by Francesca Thomas, Scottsdale Parent & Public Education Supporter
1) IF WE BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME
As we seek to attract new, high tech. businesses to our State, research shows that we must have the infrastructure, including a vibrant, competitive school system, to lure them.
Passage of Prop. 100 will infuse our public schools with some much needed funding so we can continue to support the kind of schools that corporations look for when choosing new sites for their business.
2) POLICE ARE A PRIORITY
Part of the funding from Prop. 100 will go to support public safety. Especially in difficult economic times, we cannot afford to forego a strong police presence in our neighborhoods and State. There is simply too much at stake.
3) HEALTH IS WEALTH
The current State budget removes access to healthcare from thousands of children and families in need. Prop. 100 mandates that 1/3 of the collected revenues be spent on health care. Early intervention will allow those people to get better and help our economy recover, instead of being a drain on economic recovery as their acute illnesses only get attention in our emergency rooms.
4) IT’S THE LAW OF THE LAND
The Arizona Constitution states, “ [T]he legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions…”
In the past 2 years, public education has endured $900 million in cuts. To properly maintain our schools, we need to get some more money. The Legislature is relying on us to uphold this Constitutional mandate and pass Prop. 100.
5) SOMETIMES BIGGER ISN’T BETTER
Arizona already has the highest student teacher ratio in the nation. Without funding from Prop. 100, our classroom sizes will grow to averages not seen anywhere else in our country; surely our children deserve better.
6) SMARTS COME FROM MORE THAN THE 3 Rs
Research has proven that the very skills our children need to be successful in this 21st century economy are fostered by fine arts education. But the cuts to public education- already nearly a 25% total cut over the last 2 years- will preclude many districts from offering their students these essential classes. Prop. 100 gives us a chance to tell our children that we understand and support a well rounded, high caliber education for every Arizona child.
7) CUT… CUT… LOSE
We have closed our parks and rest areas; we have slashed our university and public school budgets; we have diminished government personnel and budgets; and we have sold our State buildings. The long-term economic impact of all these cuts –in terms of the job losses and reduced revenue- is predicted to be significant if not devastating. Relying on cuts alone will throw our State back in time, and we will lose our competitive edge. Our recovery from this recession requires a small, temporary influx of cash; Prop. 100 can deliver.
8) IT’S A SCREAMIN’ DEAL
For an extra penny on your dollar, you can buy almost $1 billion worth of services for our children, our communities and our neediest citizens.
9) HERE TODAY- GONE TOMORROW
It clearly states in the law that this tax will be eliminated on May 31, 2013. It really is a temporary stopgap that will help us maintain essential State functions while we continue to recover from our recession.
10) ARIZONA’S KIDS ARE WORTH IT
90% of Arizona children are educated in public schools; two-thirds of Prop. 100 money must be spent on our public schools. A YES vote on Prop. 100 sends a message to our children that they are our greatest State treasure, even when times are tough.
"Top Ten Reasons to Vote for Prop 100" originally ran in the print edition of the Scottsdale Republic as a "My Turn" column on April 1, 2010. We obtained permission from Francesca Thomas to post it here. Thomas is a mother of three boys in the Scottsdale Unified School District and is president-elect for the Scottsdale Parent Council.