PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – AZ Schools Now, a coalition of parents, teachers, school board members and advocates responded to Gov. Ducey’s five-year education funding plan Tuesday morning.
The group says the plan “failed to meet a critical test of sustainability.” Dawn Penich-Thacker, spokeswoman for Save Our Schools Arizona, said if Ducey’s plan is followed, it will take another decade or longer to get schools back to where they were a decade ago.
“When the governor declared in his State of the State address that he wanted to ‘restore the long-standing cuts from the recession,’ we were hopeful this funding plan would seriously address the $1.1 billion in cuts that have yet to be reinstated,” Penich-Thacker said.
The group says that Arizona schools need a sustainable funding source.
“Arizona’s public schools and the students they serve are suffering under years-long neglect,” said Beth Simek, president of the Arizona PTA. “They need a sustainable plan they can count on with a dedicated revenue source.”
AZ Schools Now said they have called on the state Legislature and Gov. Ducey to deliver sustainable and permanent investments in public schools in 2018. The group says they presented a menu of investment options that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Arizona’s K-12 public schools.
Some of the ideas the coalition says they have presented to the Legislature include raising income tax rates for households with incomes above $500,000, redirecting the ‘results-based’ funding that is only going to “A” rated schools and eliminating the four private school tax credits and the pubic school extracurricular tax credit.
The coalition says they remain committed to working with Gov. Ducey and the Legislature to find sustainable and permanent solutions to strengthen Arizona’s public schools.