Rep. Randy Friese, LD-9, set the tone in a recent campaign email and on the front page of his campaign website
. Full disclosure: Friese is my representative, and I have donated to his campaign. But I will be happy to describe and analyze statements on education from any legislative
candidate anywhere in the state. You can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friese begins by noting that our schools are inadequately funded. It's closing in on two months since Prop 123 passed, yet we still haven't heard any details about Ducey's promised next step.
Was this a promise? Or was this just rhetoric?
In the absence of any proposed second step from the governor's office or republican legislative leadership nearly two months later, I'm concerned it was rhetoric.
Friese writes that he would put a freeze on corporate tax breaks until we restore school funding. He would have the legislature put a renewal of Prop 301 on the ballot before it expires in 2021 so its 0.6 percent sales tax for schools doesn't expire. He would change the amount of money the state draws from the State Land Trust from the levels set by Prop 123 so they are lower when state revenues are strong.
Friese ends with this.
In order to address our K-12 education funding needs, state leaders should propose a multi-year funding plan. The governor should call a special legislative session this summer to enact this plan. Only then will Arizona students, teachers, and parents be assured that state leaders are committed to properly maintaining our system of public education as required by our constitution.
Friese doesn't suggest what he thinks is an adequate funding level, nor does he explain how the state can change the land trust disbursements set by Prop 123. But he's clear that current education funding is inadequate and has to be increased, and he suggests ways it can happen. That puts him on the record, which is where all legislative candidates should be.
Voters and the media should demand that candidates for state legislature explain their positions on K-12 funding, in detail. If they don't do it on their own, they should be asked the question by every journalist who interviews them and by the public at every forum they attend—with follow-up questions to pin them down on specifics.