PHOENIX — Various child advocacy groups sent hundreds of handwritten postcards to the Governor’s office on Wednesday, calling for a change in priorities.
The postcards urged Gov. Doug Ducey to focus more dollars in the state budget toward family and child initiatives — in particular, education.
Dana Wolfe Naimark, president of the Children’s Action Alliance, which helped send postcards, said a better budget would help improve conditions in schools.
“We know we need a better budget because children in classrooms across the state are siting in rooms with 35 and 40 students, not enough desks, outdated textbooks, no technology, teachers who are struggling and will only be there just a few years,” she said.
Funding for family initiatives such as childcare, child safety, healthcare and others will also suffer under the upcoming budget, Naimark said.
With the next fiscal year beginning on July 1, Naimark said funding for education and other support services need to be a higher priority for Ducey and the state legislature moving forward.
Ducey introduced a plan last Thursday to use nearly $2 billion from the state’s permanent land trust endowment toward K-12 education. Naimark said the plan is a start but is not a sure thing because it would have to be approved by voters.
Ducey spoke to KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos Wednesday and said there is more than enough money in state land to fund education.
“If you take the amount of state land in addition to the cash we have, it’s over $70 billion in value and we need resources in education,” he said.
Naimark said Ducey’s plan is also not a solution to fix the continued lack of funding for Arizona schools. Only prioritizing kids and families in the budget process can fix the long-term problems, according to Naimark.
“If the Governor thinks that this gets him off the hook for dealing with education funding in this next legislative session, he is dead wrong,” she said.