Public Education panel discussion at LWVGT meeting


    Alternate title:

    LWVGT Voter Education Program. Topic: Duct Tape: Patching Public Education in a Low Tax State

    Location: Joel D Valdez Pima County Library – 101 N Stone, Tucson … LL Meeting Room. Free parking in the library garage – enter from Alameda.


    “Duct Tape: Patching Public Education in a Low Tax State”

    “Since the Great Recession of 2009, our public schools in Arizona have experienced drastic changes in funding. Districts have been literally holding their buildings together with duct tape! Some funding is slowly being restored for both school capital funds and teacher pay. But what are the costs to teachers, parents, students, and the community when we refuse to fully fund our schools? What more can be done to restore education funding to adequate levels?

    The League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson will host a Voter Education Program to hear from local recognized experts. It will be held on Saturday, October 19th, at the Joel Valdez Library, 101 North Stone. Refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 10 a.m. and conclude by Noon. It will be held in the lower level meeting room, accessible from the parking garage under the library that is FREE on Saturday. The entrance is off Alameda just west of Stone.

    Our speakers will be David Lujan, Director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress and former state legislator; Lisa Cervantes, Chief Administrative Officer for the Vail Unified School District; and John Pedicone, retired TUSD and Flowing Wells Superintendent and member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

    The program is produced by the Voter Education Program Committee. President Vivian Harte will welcome and introduce the panel and committee member Kate Stewart will moderate. Written questions will be accepted.”

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


    1. Depressing talks about AZ public education with inadequate funding, despite being 2nd fastest growing state in nation (behind Utah). 35 people in attendance to hear first from David Lujan who gave history of the tax cuts since 1990, with 2.8 to 5 B less, with 74% of AZ corporations paying only less than $50 in 2015. AZ now ranks 49 or 50 in states per pupil funding, with one of the highest incarceration rates in U.S. per 100,000 people. He didn’t see way out w/ 1992 when a Constitutional Amendment was passed requiring 2/3 votes of House & Senate to raise taxes. Lisa Cervantes spoke of her 13,000 students in Vail School District and the various formulas and funding cuts over the years, with 3 new schools promised but no adequate way to fund them. Dr.John Pedicone spoke of the So. Az Leadership Council (business leaders) who want to find a long term sustainable funding options for public ed. He also praised the Red for Ed movement which raised teach salaries somewhat.
      Questions from audience were about budget surplus (640 M) in Arizona; how change corporate tax breaks; do charter schools’ existence affect public schools; any studies to evaluate tax cuts on public schools; any citizen initiative to reverse law about 2/3 vote needed to raise taxes, are business leaders/CEOs lobbying the state legislators to increase public ed funding; who are new people moving to Vail School District; what businesses move to Tucson for these tax cuts; how get word out about the tax cuts to corporations. Lisa said that her district used to go out of state to recruit teachers and no longer do so due to the dismal funding situation.

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