Arizona is 50th in the nation in education funding, and on May 17 voters will go to the polls to decide the fate of Proposition 123, a compromise proposal whose backers claim would resolve the state’s financial crisis.
There will be a program about the pros and cons of Prop 123 starting at 7:00 p.m. Thursday (April 21) in the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy.
The pro-123 issues will be presented by Village resident Pamela Hennessy, while the anti-123 issues will be presented by Shirley Sandelands.
Hennessy teaches full time in the English Department at Tucson High. She coordinates the school’s English as a Second Language program and teaches English Language Development to students whose home languages are not English. She has been with TUSD for 27 years.
Sandelands is president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona and a past president of the Greater Tucson League.
She is a retired Illinois high school history teacher.
Sandelands argues that the state’s education “crisis” was caused by the governor and State Legislature refusing to follow the will of the voters when Proposition 301 was passed in 2000.
That proposition created a six-tenths of a cent sales tax to go into a State Land Trust that earns income annually to finance education through 2021. But those earnings have been diverted and used for other purposes.
Prop 123 would put $3.5 billion into Arizona’s K-12 public schools over the next 10 years without raising taxes. The majority of the $3.5 billion would come from the Land Trust, which backers of Prop 123 note has nearly doubled in value over the past five years.
Opponents say Prop 123 only provides 70 percent of the funding promised by Prop 301 by using funds already earmarked for education and puts the State Land Trust in future jeopardy by dramatically increasing withdrawals from the trust.
Written by Mike Maharry