The Governor and Arizona State Legislature should be:
- Spending education dollars on helping traditional and charter public schools bring all of their ventilation systems up to standards that could help combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
- Funding an increase of the staff of the Arizona School Facilities Board so proper inspections can be made of the physical plants of all public school facilities.
- Helping to fund and better organize vaccination efforts so all teachers are treated more quickly so schools can reopen sooner.
- Appropriating funds to schools to fill in any budget gaps caused by the COVID 19 Pandemic.
They should not be wasting the people’s time by approving probably illegal and unpopular school voucher expansion programs that will make a corrupt Empowerment Scholarship Program system more disreputable and enable the upper class to scam the system for the virtual equivalent of school tax/tuition cuts.
Today, the Arizona State Senate, on a 16 to 14 party-line vote, passed SB 1452, a voucher expansion measure designed to “allow students on free and reduced lunch or those children that attend Title One Schools to apply for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to attend private schools, including religious ones.”
The bill passed the Senate Education Committee on a party-line vote on February 2, 2021.
Reacting to the SB1452’s passage, Liz Luna, the Deputy Executive Director of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (AZDLCC) issued a statement that read:
“For years, Republicans have refused to act meaningfully to improve funding for our public schools in Arizona. Today, the Senate voted along straight party lines to pass a voucher expansion bill that would drain millions of dollars from our public schools.
The vote today on SB1452 is a slap in the face to the tens of thousands of teachers who walked out in 2018 and marched on the Capitol. Every yes vote on SB1452 is an insult to the voters who overwhelmingly rejected expanding vouchers in prop 305 and the voters who passed prop 208, directing our state to invest more in public education.
Arizona voters have been fighting for more than a decade for substantial investment in our public schools. Every Republican in the Senate voted for this legislation and should be ashamed. Their votes are disrespectful to the teachers who have been working overtime to support students and families throughout the last year of this pandemic.”
Dawn Penich-Thacker, the Communications Director and Co-Founder of Save Our Schools Arizona also released a statement, writing:
“Save Our Schools Arizona is deeply disappointed in the Arizona Senate, which passed yet another massive private school voucher expansion by one vote along party lines. Senate Bill 1452 would make the vast majority of Arizona students eligible for private school vouchers while also decreasing accountability and transparency of these dollars – each one a tax dollar siphoned out of the public schools 95 percent of Arizona families choose. Despite Arizona voters repeatedly voting to reject private school voucher expansion and fund public schools, out-of-state lobbyists and anti-public education politicians have once again shown they have no regard for the will of voters and taxpayers. As this destructive bill progresses to the Arizona House of Representatives, SOSAZ reiterates our vow to take all steps necessary to stop this attack on our public schools, whether by citizen’s initiative, referral to the 2022 ballot, or litigation.”
Public Dollars belong in Public Schools.
It is sad that the members of the former Party of Lincoln, instead of devoting all their time to tend to the needs of the residents of the Grand Canyon State, persist in these doomed to fail (at either the ballot box or courts) fringe measures that will not elevate quality education in Arizona.
Voters in Arizona should not forget that these legislators, instead of voting to make public schools safer, approved a measure designed to tear them down.
See them in court or at the ballot box.