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Invest in Ed demands new money during 2019 legislative session

(Ali Vetnar/KTAR)

Public education advocates are demanding action ahead of the 2019 Legislative Session. They believe public education needs new funding now and they refuse to wait until 2020.

The Invest in Ed group created a list of five steps that requires investments in public education in Arizona they want met this session:

1. The target investment amount should be more than $1 billion per year, and significantly more when we include P-20 needs, to address the ongoing teacher shortage, deteriorating equipment and facilities, and the student support needed to reach the Education Progress Meter goals.

2. New dollars should be sustainable over the long-term and come from a combination of revenue sources, which could include taxes but also should include updating and expanding revenue streams.

3. The combination of revenue sources should improve the fairness of Arizona’s overall education funding system for low-and middle-income families.

4. The allocation of investments should take student needs into account to close the achievement gap.

5. Taxpayers should hold leaders accountable for public investments through transparency, oversight, and public governance, without adding new layers of overly complex accountability measures.

This coalition of public education advocates believe Arizona children need re-investments in public schools. The Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community. They believe in Arizona today, thousands of students struggle to learn with overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, lack of basic supplies, rundown facilities and equipment and no permanent teachers.

Joe Thomas, President of the Arizona Education Association, noted that the need for increased investment remains urgent and lawmakers have the opportunity to make transformational changes for our next generation.

“I think if we see a repeat of last year we will see our educators realize they are going to be ignored,” Thomas said. “After the down payment on teacher pay in this year’s state budget, the gaps in classroom resources remain too large.

“As a result, nearly 1,700 classrooms are still missing a permanent teacher, including more than 900 classrooms with teachers who left their position since this school year began.”

According to the Children’s Action Alliance, at four weeks into the 2018-2019 school year 1,547 teaching positions remain vacant and 463 teachers had resigned their positions.

“They will have to act in statewide manner again and I am confident if we don’t see an adult conversation about getting real funding into our schools I know thousands of teachers, social workers, counselors, parents, and business owners who will take out petitions and put Invest in Ed right back on the ballot.”

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