Wednesday, May 18, 2016

With Prop 123 Hanging in the Balance, the Push For Education Funding Begins. #nowitstarts

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 3:31 PM

I would have preferred a cleaner, clearer outcome, a two or three point spread on Prop 123 no matter whether it went up or down, but here we are, stuck in the middle. We'll know, maybe by Friday, maybe next week, if it squeaked by or just fell short.

Meanwhile . . .

The next step begins. As the twitter hashtag says, #nowitstarts. The vote counting and the court battles which will inevitably follow mustn't obscure the fact that Prop 123 is only about giving back the money for our children's educations which voters demanded in 2000 and the Republican leadership took away illegally in 2009. It's about trying to get back to Arizona's previously lousy per student funding before the majority leadership used the recession as an excuse to make it even lousier. And if Prop 123 passes, then manages to jump over whatever legal hurdles are put in front of it, that won't get us all the way back. That will only get us 70 percent of the way there. If it goes down, we're back to the earlier unresolved court battles which, if they're resolved in the schools' favor, will bring us 100 percent of our previously lousy per student funding.

Either way, it's not enough. Not nearly. We're thousands of dollars per student below the national average. States lower than us on the economic ladder spend more than we do.

The next important step for us regular folks isn't watching the vote counts ebb and flow or following the court fights. Those are spectator sports. Most of us can only watch passively, there's not much we can do. The next important step is at the ballot box. Vote out the candidates who don't support significant new funding for our children's educations. Vote in candidates who do.

This is one of those times when a one issue state election makes sense. "Will you do everything you can to provide substantially more money for our children's educations? If so, you've got my vote. If not, see ya' later." Because this one issue speaks volumes, not just about where the candidates stand on the improving the present and future of our children but where they stand on the general well being of all Arizona residents regardless of racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds. It tells us what the candidates think is more important: starving the budget and giving tax cuts to the wealthiest among us or making Arizona a better place for all of us to live.

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