor leaders know, a walkout is about much more than just those walking the picket lines. It’s about winning the hearts and minds not only of community opinion leaders but of business owners and neighbors, too. There are bills on which to ask forgiveness, kids to ask the neighbors to care for and the sleepless nights that come with putting your career on the line. If it takes a village to raise a child, it will take an equally strong community to get their teachers through a work stoppage that is about all the right goals, even if the tactics turn out to be wrong.

The goals, of course, are to get every Arizona child the best education possible. That means giving students and teachers the best tools within the resources available. Better pay is thus a means to an end – it attracts the best teachers, stems rapid turnover and stabilizes a key sector of the local workforce. If other states with similar economic capacity have been able to do right by their teachers, why not Arizona?

The answer is more political and cultural than economic. Empty-nester retirees fleeing high-tax states and with little personal stake anymore in public education have encouraged conservative ideologues to pursue trickle-down tax cuts and privatized school choice, despite evidence that neither is working. Net corporate tax revenues on which public schools depend are off dramatically after a decade of tax cuts, and vouchers have served mainly to transfer public dollars to private and religious schools, regardless of educational outcome.

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Deal? No Deal!

Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the State of Arizona, is a practitioner of propaganda over policy. He rolls out a glossy media P.R. campaign and gets his corporate benefactors to pay for advertising praising him for his P.R. campaign. The substance of the actual policy gets lost.

Ducey did this for his #ClassroomsFirst initiative in which he declared himself to be the “education governor,” he did this to sell his unconstitutional Prop. 123 to settle the education inflation adjustment lawsuit against the state so that the state would not have to pay restitution for funds stolen by our GOP-controlled legislature, and he is doing it yet again with his #20by2020 teacher pay proposal.

Ducey’s dark money “Kochtopus” allies in the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry started a new group called the “Arizona Education Project” and fielded a $1 million soft-sell TV ad blitz to say  “Arizona schools are making progress.” Arizona “Ground Zero” for Koch Attack on Public Education. As the Arizona Daily Star editorialized, “no number of feel-good TV spots will change the fact that Arizona comes in last, or almost last, in numerous rankings of per-pupil state spending in the nation.” Education ad campaign doesn’t change the facts.

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A Sea of Red at the Arizona State Capitol Wanting Better Schools for Children

Red for Ed RallyToday was a great day for business at the Thursday State Capital Farmers Market as new customers in the form of education stakeholders involved with the functioning of our public schools came to the Capitol grounds, rallying for a better education and school climate for children.

With news helicopters hovering over the capital and public safety and state troopers making sure traffic safely proceeded, the education stakeholders (students, parents, support staff, educators, community members, aspiring and current office holders including Senate Pages) started arriving before 10:00 a.m.

They came from schools all over the valley. They were from elementary, middle, and high schools. Universities were there to show support. They traveled in cars. They filled and came in light rail trains. They mostly wore red shirts that featured slogans like “Save our Schools,” “Strong Schools, Strong State,” “Red for Ed,” and “Educators Strike Back.”
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Educators and their supporters line up on Baseline Road from Apache Junction to Laveen

In a show of solidarity before the teacher walkout starts today, the community of Maricopa County lined up with educators along Baseline Road from Apache Junction to Laveen from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to show the Governor and the Republican-led State Legislature that the fight to achieve fair compensation for their children’s instructors and support staff,  restore full  funding for their child’s schools, and modernizing their children’s schools has the support of the majority of the people.

Groups of parents, students, and educators from schools across the valley lined up on Baseline Road, mostly wearing red shirts. Some carried signs calling for fully funding our schools which are still funded at below 2008 levels. Walking along the road on McClintock and Baseline and the 101 and Baseline, you can hear the stream of cars honking support to the people lining up on the sidewalks.

Talking with a couple of instructors from a Mesa Elementary School, they relayed that they are willing to keep the walkout going as long as leadership in the Arizona Education Association (A.E.A) and Arizona Educators United (A.E.U.).When asked if they saw this walkout lasting as long as the ones in West Virginia and Oklahoma, they did not know. They said they will continue the fight on Thursday by gathering with fellow educators and supporters at CHASE field at 10:00 a.m. today and then march for a rally to the state capital at 12:00 p.m.

It is important for all sides to meet together and solve this situation for the children of this state who deserve a Twenty-First Education in safe school buildings that are overseen by respected and properly compensated instructors and support staff. Remarks by lawmakers calling for lawsuits against the teachers or accusing the Red for Ed leaders socialists trying to lead a revolution are not helpful. There are ideas on the table that can be negotiated. Instead of trying to make our teachers look like radical insurgents, our Governor should be reaching out to bring all representatives to the table so this can be resolved just in time for students to start class again on Monday.



In support of our hard-working, under paid and under appreciated teachers

The Arizona Daily Star does not do regular editorial opinions like many newspapers, but today the Star editorialized in support of our hard-working, under paid and under appreciated teachers. Star Opinion: We stand with Arizona educators:

The Arizona Legislature has been short-changing and devaluing public school educators and students for at least two decades.

The bill has finally come due. What seems like a whirlwind of public protests has been simmering for years, as educators waited — and waited — for the Legislature’s action to match lawmakers’ campaign rhetoric on supporting education.

They’ve reached a breaking point. And they’re right. Educators are taking a risk by walking out. We respect their fortitude and support their cause.

Thousands of Arizona educators are walking off the job Thursday morning to protest their low pay, untenable working conditions and the state’s long-standing refusal to do what is necessary to adequately fund public schools while offering tax cuts to corporations.

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