The members of All Arizona School Retirees Association (AASRA) were disheartened to learn that a majority of justices on the Arizona Supreme Court chose to deny Arizona voters the opportunity to directly express their opinions on the funding of public education in our state.
The citizen initiative process is a long-standing cornerstone of Arizona's constitution. The Court’s decision to remove Proposition 207 - Invest in Education from the November ballot was a slap in the face to the over 270,000 voters who signed petitions indicating their desire to give the electorate a voice in how Arizona education should be funded. Furthermore, it is a patronizing, politically- motivated insult to the 3.6 million Arizona voters who have had their opportunity to vote on this issue stymied.
Our discontent does not lie exclusively with the Supreme Court. For over a decade the Arizona Legislature has squeezed public schools to the point that Arizona ranks among the lowest per pupil funding in our country. That disgraceful funding level brought supporters out in droves in the summer heat to gather signatures for this ballot initiative that is now thwarted.
It is imperative that those most interested take their energy to the ballot this November. We must ensure that all citizens are informed about who is responsible for the level of current funding that cheats Arizona's children and families and impoverishes our teachers. We must elect candidates who will support adequate and sustainable funding for public education in Arizona and we must hold those elected representatives to their promises.
Since our humble origin in 1950, AASRA has supported public education and public-school employees. Our members, all former educators, will join with hundreds of thousands of others around Arizona to “Remember in November”. ~ Jerry Holmes, AASRA President