A new school funding plan was passed by the legislature and signed by Doug Ducey. Emphasis on the word "plan." There's no guarantee schools will get any more money than they're getting now. The plan is to let voters decide whether or not to increase school budgets. Still, Ducey and his legislative buddies are risking injury by repeatedly patting themselves on the back for their generosity. "Landmark deal!" they proclaim. "We'll lead the nation in the amount we're increasing school funding!" "We support our children!" "We support our teachers!" "We support our schools!"
Um, no. No congratulations are due. The people who have illegally underfunded our schools all these years deserve blame and shame, not congratulations.
I like to use analogies to explain things, and my favorite on the education funding issue is to compare Arizona Republicans to deadbeat dads and moms. I like it because it's not really an analogy. It's a statement of fact. They've refused to spend $330 million a year in educational child support that's required by law. According to the judge, they're already more than a billion dollars behind on their child support payments, and counting.
Here's what they're congratulating themselves for. If the voters give them they go-ahead, they're willing to pay 70 cents on the dollar of what they owe, and 60 percent of it will come out of the kids' trust fund.
"This is our offer, take it or leave it," they're saying. "We'll grab 42 cents of what we owe you from the trust fund we set up for the kids' future, kick in 28 cents from our own pocket, and keep the rest of what we owe, 30 cents, for ourselves."
"Oh, and there's this," they add. "If times get tough, we'll stop payments, and maybe even ask for some of our money back."
So I say to each of you deadbeat legislators and Governor Ducey: This deal doesn't make you a great guy or a great gal. It doesn't mean you're supporting your kids. It just makes you less of an asshole than you were before.
And here's the sad part. There's a good chance people will take the deal, because they know it could be the last chance to get any more money out of those stingy sons of bitches.
Next: Damning the School Funding Plan With Faint Praise, Part Two: In 600 Years, We'll Laugh About All That Money We're Taking From the Trust Fund