Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, and a good day to reflect on the remarkable teachers in our lives who influenced us and perhaps encouraged us to pursue our life’s path.
And for many of us, this is also a day to reflect on the impact of the teacher-led #RedForEd movement that took hold all across our state, and influenced final budget decisions at the Capitol last week. Wow! It was an emotional experience – and the teachers’ presence in the galleries and on the lawn made it obvious to all that the Governor’s original proposal of a 1 percent pay increase for teachers was woefully inadequate.
No one knows for sure whether the teachers will receive the 20 percent increase by 2020 that the Governor now promises, but the additional 8 percent we’ve been told is in next year’s budget could be a good start. However, we know the state is not allocating enough money to give all teachers the promised increase. We know support staff and some campus specialists were not included in the funding plan.
And now that the Legislature has adjourned, my first term as your State Representative nears its end. I have learned a great deal. I hope you know that I have consistently supported public education and will continue to work to increase state support of our schools to pre-recession levels. I am committed to working to ensure smaller class sizes, sufficient funding for building maintenance and pay raises for support staff as well as for teachers.
I offered an amendment, in fact, during last week’s budget debates to cap class sizes to 25 students per teacher, but it was shouted down quickly on a partisan voice vote. I offered a second amendment, to protect our children’s health insurance program, KidsCare, if federal support levels change, but that amendment also failed on a party-line vote.
But change is coming. I’m convinced. Because of the #RedForEd movement, there is a better understanding by many of the inability of our current budget to provide the resources needed to support our children, improve our workforce and strengthen our economy.
My work – our work -- on behalf of Arizona’s children and families is not finished. I appreciate your support in the past and look forward to your help with what surely will be a robust campaign this summer and fall.
Here’s what you can do to help:
We have just opened an office at 10401 N. 32nd St (east side of 32nd Street, just south of Shea Blvd). We’ll be canvassing from the office at 9 am this Saturday, May 12th. Please let me know if you can join us!
State Representative, District 28