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Press Release

Educators Advocate to Protect INVESTinED in State Budget

On June 21, 2021, the Arizona Education Association held a press conference urging legislators to protect the Invest in Education Act in state budget negotiations and highlight the devastating consequences the proposed state budget moving through the legislature would have on our public schools.
Published: 06/21/2021

“Educators worked hard last summer during a pandemic to collect enough signatures to get INVESTinED on the ballot,” says AEA President Joe Thomas. “Voters have been clear in their support for investing in public education by passing Prop 208 last November. This budget is a slap in the face for educators and voters.”

The proposed state budget spends the surplus on a regressive flat income tax that will permanently drain billions from state revenue and tip the scales in favor of the wealthiest 1% in Arizona. In addition, the budget includes a tax cap that threatens the Invest in Education Act, which voters approved last November and educators worked to get on the ballot to provide $940 million in permanent sustainable funding for our schools.

In a survey among over 1,000 AEA members, 89% disagreed with the statement about creating $1.5 permanent tax cuts for millionaires over investing in our schools and communities as the best option for this Legislature.

“The governor and legislature have the opportunity to invest the billions of dollars in surplus and rainy funding into our public schools,” says Deer Valley Kindergarten teacher Kelley Fisher. “Funding that can be used to address the teacher shortage, provide full-day kindergarten, ensure every school has a counselor, nurse, and librarian.”

In addition, the budget includes policy items attacking teachers by slapping $5,000 fines on teachers who discuss controversial topics in the classroom. “This budget is anti-education and anti-teacher,” says Chandler science teacher Katie Nash. "Science classrooms around the state need lab equipment and resources to prepare them for 21st century jobs. Instead of focusing on funding, lawmakers are targeting educators by sneaking in an unpopular, previously defeated gag bill.”

“Arizona is facing a teacher shortage,” says AEA Treasurer Angela Philpot. “This budget will drive even more teachers out of the classroom driving up higher class sizes.”

“Educators are taking action and contacting their legislators to ask that they oppose this terrible budget and work on a bipartisan budget that invests in public education without permanent tax cuts,” says Thomas.

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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.