Yesterday I wrote about the gap between what Ducey wants us to think
he means when he calls Prop 123 a "first step" and what he really means. He wants to leave the impression that he believes Prop 123 is a first financial step, a down payment on a significant increase in school funding. What he actually means is, he wants to keep, or lower, the budget's current per-student funding rates while shifting as much of that money as possible toward high rent school districts and charter schools.
I have a suggestion. Let's take Ducey at his word, or at least what he wants us to believe is his word. Let's pretend he's really advocating for increasing the amount we spend on education. And then let's be APPALLED! and OUTRAGED! when he goes back on his word. Hell, let's hold every one of the First Steppers to the same standard. If you say Prop 123 is a first step, that means you're an advocate for budgeting more money for public schools as soon as possible.
Looking at the budget deals being cut by Ducey and the Republican legislative leadership, we need be APPALLED! and OUTRAGED! right now.
Thursday, Ducey & Co. were talking about cutting $21 million from school funding. That's absolutely appalling. Lowering the amount our state budget allots for our children's education when we're already one of the lowest spenders in the nation? Outrageous! Especially when you promised to increase funding by telling us Prop 123 is just a first step. This morning it looks like there's a deal afoot to restore that funding. Again, unbelievable! Outrageous! That's the best you can do, put back the money today you stole from our kids yesterday? I thought you said Prop 123 was only a first step in boosting funding for public education. Where's the rest of the money you promised?
Let's put some figures to what the next step might be after the approximately $300 million "first step" taken by Prop 123. As a starting point, we'll use one of the more generous assessments, from the U.S. Census, of where we stand in the national per-student-funding category: 49th place. That extra $300 million from Prop 123 leaves us right where we are, stuck in 49th place. If we want to tie with Number 48, Oklahoma, we'll have to add $200 million a year to the state budget on top of the Prop 123 funds. To get even with Number 47, Mississippi, the state budget contribution will have to increase by $600 million.
Let's not even think about adding what the state would have to kick in to bring us up to the national average. That would be $3.2 billion a year, or roughly the total of what Prop 123 will add to our children's educations over its entire ten year life span.
If we hold Ducey and his henchmen to their "first step" promise and they fail to come through, we should express our outrage by calling them liars and hypocrites, loudly and repeatedly. If they refuse to make good on their promise, we should throw them out of office sooner rather than later and replace them with people who actually care about our kids. And if they say, "We didn't really promise we'd spend more money, that's not what we meant when we said Prop 123 was a first step," then we accuse them of being in league with the Prince of Darkness, the Princes of Dark Money and all the other deceivers who create cunning and devious ways to lead us astray. That's an even better reason to throw them out of office.