To celebrate the end of the school year, CEA will be holding a Family Social this Sunday, June 2 from 6:00-9:00 pm at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. This happens to be on a night in the park’s Summer Concert Series, so plan on staying around to hear Beatles tribute band Paperback Writer at 7:30 pm. Bring your own outdoor activities and food, or purchase food at the park! For full details, visit our Facebook event page.
It took all day, but the budget passed out of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on Wednesday night. While this budget does increase education spending, it comes nowhere near addressing the severe funding issues our public schools still face (teacher shortage, class sizes, counselor/student ratios, outdated resources, etc.). Adding insult to injury, the money is there to make a much more significant investment in education, but lawmakers would prefer to pass a tax cut that voters aren’t asking for and invest money in the “rainy day” fund when it’s been pouring in our public schools for years.
Today the budget will be heard in caucus, then in Committee of the Whole, and then head to a final vote on the floor. We had some real heroes at the Capitol yesterday testifying before committee and making our presence felt, but we need even more as we approach the finish line. The budget vote is expected to be extremely tight, and everyone has an opportunity to make a difference:
- contact your legislators NOW and ask them to hold out for a budget that truly invests in our students
- get down to the Capitol today after work so our leaders see we’re paying attention (it will be a long night!)
- check back at AEA’s Facebook page and arizonaea.org/budgetwatch throughout the day for updates
From Stephanie Parra (AEA lobbyist):
Today, around 4:00 pm, the House and Senate introduced budget bills to be heard in Rules committees. House Bills (HB) 2747-2756 and Senate Bills (SB) 1548-1557 will next be heard in Appropriations committees tomorrow morning (May 22). House Appropriations is scheduled for 10:00 am and Senate Appropriations for 9:00 am. This is the only opportunity the public will have to weigh in on the state budget. This budget does not restore education funding our students need, and, instead, provides nearly $400 million in new permanent tax cuts.
We expect budget negotiations to continue tomorrow as they don’t have the votes necessary to pass them on the floor. House is adjourned until Thursday at 9:00 am, which means we won’t see any final votes until Thursday. We need you in these Appropriations committee meetings tomorrow! Thank you to AEA members and #REDforED activists who have joined us in the gallery; your presence is keeping the pressure on our elected officials.
In addition, House Rules also allowed Representative Townsend to resurrect her dead bill attacking teachers’ free speech. Contact your legislators tonight to oppose HB2032 and be sure to sign into the Request to Speak (RTS) system to voice your opposition.
The budget did drop late in the day, but there is still work to be done. Most critically, hundreds of millions of dollars are being proposed in tax cuts and transfers to the rainy day fund. While it is a good idea to build up our rainy day fund, anyone involved in education knows that is has been raining (pouring!) in our public schools for years, and we are nowhere near making things whole.
The budget should be finalized over the next few days, and we need to remind our legislators that the public is not asking for tax cuts, they are overwhelmingly asking for increased education funding, and they’re even willing to pay higher taxes to do so. We need as many people as possible to:
- head down to the capitol after work this week to show our legislators we’re paying attention, and talk to them about your budget priorities
- e-mail Governor Ducey and your legislators to urge them to restore education funding to pre-recession levels before considering tax cuts
Check on AEA’s Facebook page for up-to-the-minute updates on the budget process this week!
The budget is expected to drop on Monday, May 20. Word on the street is that the budget may include a permanent tax cut of $300 million. This is money that could be used to fix public school funding not just this year, but every year for decades to come.
It is critical that we have as many people there as possible each day to let our leaders know that we’re paying attention and will be holding them accountable. In particular, CEA will be there en masse after school on Wednesday, May 22. Stay tuned to AEA and CEA social media, and pack your bags for a long night. Teachers’ 5% salary increase is not guaranteed (and it still may not go to all certified employees) and the legislature appears to be prioritizing a tax break instead of funding district additional assistance (DAA) or other public school funding shortfalls. Even more outrageously, the legislature is considering allowing ESA money to go to other states, draining even more money from our public schools!
Please let us know that you’ll be heading to the Capitol on Wednesday after school … stay as long as you can, and bring dinner, blankets, children, papers to grade … whatever you have to bring so you can be a physical body on the Capitol lawn. Be sure to wear #REDforED!
All signs point to the legislature considering the budget as soon as Monday. We need to make sure all of our legislators know that we are watching and will hold them accountable if they don’t keep their promises to properly fund public education!
Can you get down to the Capitol next week (wearing red, of course) to make our presence felt? Budget sessions will start around 1:30 pm, but some of them will go into the evening, when we are better able to attend. To get prepared:
- sign up for AEA Budget Watch updates
- follow (and frequently check) AEA’s Facebook page for updates the legislative schedule
- get down to the Capitol when you can!
Can’t make it to the Capitol? Contact Governor Ducey and contact your legislators to share your stories about the need for increased public school funding and remind them of their duty to provide excellent public schools for all Arizona students. You can also organize or participate in other activities to raise awareness, such as walk ins, stand outs, etc. For more details on how to get involved, visit AEA’s Budget Watch page.
Please join CEA and Save Our Schools AZ for a fact-based and nonpartisan presentation covering the importance of strong public schools to a strong state economy and other issues facing education. This presentation will be held at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, May 21 at Ryan Elementary School.
Chandler Education Association members who attend will be entered into a drawing to win one of three gift cards … and for every guest they bring, members will receive an additional entry in the drawing! Light refreshments will also be served. Please join us! Visit our event page to RSVP.
Looking for something meaningful to do over our spring break? Please consider signing up to attend one (or both!) of AEA’s Days at the Capitol. There are two dates available during our break: March 12 and March 19. These are great opportunities to have direct conversations with your legislators and see the legislature in action (particularly the Senate Education Committee, which happens to meet on these days). There are also other days you can visit if you are available … check AEA’s website for full details.
The legislative session is well underway, and we’re reaching a critical point where activity will be fast and furious. We need to make our voices heard and keep the pressure on our legislators to keep moving forward toward restoring funding for education.
With all of the bills being considered, it can be tough to keep up, let alone advocate for our profession. Our Legislative Toolkit can help, giving you information on how to stay informed on what’s happening at the capitol and how you can make an impact on the process (including signing up for the Request to Speak system). Check it out today and become an education advocate!
Be prepared: attacks on our educator pensions are coming. Tonight, AEA is hosting an important information session so members can learn about their pensions and about AEA’s plan to fight back.
Join us tonight at the United Food and Commercial Workers in Phoenix from 4:30-6:30 pm. If you can’t make it out to Phoenix, the workshop will available to stream online via Zoom. Either way, register today to attend (registrants will receive information on how to stream the workshop, as well).