“Say no to prop 305,” AZED 101 group said that taking out funding in public schools could cause an unprecedented teacher shortage in the future.
AZED 101 held a meeting back in September to educate local teachers about the proposition. AZED 101 group describe themselves as a non-partisan volunteer group who are committed to improving Arizona’s education funding.
Arizona, ranked 50th in teacher pay with the second-largest median class size, could possibly see a work-rate decline in the educational field due to funding cuts are taken out of K-12 public schools.
Hayley Sterger, a former teacher and speaker of the meeting said, “Should we be worried?, well in 2016 we needed 8,353 teachers for the school year, and 2,135 positions remained unfulfilled by the end of the year. 4,386 positions were fulfilled by long-term subs.”
The proposition gives students with disabilities a chance to receive an ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account) from the Arizona Department of Education that could be spent on private education, homeschooling, or other non-public education.
AZED 101 group argued that the problem of the proposition is the tax dollars that will be taken out of public school budgets. Arizona schools are already facing a financial crisis.
“According to U.S Census, Arizona cut K-12 education more than any other state in the country.” Hayley said, “And now schools are still underfunded by over 1.2 billion dollars per year and expected to lose 8 billion dollars in the next 40 years.”
Educational funding cuts have increased dramatically over the past 50 years. In 1960, Arizona ranked 19th in pupil spending and in 2018, Arizona is now ranked at 49.
Elise Villescaz, an Arizona teacher who comes from four generations of educators said, Arizona is one of the hardest states to live comfortably in as a teacher.
“Throughout all of my teaching career I needed a second job and even with having one, it was still difficult to support myself which is why I am moving to a different state to start over,” Elise said.
Some teachers argued that the bill will most likely affect younger educators. Those who are more experienced in the field are protected by tenures.
Cindy Harrison, a current Arizonan teacher said, “I have worked in a school district for over 25 years and newer teachers will never come close to what I earn. Once the baby boomers all retire, it is up to the willingness of the next generations to fulfill the job.”