On August 19, 2020, the Arizona Supreme Court reversed a lower court judge’s ruling and kept the Invest in Education initiative on the November ballot.
“Today’s ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court is an important victory because it gives millions of Arizona voters the opportunity to put more resources into our schools,” says Amber Gould, Invest in Education campaign chair and AEA Board Member. “We are confident voters will say “yes” to improving Arizona’s K-12 schools by voting Yes on Invest in Education this November. The Invest in Education Initiative was crafted to benefit all Arizona’s 1.1 million K-12 students while not taxing working and middle-class families impacted by the pandemic.”
Getting the Invest in Education initiative, now known as Proposition 208, on the ballot has been many years in the making. In 2018, following the history making #REDforED teacher walkout, AEA members collected enough signatures to get a school funding initiative on the ballot only to have the Arizona Supreme Court knock it off. This year, hundreds of AEA members braved the summer heat during a pandemic to collect and submit 435,669 petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in July.
Soon after the signatures were submitted, a lawsuit was filed against the initiative by a group sponsored by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. The Invest in Education initiative lost in the first court ruling, then won in the appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.
“This ruling a great win for our students and the teachers who teach them,” says AEA President Joe Thomas. “Arizona students and teachers won and special interest groups failed in their latest attempt to block improving our schools. Voters can support Arizona’s K-12 public schools by voting yes on Invest in Education this November.”
The Invest in Education initiative will make sure everyone pays their fair share so that Arizona students have the schools they deserve. This initiative will voter protect nearly $1 billion for public education funding. This permanent and sustainable revenue will be used for teacher salary increases, reducing class size, and making sure students have access to nurses, counselors, and other support staff who are critical to student success.
As educators, Arizona’s students are at the center of everything we do. As trained professionals, we always do what is best for our students and schools. We know that our students need one-on-one attention, up-to-date textbooks, and well-maintained buildings with working air conditioning.
We know that to succeed, students need to have the schools they deserve.
A look inside Arizona’s schools reveals legislative neglect years in the making—outdated textbooks held together by rubber bands, rodent-infested classrooms, broken down technology, and more. Class sizes are increasing, classrooms are stocked with obsolete resources, and school conditions have deteriorated.
The COVID-19 crisis has devastated Arizona’s working families and widened the inequities between the haves and have nots. Now, more than ever, we must protect school funding so that every child has the opportunity to learn in a safe and healthy school.
The path forward is to take matters into our own hands. That’s why hundreds of educators hit the streets during the hot summer months to collect enough signatures to get the Invest in Education initiative on the ballot.
The Arizona Education Association asks that you stand with our students and educators and vote YES on Prop 208!