AZ Schools Now Calls on Governor Ducey and State Legislature to Reinvest in Public Schools in 2018 with Sustainable New Revenues

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Phoenix, Ariz.— AZ Schools Now, a coalition of 15 organizations focused on the next steps for investments in Arizona’s public schools, called on the Legislature and Governor Doug Ducey to deliver sustainable, permanent and equitable investments in the state’s public schools in 2018 and presented a menu of investment options the Legislature could enact that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Arizona’s K-12 public schools.

Dick Foreman, president and CEO of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition, said, “The business, faith and education communities are united in support for real and lasting investments in public schools – now. This investment cannot be satisfied with fund sweeps, future promises or marginal action. We are offering specific suggestions for a meaningful and welcome down payment towards the needs of our public schools and are ready and willing to work with the governor and Legislature to make this happen.”

“The Legislature has within its power the ability to make substantial and permanent investments in our public schools and teachers,” stated Linda Lyon, president of the Arizona School Boards Association Board of Directors and member of the Oracle Elementary School District governing board, “And we expect them to do just that.”

“We’ve waited an entire decade for the Legislature to make our schools whole,” declared Beth Simek, president of the Arizona PTA. “Of the $1.5 billion dollars slashed from public schools during the Great Recession, more than one billion is still missing. That means an entire generation of kids—my kids, your kids, our kids—have had to ‘make do’ with overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, a loss of critical support staff such as reading specialists and guidance counselors, and even a loss of the most basic and vital tool: a classroom teacher.”

“Enough is enough,” said Simek. “Parents are fed up with the excuses and not willing to wait another year for the governor and Legislature to take this funding crisis seriously.”

Alexis Aguirre, a second grade teacher in the Osborn School District and a 2017 CPLC Outstanding Latino Teacher Award winner, noted that teachers are discouraged by what they see at the Legislature.

“Our responsibilities and class sizes are growing while our paychecks remain stagnant,” stated Aguirre. “Receiving a one-percent stipend while others in state government receive double-digit raises doesn’t convince teachers that our lawmakers understand why dedicated and exceptional teachers are fleeing the state. We need real investments in our teachers, and we need them now.”

AZ Schools Now identified 10 revenue sources as potential funding streams the Legislature could tap for sustainable, permanent and equitable new investments in K-12 public schools. Those options include:

Hire back collectors and audit staff at the Arizona Department of Revenue to collect taxes that are owed $70 million
Freeze individual and corporate income tax cuts still phasing in $22 million
Eliminate the four private school tax credits and the public school extracurricular tax credit $207 million
Increase the minimum corporate income tax to $500; must be paid after credits claimed $17 million
Extend the transaction privilege tax to warranties and service contracts $24 million
Issue bonds for new school construction instead of paying cash up front $90 million
Require all property taxpayers to pay the full qualifying tax rate (QTR) property tax for education funding $208 million
Raise the state equalization property tax rate by $0.05 per $100 of assessed valuation to contribute more to total school funding ($7.50 more per year for a $150,000 house) $29 million
Raise income tax rates for households with incomes above $500,000 $250 million
Redirect “results-based” funding that is only going to “A” rated schools $38 million


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