The potential nuclear bomb to public education was created 40+ years ago.
It is about to go off – and the effects will be devastating, crippling, and have an enormous impact on our students, teachers, schools and districts, and community. When the Aggregate Expenditure Limit amendment (AEL) was passed in 1980, the world of public education was a vastly different place. But it’s going to have a monumental impact today.
I am both a teacher in the Tolleson Elementary School District and a member of the Cave Creek Unified School District governing board. In Cave Creek, we are hanging onto the hope that the legislature, which has a history of turning a blind eye (or worse) to public education, does the right thing to ward off this disaster. Cave Creek will lose more than $5.7 million if the Aggregate Expenditure Limit is not addressed by March 1st.
To be prepared as we can be, devastating options are being considered:
- Temporarily closing schools
- Furloughing employees
- Canceling transportation
How can our elected representatives do this to public schools? Easy answer. The majority Does. Not. Care. They have been advocating privatization for so long that this is just another brick in the wall. “You say your school had to close? Bummer! Let’s help get you into a nice charter school (which is not affected by the AEL) or, better yet, a nice, expensive private school! We can help with a nice Empowerment Scholarship Account!!”
It’s a win-win for the Republican majority.
The legislature needs to do two things – in the words of Representative Judy Schwiebert (D-LD20):
“Work immediately to pass a clean concurrent resolution, without caveats, that allows school districts to exceed the Aggregate Expenditure Limit.
“Then work to abolish this arbitrary, antiquated policy. We have two choices: to allow schools to shut down on a technicality or usher them into the 21st century so our entire state can thrive. It’s time to choose.”