Prop 208 ruled unconstitutional, killing voter-approved measure

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Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah ruled last week that Proposition 208 was unconstitutional, effectively killing the voter-approved measure that would have pumped millions of dollars into public education in Arizona.

Proposition 208 would have imposed a 3.5% surcharge on taxable incomes over $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers.

We talked to Rebecca Gau, Executive Director of Stand for Children Arizona, about the ruling and what is next for education funding.

Gau said that the ruling was “bittersweet,” because Judge Hannah agreed that the Supreme Court was out of line when they remanded the issue back to him in the fall, and because he opened the door for his ruling to be appealed. Gau said they have to make the tough decision of whether or not to bring the issue back to the Supreme Court.

“We owe it to the 1.7 million voters who passed this funding for education to take this as far as it can go, and maybe ask the Supreme Court to explain themselves,” Gau said.

Arizona has one of the worst teacher shortages, and the largest class size average in the nation, Gau said.

“If we want to address those problems, those are human capital issues that require human beings, which means you have to have money to pay them,” Gau said.  Arizona needs to find ways to encourage people to come teach in Arizona in order to fill these roles, Gau said.

“The legislature could actually choose to do its job and fund schools to solve those problems of class-size, teacher pay, teacher shortages and counselor shortages,” Gau said.

 

 

 

Rebecca Gau, Executive Director of Stand for Children Arizona

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