I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, November 13, 2009

AEA Update: AZ Leg Special Session

Here's the latest legislative update from Doug Kilgore at the Arizona Education Association. We have some common interests, and they are aggressive activists and can be good allies. I think we need to support a lot of their efforts here - Doug embedded action links to make it easy. We need to start engaging with them in this dialogue about the prison industrial complex as well, since they see where it all begins and might have some ideas for models of education and institutional management which are built from restorative, not retributive, forms of justice - and how to incorporate those concepts at the different grade levels.


November 9-13, 2009

This Week's Issue: 

  • $144 Million Cuts to K-12 if Special Session Called Take Action Now
  • Every School Employee in Every School Organizing for Change
  • Arizona Budget Deficit and Fiscal Mismanagement
  • News Links
$144 Million Cuts to K-12 if Special Session Called Take Action Now
Will there be a special session to cut an additional $144 million dollars from public schools? What last week seemed likely, today seems uncertain. Again, the governor is attempting to work with Senate President Burns and House Speaker Adams on a partisan strategy to force a budget decision that includes Republican votes only. The proposed special session budget includes cuts but no additional revenue.   

The proposal includes over $500 million in reduced state expenditures for the current fiscal year (FY10 runs through June 30, 2010).  For K-12 education, the proposal will include a reduction of $144 million taken from soft capital.  The $144 million amount represents the maximum amount that legislative and executive staff believe the state can cut education without violating the federal stimulus' maintenance of efforts (MOE) provisions. Services for Arizona's most vulnerable citizens will be hard hit by a proposed cut of over $140 million.

Partisan strategies like this allow the most extreme anti-public education legislators to hold out for deeper cuts to our schools and vital state services in return for their support on the budget deal. Instead, the Governor, Speaker Adams, and President Burns should reach across the aisle to work with both Democrats and Republicans to build a comprehensive budget solution that includes a combination of tax and revenue options to balance our state's budget and avoid massive cuts to education and vital services. Contact the governor and your legislators and urge them to support a comprehensive bipartisan budget solution

Every School Employee in Every School Organizing for Change

Learn How You Can Help! School employees all over Arizona are organizing for change. Attacks on the basic rights of teachers passed by the legislature on September 4 have provoked Arizona school employees to take action. These legislative attacks are viewed as retribution for effective efforts by school employees and parents to stop massive budget cuts to our public schools.

Every school employee can get involved in this grassroots movement to repeal the punitive legislative attacks on Arizona's education profession by organizing a petition drive at their campus or work site. Following the petition drive to repeal these punitive laws, the AEA March4Schools movement will organize school site reports on the impact of budget cuts on students and school employees. Learn how you can get involved at your school site. 

Arizona Budget Deficit and Fiscal Mismanagement

The Pew Center for the States released a report on state budget fiscal mismanagement.  Arizona's budget mismanagement is second among the states. Only California is worse.

Arizona legislators and governors have spent the last 30 years cutting taxes. When the economy has expanded they, have cut taxes. When the economy was in recession, they cut taxes and spending. We have eliminated a well-constructed, broad-based tax base that existed in the 1960s and 1970s for a system full of loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest Arizonans which is overly reliant on the sales tax.

Our economy has suffered for a lack of basic government support for infrastructure and quality schools. Major corporations are leaving Arizona as a result. Learn more about our state's fiscal crisis and examine solutions offered by the AEA and Children's Action Alliance.  

News Links

If you were to grade Arizona's education system, it would be much closer to an 'F' for failure than 'A' for amazing.  The state spends only $7,338 per pupil per year, well below the national average of $9,683, according to U.S. Department Education, and Arizona has also consistently ranked very near the bottom in comparison to other states in educational achievement. 

Thank goodness the Legislature doesn't send out those "save the date" notices about upcoming events. It seems the prospects for a special session next week are getting a little wobbly about the knees, amid concerns about whether there are enough votes to act.

Arizona schools may be forced into massive teachers' layoffs next year unless an answer is found to the state's budget crisis, according to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne. 
The Arizona attorney general is considering suing some non-profit organizations that distribute private-school scholarships funded by tax credits, to prevent them from holding millions in unspent donations, state lawmakers were told Thursday.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office should explore whether the state can access millions of unspent tuition tax credit dollars in light of information presented Tuesday, one state lawmaker said.

Contact Us  
Please contact Doug Kilgore, Government Relations Organizational Consultant, for questions and comments

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