Posted Date: 05/09/2023
AZ BUDGET MUST CAP VOUCHER PROGRAM
With budget attempt #2 dropping on Monday, the same question is on everyone's minds: will this year’s state budget actually support Arizona educators and students, and finally prioritize public education by capping or rolling back ESA vouchers? Or will Gov. Hobbs and legislative leadership continue to allow unfettered growth of an entitlement program that's set to bankrupt our schools and our state?
This Teacher Appreciation Week, we understand that the best way to show appreciation for Arizona teachers is to advocate for our public schools. We are calling upon all lawmakers who support public schools to reject any budget that fails to stop the unregulated growth of universal ESA vouchers.
Read this week's Education Report for a full description of our stance and budget expectations.
Join us to demand better for AZ public school students & educators. Demand a roll back or cap on universal ESA vouchers!
Mark "going" HERE
Tuesday, May 9th, 4-5 pm
AZ State Capitol
1700 W Washington St, Phoenix
driving/parking directions HERE
Contact legislative leadership and ask them to prioritize a rollback of universal ESA vouchers in the budget by using our one-click email that you can customize: bit.ly/ESAcap
- Email Gov. Hobbs HERE
- Senate Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-14) • email@example.com, 602-926-4136
- Senate Minority Leader Mitzi Epstein (D-12) • firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-926-4870
- House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-27) • email@example.com, 602-926-3298
- House Minority Leader Andrés Cano (D-20) • firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-926-3027
Without urgent, sustained public pressure, our schools and our state are in grave danger of fiscal collapse.
Students know better than anyone that discrimination hurts and threatens their friends, peers, and their future. State-funded discrimination must end. Read youth education activist Elijah Watson's moving op-ed HERE.
Anti-public school rhetoric would have you believe Arizona's students are "fleeing public school en masse" to take universal ESA vouchers. But this simply isn’t the case.
Despite the passage of universal vouchers in 2022, enrollment at Arizona's public schools has changed very little from last school year (2021-22) to this one (2022-23): a 2023 ADE report shows just a 0.42% drop in overall enrollment.
Meanwhile, ESA voucher enrollment continues to rapidly spiral skyward. As of May 5th, 54,566 kids in Arizona are using vouchers. The size of Arizona's ESA voucher program has now surpassed enrollment at Mesa Public Schools, which until now was the largest district in Arizona for over 30 years.
A whopping 80% of families applying for newly expanded ESA vouchers were already choosing private school or homeschool. Our state's decision to subsidize those students via ESA vouchers is not impacting public school enrollment — but it is creating a massive reduction in Arizona's ability to fund public schools.
And, with the ESA voucher program now taking applications for the 2023-24 school year, the number of wealthy families receiving these taxpayer-funded coupons will continue to snowball.
The only “exodus” from public schools is the flood of taxpayer dollars being diverted to universal ESA vouchers. It is impossible to provide our neighborhood schools the resources they need while ESA vouchers are draining half a billion dollars (and growing!), much of it unbudgeted, from public coffers each year.
Use our **NEW** one-click email tool to tell lawmakers on BOTH sides of the aisle that any budget without significant rollback of universal ESA vouchers is unacceptable:
Join SOSAZ, Indivisible and many other partner organizations to learn about how to advocate for fully-funded public schools and better resourced communities. Connect with local advocates, meet new friends, and leave armed with new strategies & inspiration!
5/15 - Learning to Register Voters
5/22 - Welcome to Team SOSAZ
5/29 - Letters to the Editor: Targeting Your Audience