Tag Archives: Proposition 123 (2016)

(Update) Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: state Supreme Court rules education funding is unconstitutionally low

Following up on an earlier post in which the right-wing Brownbackistan fna Kansas state legislature passed an income tax increase to balance the state budget after the devastating effects of Governor Sam Bownback’s “trickle down” tax cut utopia experiment, Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: pigs do fly!, Governor Brownback made his choice to veto the tax increase.

As I predicted, there were enough Tea-Publican anti-tax “trickle down” true believer zealots in the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto. Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax policies survive — barely — after Kansas Senate vote: “Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy was saved by three votes as the Kansas Senate fell short Wednesday of overriding his veto on a bill that would have generated $1 billion over two years.” “[M]any lawmakers in the House remain committed to rolling back Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts, which they blame for the state’s fiscal hole, and it could take months before they achieve a compromise.”

It is easy to imagine our Koch-bot Governor Doug Ducey and the anti-tax zealots in our lawless Tea-Publican legislature doing the same thing. Rather than raise taxes and reject the dogma of their “trickle down” tax faith, they would rather fiddle while Rome Arizona burns.

Now Kansas — as very well Arizona may face  from a future lawsuit — has another budget-busting disaster on its hands. Kansas Supreme Court Says State Education Spending Is Too Low:

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state’s spending on public education was unconstitutionally low, dealing a new blow to Gov. Sam Brownback, who is facing a rebellion from his own Republican Party over his trademark tax-cutting doctrine.

In a unanimous ruling, the court said black, Hispanic and poor students were especially harmed by the lack of funding, pointing to lagging test scores and graduation rates. The justices set a June 30 deadline for lawmakers to pass a new constitutional funding formula, sending them scrambling to find more money to pay for a solution.

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School ‘vouchers for all’ bill is baaack!

I have warned you for months now that the “vouchers for all” bill would be back in this legislative session, and sure enough . . .

Howard Fischer reports, Arizona proposal would expand ‘vouchers’ for private, parochial schools:

State lawmakers are making a new attempt to provide taxpayer-provided dollars to all 1.1 million students in Arizona schools to help their parents pay to instead send them to private and parochial schools.

The proposal by Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, would dramatically expand what has been a small program now reserved for students with special needs and those in failing schools. It would create what amounts to a universal “voucher” (aka “vouchers for all”) of state funds that could be used to pay tuition and fees at other (private and parochial) schools.

Now, this is the point where Howie should point out that this is unconstitutional, but nowhere in his report does he even mention this critical fact. Bad Howie!

The Arizona Constitution prohibits state funding to private and parochial schools:

Article 2, Section 12: “No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment.”

Article 11, Section 7: “No sectarian instruction shall be imparted in any school or state educational institution that may be established under this Constitution, and no religious or political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into any public educational institution of the state, as teacher, student, or pupil;”

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Ducey’s Classrooms First Initiative Council produces bupkis

Governor Doug Ducey’s blue ribbon panel, the Classrooms First Initiative Council, spent 18 months working on an education plan and THIS is what they produced: bupkis? I hope that no one got paid for this. This is just another bait and switch scam, like Governor Ducey’s Prop. 123.

The headlines today are equally skeptical. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Ducey’s council makes K-12 recommendations, but details are vague:

ClassroomsFirstA council empaneled by Gov. Doug Ducey to reform Arizona’s school funding formula released a set of ambitious recommendations. But exactly how they are to be achieved, how they will be funded and what steps the governor will take in the upcoming legislative session remain to be seen.

“What we did is really tackle the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’ We did not particularly delve into the ‘how.’ The ‘how’ is going to be a complex, complicated process with a lot of input,” Jim Swanson, co-chair of the Classrooms First Initiative Council, said at today’s meeting. “But for us to be successful, I think we need to give the governor and Legislature some room to maneuver and come up with some solutions that make sense.”

