Originally Published: May 3, 2016 6 a.m.
Thirty years ago, I was the principal in a public elementary school in Mesa.
In those days, the Legislature knew that education funding needed to come out of the General Fund. The present Legislature has allowed Arizona to drop to 50th in the United States in education funding.
On May 17, we are being asked to vote in a special election to change the Arizona constitution so the Legislature can raid the State Land Trust to pay for education.
Our present State Treasurer, Jeff DeWit, along with four former state treasurers – all of whom are Republicans – say vote “no” on Prop 123. I agree with them and here is my reasoning:
In 2000, the voters in Arizona passed Proposition 301 by 53.5 percent. It created six-tenths of a cent sales tax to fund education in perpetuity. These funds have been diverted and used for other things against the wishes of the voters.
In 2016, the state has the money owed to the schools, from better-than-projected tax revenues. The state Supreme Court has said that not paying this money to the schools is breaking the law.
The Governor and the legislature are saying, yes, we have the money and we are willfully breaking the law. But, won’t you vote for Proposition 123, which is complex and filled with loopholes all detrimental to education. Prop 123 in reality will provide only 70 percent of the funding that Proposition 301 promised.
Those who want you to vote “yes” on Proposition 123 will tell you it is the solution to the problem. It isn’t. It is a short-term partial solution that will cause much greater educational funding problems in 10-20 years.
Vote “no” on Prop 123.