Friday, April 10, 2015

ASU trustees square off against Dicey Ducey and the Little Shop of Horrors

The ASU trustees bought a full page ad in The Republic in which they lambasted Il Duce and the GOPlin legislature for the AZ "values" budget. You know, the budget that whacked $99 mil out of higher ed funding thereby demonstrating to the rest of the world what AZ really values. Here are snippets from Laurie Roberts' account at azcentral.com.

ASU's Board of Trustees put out a hit on Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature on Wednesday, saying the state budget for higher education "sends a message to our state and to our country that educated citizens and the long-term health of our economy are not priorities for the state of Arizona."

For the second time in less than a month, university leaders are talking about the Arizona Constitution.

Specifically, the part that says a college education must be "as nearly free as possible" and that other part – the section that rarely gets mentioned.

It goes like this: "The Legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement."

Attention: Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature. Note the word: "shall."

Not may.

Not, if we're flush with cash.

Not even, if we feel like it.

Shall.

The signed ad from ASU's 30 trustees -- which includes a number of prominent business leaders in the state -- should be horrifying to a governor who sees himself as the Recuiter in Chief for economic development -- not to mention a guy who claims to support education,

The trustees' ad notes that higher education has been cut 48 percent per student since 2008. And that's before the coming year's additional $99 million (or 13 percent) cut. As a result: tuition has risen 10 percent a year on average and graduates of Arizona's universities are leaving school with an average of $22,000 in debt, the ad notes.

"We must respond with a clear message of disapproval short term," the trustees wrote, "but long term we need to change the conversation with our fellow citizens and attract people to public office who favor investment in education at all levels."

Direct hit, there.

Whoa. But who then voted for all these folks who do NOT favor investment in education?

Clearly, we do need to change the conversation about the importance of public education -- both to our kids and to our economy. Unfortunately, our leaders thus far don't seem inclined to listen.

So the question is, will anyone sue the state to compel our leaders who clearly don't favor investment in education to follow the Arizona Constitution?

None of this matters to Il Duce - he knows how to fix the state - reduce taxes on the rich and cut education. And he believes deep down that the AZ electorate won't care, or, worse, have his back.

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