There are four good arguments in favor of the InvestInEd public initiative, according to David Schapira, a Democratic Candidate for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The InvestInEd public initiative creates a dedicated funding source to keep teachers in Arizona classrooms and give students the one-on-one attention they deserve.
Schapira is former Senate Democratic leader and current Tempe City Council member. He spoke at a recent meeting of the LD9 Democrats in Tucson.
➊ It will restore the $700 million in state funds cut from education over the last 10 years. “The Republican majority in the Legislature decided to balance the budget on the backs of our kids. Pima and Maricopa county colleges county lost every penny of funding from the state, and the universities cut were cut too,” Schapira said. “The RedforEd movement convinced the Legislature to put money back into public schools. But even after that our public schools still have $700 million less than they did a decade ago.”
|Subscribe to my weekly Getting Active in Local Politics newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dmzvUb. Then go to a meeting and Get Active in Local Politics!|
InvestinEd will close that $700 million gap. “I have a kindergartener and a second-grader. I believe my kids deserve to have at least the resources that students had in 2008. That’s what InvestInEd does.”
➋ It raises new revenue by asking Arizonans who can afford it (earning more than $250,000) to pay more in their state income taxes. “Our Legislature and governor have cut taxes on highest-income folks over the last 30 years. InvestInEd sets highest income tax bracket to what it was in 1987 before they began cutting taxes,” Schapira said.
If the voters approve the initiative, Arizona’s income tax rate will change:
- from 4.54% to 8.0% for taxable income from $250,000 to $500,000 for individuals and from $500,000 to $1 million for families.
- to 9.0% for taxable income above $500,000 for individuals and above $1 million for families.
“Our current tax structure in Arizona is upside down,” he said. “The sales tax is regressive and volatile. That is the worst way to fund education.”
“The poorest 30% of people in Arizona — combining the sales tax, protest tax, and income tax — pay the highest percentage of their income into the state’s general fund.”
➌ Once passed by the voters, this funding cannot be taken away by the legislature during good economic times or bad. “Our state used to be a model for public education. My parents had confidence we kids would get the great education we deserve. Our kids are not going to get those kinds of opportunities if we don’t restore this funding.”
“I talked to students in Quartzite, where they don’t have a math teacher in the school. That’s unacceptable. Gov. Ducey took a $30,000 helicopter ride to visit them to tell them how great things are.”
“There are 2,000 vacant teaching positions in Arizona. That’s unacceptable,” he said.
➍ The state has had a series of Superintendents of Public Instruction who have worked actively to dismantle the public education system. “We have not had an educator the position for 24 years. Republican Diane Douglas advocated to take money out of the public system to put it into private school vouchers,” he said.
Diane Douglas has no experience teaching a classroom of children or enacting public policy. She ran a shadow campaign, only speaking to friendly conservative media and failing to show up to 16 public events.
“The Superintendent of Public Instruction we elected chose to put her efforts into private schools. Her job is to be an advocate for the public education system at the state capitol. “
Schapira is a Clean Elections candidate. “But we’ll be up against the Koch brothers, Betsy Devos (US Secretary of Education) and all the dark money,” he warned.
Schapira said that the #1 issue in this election cycle is funding public education. “This issue will bring out people who don’t usually vote. One-third of teachers are not registered to vote, but that is changing very rapidly.”
As a public school high school instructor, a professor at Arizona State University, and administrator at the East Valley Institute of Technology, Schapira is familiar with academic and non-academic spheres of school operations.
“There were 65,000 of us at the state capitol in April. I met people who didn’t know there was a state Legislature — they thought there was only Congress. They didn’t know that there was a State Superintendent of Public Instruction. We had the opportunity to educate our colleagues in education and they’re now registered to vote.”
“We’ve been getting a great response. The prediction sure that if the Democrats win only one race, it’ll be this one.”
Volunteer for David Schapira by visiting his website at www.davidforaz.com.