Tag Archives: Proposition 123 (2016)

The other show drops: Lawsuit against our lawless Tea-Publican legislature for unconstitutionally underfunding capital needs of school districts

I first posted about this pending lawsuit back in February 2015 and I have occasionally posted updates about its status.  Background: Update) Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature faces another lawsuit for its failure to fund public education:

Meanwhile, an earlier case in which our lawless Arizona legislature shortchanged our public schools, in which the Arizona Supreme Court held that the statutory financing scheme for public education violated the Arizona Constitution, Article XI, § 1, Roosevelt Elem. School Dist. No. 66  v. Bishop (No. CV-93-0168 1994), is now the basis for yet another lawsuit against our lawless Tea-Publican legislature.

A public interest advocacy group is planning a lawsuit alleging that the state has unconstitutionally underfunded building maintenance and soft capital for school districts, which could force the state restore hundreds of millions of dollars of budget cuts made in recent years.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest plans to sue on behalf of several school districts and taxpayers, said attorney Tim Hogan. The Glendale Elementary School District’s governing board in December [2014] voted to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff, and Hogan said he plans to bring in several other school districts, along with property taxpayers from districts that have approved bonds to make up for funding shortfalls.

“It will allege that the current system is unconstitutional because it doesn’t provide any dedicated capital funding to school districts sufficient to ensure that they meet the state’s minimum standards,” Hogan said of the lawsuit. “School buildings have to be renovated. They have to be repaired. They have to be maintained. And all of that requires significant dollars.”

In its landmark ruling in Roosevelt Elementary School District No. 66 v. Bishop, the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that the state had violated a provision in the Arizona Constitution requiring the state to establish and maintain a “general and uniform” public school system. As part of its settlement in the case, which led to the creation of the Arizona School Facilities Board, the state agreed to provide funding for building renewal, which covers all aspects of building upkeep and maintenance, and soft capital expenditures such as textbooks and computers.

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The ‘Kochtopus’ Goldwater Institute is plotting to lift the caps in the new ‘vouchers for all’ law

The evil GOP bastards at the”Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, are already plotting the next step in their 50 year strategy to fully privatize public education in Arizona (in violation of the Arizona Constitution). Howard Fischer reports, Lift on voucher cap in the works:

A key architect of the universal voucher plan approved Thursday is already looking to undermine the key provision of the compromise that secured the votes for the program’s expansion.

In a message to financial supporters late Thursday, Darcy Olsen, chief executive officer of the Goldwater Institute, said those who want to give more state money so parents can send their children to private and parochial schools should not be dismayed about the cap of about 30,000 that is in the final version of the bill.

We will get it lifted,” Olsen said.

And Olsen didn’t even wait until Gov. Doug Ducey had penned his approval hours later to the delicately crafted deal, a deal in which the Goldwater Institute participated — and the deal that managed to bring on the bare minimum 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate to secure approval.

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Arizona budget battle brewing over education funding

Budget negotiations are still in the early stages between our “Koch-bot” Governor Doug Ducey and our Tea-Publican legislative leaders. The Senate has not started detailed discussions with its Tea-Publican caucus, but the House has put forward its budget outline which directly conflict with the governor’s priorities on education matters (we’re still waiting for that “next step” the governor promised after selling the bogus Prop. 123 to voters last year).

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona House budget rejects most Ducey education proposals:

An initial budget proposal from Republicans in the Arizona House focuses available new funds on teacher raises and school capital costs, rejecting Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to parse it out over more than a dozen education-funding programs.

It also offers a larger tax cut than Ducey suggested.

Always with the tax cuts!

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(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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