The Arizona Legislature passed a bi-partisan budget in the early morning hours that invests over $1 billion in our public schools. Lawmakers had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support Arizona educators and students with a $5.3 billion surplus. Last month, the Arizona Education Association proposed the Educators’ Budget, calling for $1.2 billion.
The following statement can be attributed to AEA President-elect Marisol Garcia:
It is encouraging to see parts of the Educators’ Budget included in this historic bi-partisan budget that was passed this morning. This money will have a significant impact for educators, their students, and their families. Today is a victory for public schools in Arizona.
Let’s be clear, that we had to fight for every dollar in this budget that started with us asking for $505 million and getting $526 million added to the base level. AEA members took time from their summer break to sit in day-long committee meetings and we stayed at the Capitol all through the night to ensure our students got the funding they deserved.
In addition to the increased education funding, legislators removed the expansion to the state’s private school tuition tax credit the budget. However, the legislature is on the cusp of establishing the largest private school voucher program in the nation. AEA opposes private school vouchers and tuition tax credits because they divert money from our public schools into private religious schools without any accountability. We urge Arizona state senators to support our public school educators and students by voting no on expanding private school vouchers.