UPDATE, 3/19, 3:15pm: Teachers and education were protected today by me and AZ Legislative Democrats, who unified to defeat bad HB2630.
PHOENIX -- A bill that would give school districts and governing boards until June 15 to renew contracts with teachers in reality hurts teachers and students and gives Republican lawmakers more time to delay the massive cuts they intend to make to K-12 education.
The current contract deadline is April 15, and Republicans argue that the bill (HB2630) would give schools more time to see how much funding is cut from K-12 education in the 2010 budget before they decided to renew teacher contracts. But that is far from reality.
“We would like to shed some light and transparency on the real purpose for this bill,” said Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios. “It’s unfortunate that Republican lawmakers want to cut the time it takes for teachers to find new jobs while they implement more deep cuts to education.”
However, the $900 million in cuts Republican lawmakers intend to make in the 2010 budget to K-12 education are not necessary and neither is the bill.
“We have $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars coming to Arizona just for education,” House Assistant Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema said. “There is no need to make another cut to education in this state; therefore, more time to notify teachers isn’t needed.”
House Democrats told Republican colleagues in January that the original deep cuts to the 2009 budget were unnecessary and federal stimulus dollars were days away. They still cut anyway, and thousands of families decided whether to quit their jobs or leave their children home alone when they learned their child care would be cut off.
“If legislative Republicans would heed their promise of transparency and openness with the public and discuss their budget options, school districts and teachers wouldn’t be faced with these decisions or this bill,” Sinema said.
“This is an opportunity for Republican lawmakers to show leadership and work with Demorats in offering some reassurance that education funding will be preserved at least at current levels,” Rios said.
- from Legislative Dems PIOs