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AEA Statement on FY20 K-12 Education Budget

PHOENIX - May 28, 2019 - Teachers are still leaving Arizona, classrooms are still overcrowded, and our students still need nearly $700 million in public education funding. Arizona legislators had an opportunity to provide our students with the public education they deserve and, once again, they have failed to listen to their constituents. 

“Like all of the students in Arizona, my son has never had a fully funded education,” says AEA Vice President Marisol Garcia. “The state has money that can be used to restore the funding that has been cut from our schools, but lawmakers chose to fund tax cuts over Arizona’s students.” 

The state budget includes nearly $400 million in new permanent tax cuts, further reducing money available for public education. It also expands results-based funding from $40 million to $70 million. This program shifts money to schools in affluent neighborhoods and raises the stakes of standardized testing. 

“This program threatens our students’ ability to learn and grow by creating another persistent systemic funding inequity for our schools,” says Garcia. “The state should direct that money towards restoring all school funding.” 

For the past two weeks, hundreds of AEA members and #REDforED activists have come down to the Capitol to pack the House and Senate galleries and advocate for the resources they need for their students. They have sent thousands of emails, written hundreds of postcards, and made hundreds of phone calls to lawmakers because they each have a story to tell about a student or colleague whose needs are not being met by this state budget. 

“As educators, our students are our number one priority,” says Garcia. “We are used to rolling up our sleeves and taking responsibility for their educational needs. As a parent, I will do what I can to ensure my child gets the public education he deserves. And as a voter, I know I have a responsibility to hold my elected officials responsible, and I can vote for representatives and initiatives that I support. Together, the educators, parents, and voters know that we have the power to do what lawmakers have failed to do, and that is fund our schools.” 

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