A coalition of 15 organizations, AZ Schools Now, called on the Legislature and Governor Doug Ducey to deliver “sustainable, permanent and equitable investments” in the state’s public schools in 2018 and presented a menu of investment options the Legislature could enact that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Arizona’s K-12 public schools.
Dick Foreman, president and CEO of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition, said, “The business, faith and education communities are united in support for real and lasting investments in public schools – now. This investment cannot be satisfied with fund sweeps, future promises or marginal action. We are offering specific suggestions for a meaningful and welcome down payment towards the needs of our public schools and are ready and willing to work with the governor and Legislature to make this happen.”
“The Legislature has within its power the ability to make substantial and permanent investments in our public schools and teachers,” stated Linda Lyon, president of the Arizona School Boards Association Board of Directors and member of the Oracle Elementary School District governing board, “And we expect them to do just that.”
“We’ve waited an entire decade for the Legislature to make our schools whole,” declared Beth Simek, president of the Arizona PTA. “Of the $1.5 billion dollars slashed from public schools during the Great Recession, more than one billion is still missing. That means an entire generation of kids—my kids, your kids, our kids—have had to ‘make do’ with overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, a loss of critical support staff such as reading specialists and guidance counselors, and even a loss of the most basic and vital tool: a classroom teacher.”
“Enough is enough,” said Simek. “Parents are fed up with the excuses and not willing to wait another year for the governor and Legislature to take this funding crisis seriously.”
Alexis Aguirre, a second grade teacher in the Osborn School District and a 2017 CPLC Outstanding Latino Teacher Award winner, noted that teachers are discouraged by what they see at the Legislature.
“Our responsibilities and class sizes are growing while our paychecks remain stagnant,” stated Aguirre. “Receiving a one-percent stipend while others in state government receive double-digit raises doesn’t convince teachers that our lawmakers understand why dedicated and exceptional teachers are fleeing the state. We need real investments in our teachers, and we need them now.”
AZ Schools Now identified 10 revenue sources as potential funding streams the Legislature could tap for sustainable, permanent and equitable new investments in K-12 public schools. Those options include: