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Press Release

Education Advocates Gather at Capitol to Protect INVESTinED

On April 7, 2021, the Arizona Education Association, Arizona Educators United, and Save Our Schools Arizona held a press conference at the Arizona Capitol to protect the Invest in Education Act and urge lawmakers to oppose Senate Bill (SB) 1783, which would cut up to $378 million from public schools.
Published: 04/07/2021

“Our students and educators have dealt with decades of neglect and underfunding from the State, which is why we took the issue of education funding to the people for a vote,” said AEA President Joe Thomas. “Passing the Invest in Education Act in 2020 was the culmination of years of organizing efforts. Despite the need for school funding and the support of voters, those in power are still trying to stop these funds through lawsuits and legislation. We will continue to fight because we know our students are worth the effort.”

SB1783 is a direct attack on teachers and the Invest in Education Act. This bill creates a tax evasion scheme for greedy millionaires to take $378 million from public schools. Voters approved the Invest in Education Act because they believe in our students and educators and SB1783 undermines the will of the voters by cutting these education funds.

“Despite the continued chipping away at our funding,” said Arizona Educators United leader and kindergarten teacher Kelley Fisher, “Teachers and support staff alike are going above and beyond to provide a quality education for public school students across Arizona. It has gotten to the point where some of our colleagues cannot stay in the profession any longer. The underfunding, lack of respect, absence of support, and increased pressures are causing good teachers to say goodbye to public education. We need to protect public education now; our students deserve it.”

“Returning to school in person to see all of my students felt like seeing a light in the darkness of a pandemic,” said Esmeralda Sandoval, a Special Education paraprofessional the Isaac school district. “But coming back also presented challenges. My school is limited in space and we couldn’t fit three educators meet the needs of our special education student or properly follow social distancing rules. Our schools are desperate for funding to maintain our students’ learning environment. SB1783 is an attempt to rob us of what we asked our friends and neighbors when they signed our petition to put INVESTinED on the ballot. Arizona voters democratically chose to stand with us by voting yes on the Invest in Education Act and those of us here today will continue to stand together to protect INVESTinED.”

“I was born and raised in Nogales, Arizona,” said Save Our Schools Arizona Board Member Raquel Mamani, “I’m a proud product of public education. Nogales is a perfect example of how funding cuts like SB1783 and vouchers hurt our rural communities the most. I started coming to the legislature in 2017 as a mom and an educator. I wanted to figure out why our school had to continually sell cookie dough, wrapping paper, butter braids and countless other items to pay for an endless list of needs like crossing guards, lunchroom monitors, and basic supplies for teachers. What I learned has kept me coming back to this day.”

Schools are the backbone of our communities. We can end the state’s teacher shortage. We can provide the great public schools our students deserve. We can secure the future of our state with an educated workforce that will attract employers and better paying jobs. When schools thrive, we all benefit. We call on our leaders to follow the will of the voters, invest in education, and prioritize the hard-working families of Arizona over the wealthy special interests.

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Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

With more than 20,000 members, the Arizona Education Association (AEA) is the largest professional association for public school employees in Arizona. AEA members are teachers, community college professors, counselors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers and they belong to more than 150 local affiliates across Arizona.