(UPDATED) Activist Reaction to Invest in Ed Apparently Surpassing the Ballot Signature Threshold

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July 2, 2020, was a great day for Public Education in Arizona.

Activists, after a little less than five months, were able to gather a little more than 435,000 voter signatures to get the Invest in Ed 2.0 initiative on the November 3, 2020 ballot.

That was about 200,000 more qualifying signatures than were needed to submit to the Secretary of State to review.

Should Invest in Ed get on the ballot this November and pass, public schools and Arizona teachers will get a much-needed infusion of funding that the Republican-led state government has continuously failed to sufficiently provide.

Activist reaction to Invest in Ed passing this vital threshold has met with acclaim.

Several responded to requests for comment from Blog for Arizona to offer their perspective on last week’s event.

Arizona Children’s Action Alliance Head Siman Qaasim

Arizona Children’s Action Alliance head Siman Qaasim

“This afternoon, more than 430,000 signatures were filed with the Arizona Secretary of State to place the Invest in Education ballot initiative on the November 2020 ballot.  Children’s Action Alliance supports the Invest in Education Act because it will produce millions of new, sustainable dollars annually for public schools so that every Arizona child will have the opportunity to receive the quality education they deserve. Arizona has one of the worst teacher shortages and some of the largest class sizes in the nation. This measure will enable us to provide meaningful pay raises for teachers, classroom aides, and other student support staff.  This will also enable schools to hire more counselors, school nurses, and other staff who keep students healthy and safe. Investing in public education now is especially important so school staff and administrators can help students recover the learning losses caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”

 “A quality public school in every neighborhood is one of the most effective ways to create more jobs and economic growth and level the playing field for students of color. The Invest in Education ballot measure is a reasonable solution to produce the revenue our public schools need because working- and middle-class families and small business owners will not see any increase to their taxes. The wealthiest Arizonans, who continue to do well even during this crisis, will be asked to pay a little more so that every child can have the opportunity to learn and succeed. Business leaders support strong schools because they know that our future workforce must be prepared to meet the demands of the future economy.”

Arizona Center for Economic Progress Head David Lujan

Arizona Center for Economic Progress head David Lujan

 “I think it sends a powerful message to get more than 435,000 signatures during a pandemic.  It shows that Arizonans are tired of having our public schools funded at 48th in the nation, they are tired of seeing underpaid teachers, they are tired of growing class sizes, and they are tired of waiting year after year for the legislature to do something only to see continued inaction.  So Arizonans are taking matters into their own hands and will get the job done this November.  When this passes in November and begins generating millions of new dollars each year for our public schools it will be transformational for our public schools, and it will provide a tremendous boost for our business climate and economy.” 

Maricopa County School Superintendent Candidate Jeanne Casteen

Maricopa County School Superintendent Candidate Jeanne Casteen

 “The number of signatures for the #InvestInEd ballot initiative submitted last week just shows how much Arizonans want real change when it comes to fully funding our schools. Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop volunteers from getting more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Now it’s time to reach out to voters and share with them the facts about this initiative. We must fully fund public education in Arizona, and this is a good first step.”

Arizona Legislative District Eight State House Candidate Sharon Girard

Arizona Legislative District Eight Democratic House Candidate Sharon Girard

“Invest in Ed did it, congratulations!  They submitted the needed signatures and hopefully will get on the fall ballot.  Arizona is in desperate need of a dedicated revenue source of income for public education.  This critical funding is needed now more than ever. During this pandemic, education costs have risen yet there are calls to cut our education budget.  This won’t be tolerated by those who support public education.  The costs of this change will be more, not less, than ever before.  The virus is not going away and we must prepare for 2020/21 and beyond, by supplementing much-needed revenue for our starved and depleted system.  But it can’t stop there.  In the next legislative session, we must work hard to address these needs and create ways to increase funding, so our schools do not continue to suffer and children are not harmed anymore than they already are.”

