Public Education Funding
Arizona citizens want to build strong schools not walls.
We have a responsibility to work diligently to provide Arizona students with excellent schools by fully funding public education. This will enhance teacher’s pay and provide the tools they need to instruct and develop the children for our future. Our public schools have been defunded by $1.5 billion since 2008, and more than $1 billion is still missing. The lack of funding has negatively impacted our public, district schools the most, resulted in over-crowded classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, and our teacher wages are still among the lowest in the nation. With public education in crisis, we must forge ahead and fully fund and invest in our children—the future leaders of Arizona.
The challenge to accomplishing this is finding the needed funds without imposing heavy tax increases. The requirement that it takes a super-majority in the legislature to raise taxes effectively closes that door.
The “Craycraft Solution” to Fully Fund Arizona Public Schools
There is an opening to increase revenues to the state’s general fund, which pays for public education. Arizona currently has more than 300 tax credits worth $13.7 billion on the books. If we eliminate only $3.5 billion of these tax loopholes, we can cut the state sales tax by 1 percent and have $2 billion to fully fund our public schools each year.
Further, legislation is required to put our district public schools on more equal footing with the state’s charter schools, by requirements be the same for both public district schools and public charter schools. Public funds go to both.
Oversight of charter schools needs to change. The rules for transparency and financial accountability must be the same for charter schools and district schools. In 1994, when charter school laws were enacted, no one anticipated the current level of for-profit school management companies, many of which operate—and send funds—across state lines.