“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.
One hundred Valley Interfaith Project leaders from Legislative District 28, North Phoenix and Paradise Valley, gathered Feb 11 for a Civic Academy on state education finance.
VIP Leaders taught in detail fiscal constraints the state has placed on public education over the past 40 years, when once ranked in upper half of states for per pupil spending.
Special Guests in attendance were State Superintendent of Education, Diane Douglas, Legislators Kate Brophy McGee and Eric Meyer, Paradise Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Jim Lee, and the Morrison Institute’s Dan Hunting.
VIP leaders taught about the mounting legislative threats to public school funding: universal Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, phasing out of desegregation funds, and the quiet change to current year funding in the past budget cycle. All of which threaten to undo he progress proposed by Proposition 123, a negotiated settlement to partially restore withheld state inflation funding.
Four hundred Valley Interfaith Project leaders crowded into Scottsdale United Methodist church Nov. 5 to discuss state school finance with four area legislators.
This action came on the heels of a much publicized legal settlement to reinstate a portion of the inflation factor funds that were withheld from schools during the budget cutting of the recession. VIP sought commitments from legislators to move the needle and push Arizona per pupil funding up to the national average. The state ranks 49th in student spending, and the recently announced settlement will move the state up to … 48th.
Legislators in attendance were Representatives Kate Brophy McGee and Eric Meyer, along with Senators John Kavanagh and Adam Driggs.
VIP leaders also launched a voter education campaign that will extend into the spring and summer of 2016.