Arizona Legislative District 22 State House Candidate Kathleen Honne

Democratic Legislative District 22 State House Candidate Kathleen Honne

“I am so proud to be one of the thousands of volunteers who collected signatures to ensure Arizona children finally have the fully funded education they deserve. The fact that we collected over a third more signatures than required, during a once in a century pandemic demonstrates Arizonans value public education and are ready to vote yes for an investment in our children and the people who provide this service, from instructional assistants to counselors and the more than 1800 unfilled certified teaching positions we had prior to the onset of COVID-19. As we move toward November, it is critical everyone sources their information carefully. Facts matter. A 3.5% increase on income above $2.5K is NOT a 78%, no matter what kind of math someone uses. It is, however, an infusion of approximately $900,000 million new money in education annually that the current Arizona Legislature refused to make for over a past decade.”

Arizona Legislative District 25 State House Candidate Suzanne Hug

Arizona Legislative District 25 State House Democratic Candidate Suzanne Hug

“I’m impressed and grateful to everyone who helped make this initiative happen. We know voters want better education and it’s ridiculous that the GOP led chambers have been playing politics with our future. Education is the driver of opportunity and prosperity, yet they undercut it again and again. I encourage everyone to vote for this initiative and to vote for candidates who support our public schools in the general election.”

 

 

 

Arizona Legislative District 11 State Senate Candidate Gunnery Sergeant JoAnna Mendoza

JoAnna Mendoza, Candidate for AZ Senate in LD11
Gunnery Sergeant JoAnna Mendoza, Candidate for AZ Senate in LD11

 “The 435,000+ signatures collected for Invest In Ed is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many volunteers and widespread support for this initiative. Investing in education is not only an investment in our children, but it’s also an investment in our state’s economy. By allocating more funds to education we can set future generations up for success and strengthen workforce development. It’s unfortunate that we have to resort to a ballot initiative because the GOP majority, including Senator Leach in LD11, has consistently voted to shift taxpayer dollars away from public education and towards private religious schools. Getting Invest In Ed on the ballot was just the first step. Now we need to make sure that it passes and that we elect candidates who will make our children a priority and fight to fully fund education. An investment in our children is an investment in our future.”

 Arizona Legislative District 11 State Senate Candidate Linda Patterson

LD 11 State Senate Candidate Linda Patterson

 “This is a golden opportunity and an exciting moment in our state! After decades of underfunding by the state legislature, we can vote for our kids so they will receive an education that pulls them out of the Grand Canyon of an educational system that is ranked 50th in the nation on numerous indexes.  Think of the possibilities we will create for our children and adolescents.”

“This bond will assess a small income tax on only the highest one percent of earners in Arizona.  These are the same individuals who have benefited greatly under the Trump Tax Reform initiatives and steep tax cuts granted in Arizona law.  To many supporters, this proposal is a step in the direction of creating a fairer tax system in our state.  Simply put, the more you make, the higher taxes you will pay.”

 “The future of Arizona is being educated today.  It is clear that our kids deserve so much more than senior writing classes of 48, no access to kindergarten, the inability to pursue electives that address their passions, and the career and technical educational opportunities that will launch them into work beyond high school.”

 Arizona Legislative District One  State House Candidate Judy Stahl

Arizona Legislative District One State House Candidate Judy Stahl

 “Congratulations to Invest in Ed for its astounding achievement of securing and submitting to the Secretary of State’s office over 430,000 signatures in support of putting the Invest in Ed initiative on the November ballot. To gather so many signatures during the COVID-19 crisis is a crystal-clear indication that high-quality education remains a top priority for Arizonans. Invest in Ed will raise more than $900 million annually for teachers and support staff without adding a tax burden on working families or people on fixed incomes. This will result in a self-generating and desperately needed funding source for the establishment of top-ranking public schools in Arizona.”

