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Proposition 123: Good or Bad for Arizona Schools?

Proposition 123: Good or Bad for Arizona Schools?
February 16
16:23 2016

The Navajo Nation Council has unanimously endorsed Proposition 123.

According to LoRenzo Bates, Speaker for the Navajo Nation Council, the approval will add $3.5 billion to schools throughout the state with $5 million going to schools on and near the Navajo Nation.  Additional funds will be taken from Arizona’s trust lands.

In 2010, education officials sued the state and accused lawmakers of illegally denying funds to educational institutions during the recession.  According to the lawsuit, legislators ignored a mandate that was approved by 2000 votes to boost state aid to schools annually.  The boost would’ve helped offset inflation.  The state Supreme Court also agreed that the boost should be mandated.  Arizona Charter Schools have donated over $10,000 for the measure.

Not everyone thinks the measure is a boon to schools, however.

Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt believes the plan is not financially sound and could result in less money in the long run.

According to Morgan Abraham, Chair of the Committee Against Proposition 123, the measure is a bad deal for the long term future because the money is coming from the land trust.  With the distribution rate increasing, there would be less or no funds left over for education in 10 years.  Abraham says the fund would be decreasing by 3.67 percent every year with all things considered.

Voters will have a chance to vote on Proposition 123 on May 17th.  If approved, schools will begin receiving the money in June 2016.

Approximately $530 million will be given to schools in the next two years alone if the proposition is approved.  That would be equivalent to $200-$250 per student, annually, according to the Proposition 123 website.

If the measure fails, it would add more fuel to the fire for the lawsuit. Abraham thinks the state should pay for the lawsuit with $300 million from the state surplus.

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