Arizona has recently taken significant steps toward ensuring all students are prepared to succeed in college and career.   As one example, we have begun to transition to Arizona’s Common Core Standards, which are new, more rigorous standards in English and math for grades K-12.   These standards, in addition to excellent teachers and schools, will help our students learn the knowledge and skills necessary for the jobs of the future.  Along with the new standards, several other reforms are being implemented that increase accountability for teachers and schools, including teacher evaluations and school letter grades.

While we may be getting an “A” for our efforts to increase accountability, when it comes to providing support and resources needed to ensure that students can actually succeed, Arizona needs improvement.

In fact, as we’ve raised the bar for students over the last couple of years, education funding has decreased.  As our students are asked to rise to higher expectations and we’ve increased accountability for educators, we must also get serious about the resources needed for our students to achieve world-class excellence.  Currently, Arizona per pupil expenditures are among the lowest in the nation (ranked 48th  by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities).  What’s more, the current one-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2010 is set to expire in May 2013, leaving a troubling funding shortfall for education and bringing Arizona even closer to dead last in education funding.  If we want to improve our educational outcomes and ultimately, Arizona’s overall economic prosperity, we have to be willing to invest in educating our students.  That’s why we are supporting Propositions 204 and 118 and ask that you vote “Yes” when you visit the polls on November 6.

Proposition 204 will provide a dedicated source of funding through a one-cent sales tax that will replace the current tax passed through Proposition 100 in 2010.  This will result in keeping Arizona’s sales tax rate at the same level it is today.   It is estimated that $1 billion will be generated in the first year (2013-2014) for education, health and human service projects, and state infrastructure projects. 80% of the funding will go directly to education and the remaining 20% is slated to support the health and safety of families living below the poverty level and infrastructure projects to generate jobs in Arizona.

Proposition 118 will update the distribution formula for the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund and will guarantee an annual payout to its beneficiaries which primarily includes K-12 education.  It is estimated that K-12 education will receive $62.4 million next year if Proposition 118 passes.

These propositions will provide consistent and reliable funding to support world-class education across our state, the kind of education that Arizona students deserve and need to thrive in today’s global economy. This investment of resources, along with accountability, will propel our education system forward and will ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future – the kinds of jobs we want in Arizona.   Vote 4 Education! VOTE YES ON PROPOSITIONS 204 and 118.

Paid for by Expect More Arizona PAC – Yes on 118 and 204.  Major funding provided by Expect More Arizona.  This political committee has not accepted any public funds.