“As a state representative, I will put the creation of optimally performing public schools at the top of my agenda. That means making sure teachers have nationally competitive salaries, that classrooms are smaller and staffed with certified teachers, that all-day kindergarten is available for all children, and that buildings are maintained. The passage of Invest in Ed will help ensure that the legislature can act quickly to attain these essential goals.”

Tempe Union High School Governing Board Candidate Sarah James

Tempe Union High School Governing Board Candidate Sarah Lindsay James

 

“In 2018, many teachers ventured out on their first big political action and helped collect enough signatures to qualify the Invest In Education initiative for the ballot in under 2 months. When the supreme court kicked it off the ballot, teachers remembered their power as they lived through yet another year of underfunded education. On Thursday, July 2nd, despite the pandemic, we turned in 435,669 signatures to get Invest in Education on the ballot in November. Each one of those signatures represents hope for public education, and a dedication to funding education for our future. We know Arizona’s budget will suffer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so having a dedicated funding source for education is more important than ever. I know our education advocates are ready to do the work to help Invest in Education stay on the ballot and pass in November. Our future is counting on it.”

Kyrene School Board  Candidate Wanda Kolomyjec

 

Kyrene School Board Candidate Wanda Kolomyjec.

“As I have said before, and apparently Arizonans agree, education is a pillar of democracy. As such, it deserves import when funding priorities are considered. Collecting nearly double the required signatures during a pandemic should be a loud message to our legislators that access to an excellent education to ALL of our young students is paramount. While wealthy lobbyists try to undermine public education, everyday Americans continue to stand for public schools. I am thankful to the volunteers who persevered for the children of Arizona in getting this critically important measure on the ballot.”

 

 

 Cave Creek School Board Candidate Jeff Fortney

Cave Creek School Board Candidate Jeff Fortney

 Once again, Arizonans have spoken. Funding public education is still the main issue on their minds. They recognize that Arizona teachers are grossly underpaid. They understand that spending per student is near the bottom for the entire country.  They’ve discovered that far more money is spent on prison inmates than students. They now know that our current elected officials will never rectify this situation – so they took it upon themselves. To the tune of $900 million per year.

It’s not perfect. There is no perfect. Some argue “the rich” are being attacked or small businesses will suffer. These are not valid arguments, so hundreds of thousands signed. Because something had to be done.

Business, community, and education leaders agree; strong schools are one of the most important factors for society, leading to better housing values, attracting employers, and creating a better future. So actually, it’s pretty close to perfect. 

 Phoenix Elementary School Board Candidate Nik Martin

Phoenix Elementary School Board Candidate Nik Martin

“When the Arizona State Supreme Court shot down the Invest in Education ballot initiative the first time, teachers took the ruling to heart. 435,669 signatures later, and we are ready to secure funding for our students. Every signature and every petition is witness to the hard work of educators and the love they have for their schools. Shifting the focus to November when it passes, our school boards will be tasked with allocating the funds, and making sure every penny gets to our students, our teachers, and our classrooms.”

 

Tempe Union High School Governing Board Candidate Amando Montero

Tempe Union High School Governing Board Candidate Armando Montero

“As a proud product of our Arizona public schools, I am beyond excited to see that around 440,000 signatures have been submitted to put the Invest in Ed initiative on the November ballot! For too long, our public schools have been systematically underfunded which has led to Arizona being almost last in the nation for education. Our teachers deserve fair compensation and our students deserve access to a high-quality education no matter where they live. With current circumstances due to COVID-19, our public schools need Invest in Ed now more than ever.”

 

 

Please remember:

  • Primary Election Day is on August 4, 2020, and General Election Day is on November 3. 2020. Please see the below graphic for all-important voting dates. 
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  • Check-in with the Secretary of State’s office where you live to verify your mail-in ballot was received, processed, verified, and counted.
  • Know the voter ID requirements in your state.
  • If you can, support Clean Election Candidates with a small contribution.
  • Also, please remember to stay informed on all the candidates and vote for all the offices on the ballot.
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