“Even before the results of the Prop. 123 special election were known, teachers, students, parents and community members came together at the #NowItStarts rally at the state capitol on Thursday afternoon to focus on the serious funding issues Arizona schools face Arizonans are ready to discuss concrete steps for further investments in public schools, said The Rev. Martha Seaman with Valley Interfaith Project.
“The relentless pattern of disinvestment has to stop,” Seaman said at the rally.
“The future of our families and our shared prosperity requires strong schools.,” Seaman said. “We can’t have a viable economy without a high level of education. It’s the best investment we can make. We can’t tax break ourselves into prosperity.””
In photo, Rev. Martha Seaman with VIP speaks on the Capitol lawn. Behind her are Jessica Johnson (VIP) and Christine Marsh (Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2016 Teacher of the Year) along with VIP organizer Joe Rubio.
[Excerpt below from Oped by Rev. Martha Seaman and Rabbi John Linder of VIP]
“As the Prop 123 election draws to a close and sentiment around it is more polarized, we need to underscore the importance of its passage. While admittedly imperfect, it does provide a way to get beyond the long-standing school inflation lawsuit.
We wish the agreement provided more than 72% of what the schools are owed. We’d also prefer that the dollars came directly from the General Fund rather than the State Land Trust and that it would omit seemingly arbitrary spending ceilings. But Arizona has dug such a deep hole for education funding for over three decades that our schools need an immediate infusion of funds, particularly to pay teachers long overdue raises….
The proposition can be a constructive first step—if it is connected to a plan…”
VIP leaders hand delivered a letter signed by 81 Arizona clergy, asking Gov. Ducey to reinstate KidsCare for 30,000 uninsured children. The legislature is set to debate and pass the state budget any day now, and the KidsCare measure needs to be included to allow for KidsCare to resume. There will be no cost to the state general fund.
With almost 400 signatories, faith, business and civic leaders posted a full-page newspaper ad calling on the Arizona Congressional Delegation to act on immigration reform. The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, with the Arizona Interfaith Network, sponsored its publication in the Arizona Republic. This letter is the same one signed by Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted with Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares, Rabbi John Linder, and ELCA Bishop Steve Talmage three weeks prior.