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Voters to Decide on Future of Arizona Education Funding

By Adam DeRose | Dec. 8, 2015


A teacher's take

Amber Gould teaches high school English in Glendale, Ariz. She's an active member of her local teacher's association and is working to support the campaign in favor of Prop. 123.

She's followed the legal battle, Cave Creek v. DeWit, throughout her entire career and believes a “yes” vote is a light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

“There are so many things at stake. When people head to the polls, we’re looking at making sure that our kids have the resources they need to be successful for a career or post-secondary education,” Gould said.

What will voters be deciding?

Next May, Arizona voters will have their say in how we fund public education in the future. They'll be heading to the ballot box to let lawmakers know what they think about Proposition 123.

Prop. 123 is the linchpin in the three-bill plan that state lawmakers passed in October. The plan assures inflation-adjusted “base-funding” for K-12 public education, which proponents of the deal say was at the heart of the Cave Creek v. DeWit lawsuit that's been dragging on since the start of the Great Recession.

In order for the funding to be assured, taxpayers will have to approve their hefty plan to tap into the state's land trust.

The land trust deal is part of a comprehensive package that funds schools in accordance with inflation rates. It also works to relieve some Republican legislators' concerns about funding in the event of another recession like the one that began in 2008. This is after GOP leadership failed to spend more on education during those tough economic times, even though voters gave them the nod through a ballot measure passed back in 2000.

Now, advocates of the deal are beginning a voter-education campaign ahead of the May 17 vote. One of Gov. Ducey's top aides is taking an official leave of absence to support the effort to get Arizonans to vote “yes.” Arizona Education Association president Andrew Morrill says teachers and education advocates are currently working with the governor's team to roll out a statewide campaign.

See an extended version of this story.

Prop. 123 is the last step to putting Arizona education funding back on track


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