Save Our Schools Arizona
Weekly Education Report
55th Legislature, 2nd General Session
Volume 4, Issue 15 • Week of April 25, 2022
On Thursday, the stacked Arizona Supreme Court tossed citizen’s referendum Proposition 307 from the November ballot, denying Arizona voters the ability to reject Ducey’s massive tax cuts for the elite. These cuts will now be enacted, stripping upwards of $1 billion in critically needed funding from Arizona schools and students each year. SOSAZ remains fully opposed to any plan to provide kickbacks to the wealthy while Arizona schools are funded last in the nation.
What’s to be done about it? Knock doors, call voters, and do the work to elect pro-public education candidates to change the balance of power. Join us and special guest Senator Christine Marsh this Sunday night at 6 PM to learn more.
A small bright spot: SB1211, which would have forced teachers to post every single teaching tool they use every minute of the day (worksheets, articles, videos, websites, games, and more), failed its floor vote in the House, with Rep. Joel John (R-4) joining all Democrats to vote it down. The sponsor moved to reconsider the bill at a future date, but John is unlikely to change his mind, meaning this measure is likely dead.
Budget negotiations: Last week, House Republican leadership attempted to advance another "skinny budget." This continuation of last year's baseline spending would have left Arizona's current $5.3 million surplus unspent while Arizona families and schools desperately need support. Unsurprisingly, the measure failed, with Republican Reps. Michelle Udall (R-25) and Jake Hoffman (R-12) joining all Democrats to vote it down, for polar-opposite reasons. Udall wanted more spending, while Hoffman wanted a guarantee of no more spending.
At first glance, this represents further evidence of the deep schisms in our legislature, making it easy for jaded insiders to dismiss the task before lawmakers as simply impossible. However, the mood at the legislature is perceptibly tilted toward recognizing the need for investments in our public schools and communities. Rep. Joanne Osborne (R-13) voted yes to "continue the budget conversation," but spoke pointedly about the need for more state funding in a variety of areas, including public education. Those demanding no further spending on anything are outliers.
Legislative leadership must grow into this situation and admit that circumstances have changed. They can no longer ignore the very real needs of Arizona public schools and communities, nor can they continue negotiating with only Republicans. Our legislature has 90 members, not 47 — the time has come for majority leadership to admit they will not get every single thing they want this year (including private school ESA voucher expansion), and bring everyone to the table in order to govern.
We, the public, also face very real decisions. We have an extremist legislature, an executive branch taking its orders from special interests, and a co-opted judicial branch. There's only one solution: to create real change in November. SOSAZ is already working to ensure that voters elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot — donate HERE to support our deep voter outreach efforts across the state.
Arizona deserves real representation that does not enrich itself at the expense of schools, students and families. And, despite the naysaying of the jaded political elite, this is possible. After all, we are SOSAZ. We've done the impossible before. Why should this year be any different?
Calls to Action
🌟 Use our one-click email tool to tell lawmakers NO to their incessant attacks on public education
🌟 Join our statewide volunteer call this Sunday night for next steps and to learn how you can get involved
Bills Still in Motion
Many of these could be brought up for a vote with less than one day's notice.
Attacks on schools, school boards, districts:
Attacks on teachers & curriculum:
Watering down teaching:
What You Can Do to Help
Your voice matters! A simple phone call or email to your lawmaker asking them to prioritize funding for schools and responsible policies for education goes a long way. Make it clear that you expect well-funded and well-resourced schools where educators feel supported and students feel safe.
For Arizona to move forward and thrive, we need these critical discussions! Find your legislative district here. Email and phone info is here for your representatives and here for your senator. Please reach out and make your voice heard.
Here are some other easy actions you can take:
🌐 https://sosarizona.org /SaveOurSchoolsArizona @arizona_sos
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