In his 2015 executive order creating the Classrooms First Initiative Council, Ducey asked for its recommendations, but not for a plan to implement them.

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Kansas Supreme Court holds its lawless Tea-Publican legislature accountable for inadequately funding public education

31.7% of Arizona’s registered voters voted in the May special election for Prop. 123. Of this disgustingly low voter turnout, Prop. 123 passed by a mere 19, 416 votes, 50.92% to 49.08%.

The vast majority of Arizonans did not even vote, and the few who did were closely divided.

The alternative was to pursue Cave Creek Unified School Distirct et al. v. Ducey in court, in which the Arizona Supreme Court has already ruled that the legislature had violated Prop. 301, a legislatively referred ballot measure for inflation adjustment to school funding. The only question remaining was how much the back-payment portion of the judgment would be, the trial court having already entered judgment on the current fiscal year portion of the judgment.

DorothyThe Plaintiffs in this case demonstrated a lack of faith in the court system by settling.  The clear message was that they believed the system was rigged in favor of our authoritarian Tea-Publican overlords.

There is a state even “redder” than Arizona, the state of Kansas. The school districts in that state have not lost faith in the court system to hold its lawless Tea-Publican legislature accountable for failing to adequately fund public education.

For the second time in two years, the Kansas Supreme Court smacked down the Kansas legislature for its failure to adequately fund public education — despite threats from the Kansas legislature to remove the justices from the bench by impeachment. Kansas Supreme Court gives state until June 30 to properly fund public schools:

The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday gave the state until June 30 to enact an “equitable” school funding formula or, it said, the state’s public schools won’t open for the 2016-2017 school year.

In its ruling, the court said that if a formula isn’t in place by then, the court will decide that “no constitutionally valid school finance system exists.”

“Without a constitutionally equitable school finance system, the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate beyond June 30,” the Supreme Court said.

“Accordingly, the Legislature’s chosen path during the 2016 session will ultimately determine whether Kansas students will be treated fairly and the schoolhouse doors will be open to them in August for the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year,” the ruling stated.

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Who are you going to trust? Not our lawless Tea-Publican legislators and governor

1-2-3I have explained several times, including Why you should vote no on Prop. 123, then kick every lawless Tea-Publican out of office and You keep using that word ‘immediately.’ I don’t think it means what you think it means., that Prop. 123 simply trades the current lawsuit for a new lawsuit(s).

The result will be that the school districts will not see an immediate infusion of money as Prop. 123 is being litigated in court.

Today The Arizona Republic has a good “explainer” piece on this topic. Prop. 123 could end 1 lawsuit, start another. It’s worth a read.

The Republic’s E.J. Montini continues to rail against the scam of Prop. 123. The hocus-pocus illusion of Prop. 123’s ‘guarantees:

We all know that magic tricks aren’r real, right?

The lady isn’t really sawed in half. The magician doesn’t actually levitate.
Likewise, the “guarantees” touted by the supporters of Proposition 123 … aren’t.

They’re more like very firm … suggestions.

They give a lot of leeway to the lawmakers, who for years have ignored the will of the voters from when Proposition 301 was passed in 2000. It lets them off the hook for purposefully disregarding that voter-approved law.

If they got away with it that time, why not again?

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GOP budget sacrifices Arizona’s children on the altar of tax cuts for corporate Plutocrats

Don’t say that I didn’t warn you — the rats like to do their dirty work at night under cover of darkness when no one is around to see what they are doing. While you were sleeping: Legislature approves budget:

Pedi_ExamIn the wee hours Wednesday morning, the Arizona Legislature approved a $9.6 billion budget that restores some funding to K-12 education and provides a tax cut for business owners, while ignoring passionate pleas to revive a children’s health care program for low-income families.

The spending plan that will head to Gov. Doug Ducey passed with Republican support while Democrats ripped its failure to revive the federally funded KidsCare, which they said would have covered 30,000 children at no cost to the state.

The budget voting ran until 1:40 a.m. . . .

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