This week I resigned from the Arizona Education Association, Retired Chapter. I have been a member of AEA since I began teaching in Arizona in 1980. The reason for this resignation was their support for the deceptively worded and band aid proposition 123. I’ve read it thoroughly and it changes the state’s responsibility for funding K-12 and secondary (college level) education. This proposition mitigates state funding by changing the state constitution to lower their disbursements from the general fund for education. This frees up money for tax breaks to large corporations (who funnel monies toward re-election campaigns to elected officials thru lobbying and anonymous organizations).
This proposition also rapidly depletes the state trust lands which were given to the state in 1912, upon entering statehood, by the federal government. This was to be used as a supplemental fund, to help with inflationary costs. It is currently sold at 2.3 percent of principal. Under proposition 123, it will be sold off at about 7 percent a year, diminishing the principal of the fund.
Even though proposition 123 funnels some money towards education, there is no guarantee that the state legislature will continue funding education adequately. When proposition 301 was passed, the tax monies generated for education were not used as a supplement for inflation. Instead, the state legislature subtracted that same amount of money from the education budget. This was a classic bait and switch ploy, with the result of schools, teachers, and students suffering. What needs to be done is for the state to pay the 330 million dollars that the court has ordered it to pay for the schools. This proposition is nothing more than a distraction! We need to elect pro public school representatives to the state legislature and fire those legislators who would destroy public education.
I would like to end with two quotations: The first is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican President. “You can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”
The final quote is from St. Francis of Assisi. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Let’s vote no on Proposition 123 and elect pro education candidates to our state legislature!