Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trying to get kids a better deal

Trying to get kids a better deal

House Democrats tried to get Arizona kids a better deal in the K-12 inflation funding settlement.

The agreement was controversial as it puts around $3.5 billion over 10 years into schools but has some serious pitfalls. Along with the money, the plan has constitutional caps on education funding that could keep Arizona buried in the bottom tiers of per-pupil funding in the nation.  The legislation also includes economic triggers that will limit spending on schools during economic downturns and will raid the state land trust. Each of these caveats seriously jeopardizes the resources available to students in the future.

Democrats attempted to amend the plan and protect future education resources.  But these efforts were met with party-line opposition.

The settlement deal was divided into three different pieces of legislation. House Democrats voted to support the bill that would provide money for schools, while rejecting the bills that would have instituted the caps, the economic triggers, a raid on the state land trust and a costly special election.

Although there were differing opinions throughout the process, the one thing all the Democratic members agreed on is that this deal cannot be the last word on education funding.

The recent agreement does not solve all the issues facing Arizona schools.  The legislative session will begin in a few months, and we must commit to doing more for Arizona teachers, students and parents.  Long-term, sustainable funding  for our schools must remain a top priority because Arizona #KidsDeserveBetter. 

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