Saturday, September 5, 2015

Razing Arizona: Falling behind, one child at a time

That seems to be the choice of Guv Doozey and the AZ Republican idiotors when it comes to public education. David Safier at TucsonWeekly/The Range explains why nothing will be done about public education in the state of crAZy other than let the system keep eroding.

Right now, we have three options for increasing education funding.

Behind Door Number One is the most straightforward and doable of the three options. The legislature simply does what the courts have told them to do and increases school funding by around $330 million for this school year. (There's also that pesky $1.3 billion the lege owes the schools for past years when it refused to follow the law and raise funding for inflation, but that's a separate matter.) If Republicans choose Door Number One — which they could do during a special session, like, tomorrow — all they have to do is open the door and pick up the money stacked on a table in neat million dollar bundles, courtesy of unexpected tax revenues which have poured in recently. They can hand it to schools with smiles on their faces, and it can be used right away to help educate this year's crop of students.

The Republican-dominated legislature has decided it doesn't like Door Number One. Settlement talks over a funding fix, which could have been resolved by agreeing to pay the money, broke down recently. And, according to Jim Nintzel who knows far more about the state's legislative history than I ever will, the lege may not comply with the court order any time soon.

[L]awmakers have been known to let these things drag on rather than resolve them, even when a court order is involved. In the 1990s, a more moderate legislature allowed a lawsuit over school construction and repair to drag on for eight years before resolving it. (And the state still isn't taking care of needed repairs at many schools.)

I guess Republicans can fold their arms across their chests like petulant children, say, "You're not the boss of me!" and get away with it.

So the GOPlins must have some other plan, right? Wrong!

Governor Ducey has a plan on his own behind Door Number Two. He wants to take money from the state land trust fund and use it to boost spending on schools. Open that door and you'll find a maze filled with winding paths, some of which lead to dead ends. First the legislature has to decide to put the funding idea on the ballot, which it may not do. Dead End. And once it's on the ballot, the voters may not pass it. Dead End. Meanwhile, working diligently inside the maze is Jeff DeWit, the man who holds Ducey's previous job as state treasurer. DeWit is building a few additional roadblocks of his own as he tries to convince people that taking money from the land trust fund is a bad idea.

So Il Duce's Doozey is a dud.

Then there's Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker David Gowan's plan behind Door Number Three. They want to add around $500 million a year to school funding by stealing money from the First Things First funds which are supposed to be used for early childhood education, adding additional school funding in the next years' budgets and taking some money from the state land trust fund. The light is burnt out behind that door, so it's hard to see anything, but if you look closely, you'll find a confused cluster of arrows pointing in a dozen different directions and a few large question marks hanging from the ceiling.

Sure, why not? Let's fund public education by stealing from public education. BFD stands for Biggs' F'ing Dud.

And all that is why there is no viable plan for funding public education in crAZy.

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