With the special May 17 election quickly approaching, Arizona’s voters will soon head to the polls to vote on Proposition 123, which will provide an adequate K-12 funding resolution for students and schools moving forward.
The proposition, which is the result of a compromise between education groups and state leaders, settles a long-running lawsuit against the state. Settling this lawsuit allows the education community to focus on what’s most important — delivering a robust education to Arizona’s students.
In a recent study conducted by Expect More Arizona, Arizona residents overwhelmingly voted education – and specifically education funding – as “the most important issue facing our state.” The passage of Proposition 123 will keep the momentum going and move Arizona’s educational system on an upward trajectory.
Prop. 123 is extremely well-received not only by the education community, but also the business community. Economic development and prosperity is of great importance to the business community and benefits the entire state. However, these endeavors cannot exist without a strong and adequately funded education system.
Arizona has long ranked near the bottom of the national rankings in per-funding. That needs to change if we want to be a place where businesses want to relocate to or expand operations. Without a doubt, the educational system and workforce availability are key factors of the strength or weakness of our economy.
Approximately 68 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require post-secondary education by 2020. That’s a big impact to our economy and it’s an impact that will affect everyone. Prop. 123 supports the future of Arizona’s education system.
Under the plan, K-12 schools will receive an additional $3.5 billion over 10 years. Part of this proposal relies on increased distributions on investment earnings from the State Land Trust. The notion that Prop. 123 is a raid on the State Land Trust or that it will deplete the State Land Trust is not true. The State Land Trust was created at statehood largely to help fund K-12 education. The Trust’s funds will continue to grow with the passage of Prop. 123. In fact, if Prop. 123 passes, the State Land Trust will be bigger at the end of 10 years than it is today. In addition, the proposition also contains safeguards to ensure the state land trust maintains its financial strength.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce asks voters to help set Arizona on a stronger path to educational and economic prosperity by voting YES on Proposition 123. The passage of this proposition will greatly strengthen Arizona’s educational system. This funding for K-12 will have a positive impact on our teachers and schools and increases classroom spending for students.
Make sure your vote counts on May 17! Voting YES on Proposition 123 strengthens our education system and sends a message across the state, and the country, that we are continuing to build a viable workforce. Let’s work together to support education funding and create change. Investing in education is investing in Arizona’s future.
Todd Sanders is President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.