Pink Slips & Politics

April 17, 2009 by  

There is no doubt that schools will face the unhappy prospect of teacher layoffs, but when many more pink slips are issued than necessary, there’s nobody to blame but the AEA.

The law requires schools to notify teachers by April 15th of their contract status.  At the request of the Arizona School Boards Association the Legislature proposed a bill (HB2630) allowing districts to postpone termination notices for all school districts so they could finalize their budgets without frightening or losing teachers with contract termination notices based on worst case scenarios. 

But the Arizona Education Association lobbied heavily against the bill.  All but one Democrat (Rep. Rae Watters, District 20) heeded their call and voted against the bill, defeating the measure.

This inaction was not only unfair to the many teachers who received termination notices unnecessarily – it served only to further politicize the budget process.

Some numbers: The nation is in the midst of a major financial correction (let’s think positive), and about 45% of Arizona’s declining general fund pie is earmarked for K-12 ($4.6 billion).  What people may not understand is that the lion’s share of K-12 funding originates elsewhere – besides the general fund.  Total K-12 funds amount to $10.3 billion and come from state, county, local and federal sources.

For the latest on education-related budget news and bills, check out the new House Education Committee website: http://educateaz.org/

Budget footnote:  As one of our smartest – and most entertaining leaders – our Secretary of State’s video is an excellent primer on where Arizonans tax dollars actually go. We recommend that all Arizonans watch this informative presentation posted by the Arizona Chamber: http://www.youtube.com/user/AZChamber

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