This is it. We can’t underscore this enough: in two days we will either have enough signatures to stop the universal ESA vouchers which will decimate our public schools, or we won’t and this destructive expansion will devastate our state.
If you haven’t signed, please get come into our office TODAY 10am-4pm or TOMORROW 10am-12pm. Every single signature matters. A lot. If you need to turn in petitions, please do that NOW. Save Our Schools needs to have a handle on their counts to see if they are going to be successful.
Hecklers have been harassing volunteers collecting signatures for the Stop Voucher Expansion petitions at libraries & business locations. They carry signs that say “Decline to Sign.”
“I never in all the years that we have been working on initiative campaigns have we ever seen a coordinated effort like this. We usually see it in lawsuits after being successful,” said Tamar Rala Kreiswirth of The AZ Ground Game (TAGG). So, who is behind the opposition to the Stop Universal Vouchers initiative?
The Goldwater Institute (which pays for the DeclineToSign.com website) and Betsy Devos’ group, the American Federation for Children (which pays for Power2Parents.org) have organized their harassers to:
Disrupt signature sites.
Call local businesses that have historically welcomed petition circulators.
Contact the Goldwater Institute and the American Federation for Children to provide the location of signature gatherers
Take photos if a petition is left unattended
Take photos of the petitions and to check to see that the petitions have the dates correct, have been checked by the volunteer and have the county names written on the page.
Please, please drive to a petition signing location this weekend to sign the petition. Why must we repeal this bill? The simple reason is that this will decimate our Public School system. How? Click here for more info.
We have until mid-September to sign. If we don’t stop this and the Voucher Expansion becomes law, it is basically the last step to undermining public education in our country. Arizona is the test site for this legislation.
From Save our Schools: “Tucson volunteers are hard at work to Stop Voucher Expansion — let’s help get them over the finish line!”
If you haven’t signed yet, there is no time to waste: we now have just 39 days to turn in 118,823 valid signatures and stop the wholesale dismantling of public education in Arizona.
Volunteers are adding more signing locations every day. Sign and return at the locations below, or find a hub near you at teamsosarizona.com
As you may already know, HB2853 was signed into law. This universal school voucher expansion program, if it isn’t stopped, will be the first of its kind in the United States and the death knell for public education in Arizona. It will subsidize private school education including elite and religious schools, and there are no constraints on who is eligible, with little accountability or transparency.
The group Save our Schools (SOS)is working to collect 118,823 signatures that will refer HB2853 back to the November ballot for voters to decide on whether to keep or remove this law. Signatures are due to the Secretary of State’s office (turned in all at once) by September 23rd. That means Pima volunteers will have until mid September to help collect signatures.
How you can help
The petition to refer HB2853 to the ballot is now available to sign and circulate at the PCDP office. We will not have regular office notary hours until after the August 2nd primary election, but signatures can be notarized by any notary in Arizona; it doesn’t have to be a volunteer notary with PCDP.
You cannot sign this petition online. It must be signed in person. You must be a registered voter to sign the petition. Any party affiliation can sign.
You must be eligible to be registered to vote in Arizona in order to circulate this petition as a volunteer.
Your signature may appear on a petition you circulate. If you are a notary, you cannot notarize a petition that you have already put your signature on.
The main point of contact for Save Our Schools in Southern Arizona is Christina Vazquez. Please call our office at (520) 326-3716 during our office hours to ask for Christina’s contact information.
The future of education in Pima County is severely at risk due to an upcoming decision regarding the Aggregate Expenditure Limit.
The Aggregate Expenditure Limit (passed and added to the Arizona constitution in 1980) sets a spending limitation for public schools based off of the total spending from all Arizona school districts (not including charter schools). The limit is adjusted each year based on the student population and cost of living.
If this limit is exceeded and nothing is done to allow schools to exceed the limit, schools will have to cut their budgets to meet it instead. Expenditures above the limit have the possibility of being allowed, but only if the Legislature – by a two-thirds majority of both chambers – passes a concurrent resolution that allows districts to exceed the limit. This has to happen by March 1st for schools to keep their funding. However, if there is no override from the Legislature, schools will be forced to cut their budgets by April 1st.
If districts are not allowed to exceed the limit, it is estimated that there will be over $1 billion in school district budget cuts. Something has to be done to protect both our schools’ funding and our children’s education.
We need people from the Pima County community to contact our Legislature and tell them not to cut our districts’ funding and to cancel the Aggregate Expenditure Limit completely.
Contact AZ Governor
Contact Governor Doug Ducey (azgovernor.gov) to tell him how unacceptable this is; the Senate and House need to hear these bills immediately without the use of our children’s futures as a bargaining chip for the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.
Contact AZ House of Representatives
Members of the House of Representatives to contact are Michelle Udall, the chair of the House Education Committee (email at MUDALL@azleg.gov or call (602) 926-4856), and Rusty Bowers, the chair of the House of Representatives (email at RBOWERS@azleg.gov or call 602-926-3128).
Ask them to bring forward HB2335 and HB 2012, both of which would cancel this year’s AEL and all AELs in the future.
PCDP and Arizona Democratic Party STRONGLY support Proposition 208 –Invest in Ed. We urge you to do the same.
The Arizona legislature has HISTORICALLY underfunded education, resulting in crisis-level teacher shortages. When the legislature fails to act, initiatives are our only recourse. (Over 400,000) NEARLY HALF A MILLION Arizonans signed petitions to get this initiative on the ballot.
Average class sizes in AZ are at record highs.
Our counselor to student ratio is the worst in the country.
AZ’s per-pupil funding is one of the lowest in the nation and remains lower than it was before the 2008 recession. AZ spends $800 million less on education than it did a decade ago.
There were more than 1,800 unfilled teaching positions at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Teaching in AZ is simply not a career many people can afford.
Prop 208, if passed, is expected to raise $827 million in revenue in the first full year of implementation.
It will impose a 3.5% income tax surcharge on taxable individual income over:
$250,000 for a single person or a married person filing separately.
$500,000 for a married couple or a single person who is head of a household.
If you and your spouse earn between $1 and $500,000 in combined (personal) TAXABLE income, you will pay no extra taxes. If you and your spouse earn $501,000 in combined (personal) TAXABLE income, your additional tax burden will be $35 (3.5% of $1,000).
(Note: taxable income is not gross or adjusted gross income. It’s what you are taxed on in AZ after all exemptions and deductions and is often 2/3 or 1/2 of gross, especially if you’re wealthy with lots of write offs.)