Archives for category: Arizona

Perhaps you thought the voucher fight was over in Arizona in 2018 when voters rejected vouchers by a decisive margin of 65-35%.

But no, the clear and overwhelming decision of the state’s voters did not deter the Christofascists who are determined to destroy public schools by transferring funding away from them to any form of non public schooling, be it religious, private, homeschooling or a business run by a fraudster.

Governor Doug Ducey signed a law creating a universal voucher plan on July 6. The new law will subtract $1 billion from the state’s public schools.

SOS Arizona is once again leading the fight against universal vouchers, led by Governor Ducey and championed by the Republican legislators. The dark money behind the voucher campaign comes from the usual suspects: the Koch machine and the Betsy DeVos combine.

If Save Our Schools Arizona and its supporters can secure 118,823 valid signatures before September 24, the voucher expansion law will be placed on hold until November 2024, when voters get a chance to express their views, as they did in 2018.

The stakes could not be higher – this is a referendum to decide the future of education in Arizona and across the nation.

You can see more about the SOS Arizona signature drive here: teamsosarizona.com.

Beth Lewis, the director of SOS Arizona, wrote to provide the context for the battle over vouchers:

Universal voucher expansion is the KEY issue driving right-wing politics in the US, and hardly anyone is talking about the well-moneyed, dangerous forces driving it. The AZ legislature’s myopic focus on pushing private school voucher expansion over any other piece of legislation for the past 6 years is enough to tell us that — not to mention the massive focus FOX News has placed on vouchers since the bill’s passage here in Arizona. Recently, Christopher Rufo admitted he created the CRT furor in order to advance universal vouchers.

We desperately need folks to plug in – people all over the state can get petitions at our hubs: teamsosarizona.com or sign up to volunteer: bit.ly/SVEvolunteer.

As you know, we are truly the tip of the spear when it comes to privatization. Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children is mobilizing (somewhat ineffectively) against our efforts, and the battle lines are drawn. It is evident that universal voucher expansion will become a pattern across the US, as Republican Governors are all declaring that every red state should adopt this policy. We have seen the dangers of private school vouchers first-hand here in Arizona, and our public school system has been starved in order to give credence to those who wish to privatize our public education system.

Charlie Kirk is partnering with an incredibly rightwing Evangelical church (Dream City Church) to open Turning Point Academies across Arizona. Here is the June article from Newsweek describing their plans to proliferate campuses across AZ and then the nation. It is no coincidence this plan was announced the same month the AZ state legislature passed universal vouchers.

Kirk recently spoke at Freedom Night hosted by Dream City Church, and this expose in the AZ Republic shows the hateful ideology against LGBTQ and trans youth Kirk and the Church spread. It’s terrifying – and infuriating to think this is where our taxpayer dollars are headed.

It is abundantly clear that special interests who favor extremist Christian Nationalism are driving the bus on these issues – and it makes sense. Private school vouchers are the perfect solution for building a long-term, endlessly replenishing base of voters who also favor Christian Nationalism.

We only have 42 more days to collect the signatures to put this bill on the 2024 ballot. We expect massive legal battles, as dark money will pour in and the usual suspects will challenge every signature. We are confident we will push back successfully and get the measure on the ballot – we must, as goes Arizona, so goes the nation.

You can help these fearless, intrepid volunteers by sending a contribution to: sosarizona.org/donate.

The Washington Post reports that Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema signed on to the “Inflation Reduction Act”—which provides funding for climate change/health care. Her demand? She blocked taxes on the wealthiest and on corporations that pay nothing. Why is she a Democrat?

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said she would “move forward” on a revised version of Senate Democrats’ health care, climate and deficit-reduction package, after party leaders agreed to scale back some of their original tax proposals.
The new approach — along with other changes to the proposal known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — satisfied Sinema’s chief concerns and helped set in motion a plan to approve it as soon as this weekend.

In a statement, Sinema said Democrats had “agreed to remove” a key tax targeting wealthy investors and had made changes to a second provision that aims to impose a new minimum tax on corporations that currently pay nothing to the U.S. government. From here, Sinema said she would await a final review from the chamber’s parliamentarian — a critical step in the process that allows Democrats to move their spending bill — at which point she would “move forward.”

Kathryn Joyce is an investigative reporter for Salon. In this article, she shows how the Republican leaders of Arizona have decided to end the teacher shortage by reducing standards for teachers. They have decided that teaching is not a profession. Anyone, they think, can do it.

She writes:

Last week, just days after the Arizona legislature passed the most expansive school voucher law anywhere in the nation, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law another education measure decreeing that public school teachers are no longer required to have a college degree of any kind before being hired. Instead of requiring a masters degree — which has long been the norm in the profession — Arizona teachers will only have to be enrolled in college in order to begin teaching the state’s public school students.

The law, SB 1159, was pushed by conservatives on the grounds that Arizona has faced a severe teacher shortage for the last six years, which, by this winter, left 26% of teacher vacancies unfilled and nearly 2,000 classrooms without an official teacher of record. That shortage has led supporters of the bill, including business interests such as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, to claim that loosening teacher credential requirements will help fill those staffing gaps. Opponents of the bill, however, point to the fact that Arizona has the lowest teacher salaries in the country, even while boasting a budget surplus of more than $5 billion.

“Arizona’s teacher shortage is beyond crisis levels,” tweeted Democratic state Rep. Kelli Butler this March. “Instead of offering real solutions (like increasing pay & reducing class sizes) the House Education Committee passed a bill to reduce the requirements to teach.”

“With Arizona trying to get education monies to parents directly to pay for schooling — including homeschooling — you see more evidence that the state doesn’t care who teaches its kids,” said David Berliner, an education psychologist at Arizona State University and former president of the American Educational Research Association. “Charters and private schools for years have not needed certified folks running schools or teaching kids — as long as the voucher for the kids shows up.” Combined with its new law creating a universal voucher system, Berliner added, “Arizona may now be the most radical state in terms of education policy.”

Please open the link and read the article in full.

Arizona doesn’t care about its children.

Mercedes Schneider writes about Arizona’s new law, which seeks to fill its teacher shortage by eliminating almost all professional standards for teachers.

She writes:

In an effort to address teacher shortages in Arizona classrooms, the Arizona legislature passed a revised version of AZ SB 1159, which Arizona governor, Doug Ducey, signed into law on July 05, 2022.

This revision allows for Arizona school districts and charter schools to apply to the state to operate classroom-based, teacher-prep programs in which participants need only pass a background check and be enrolled in an accredited bachelors degree program before being allowed into the classroom– supervised, sort of maybe.

Just enrolled– meaning not even a single credit hour yet earned is acceptable, and in no particular field. Furthermore, the bill language is loose regarding who could be actually instructing the class, since the bill states that participants do not “regularly” instruct class unless a “full-time teacher, certificated teacher, instructional coach, or instructional mentor” is present.

What qualifies as “regularly”? Who knows? Is “regularly” different days of the week? Is “regularly” every day, with some mentor figure poking a head in the door on occasion to token-supervise, thereby CYA, so to speak, on countering “regularly” with a superificial, other-presence of sorts?

Those who teach with emergency certificates need only a high school diploma.

The best way to increase the supply of teachers is to raise salaries and reduce class sizes.

But doing the right thing costs money, and Arizona prefers to funnel money to charter operators and vouchers.

Arizona is doing its best to destroy public education while enriching charter entrepreneurs and the voucher industry.

The state is placing its bet on the assumption that anyone can teach.

Why don’t they try that for doctors? Drop the requirement of medical school and allow anyone to cut and sew. That would kill people. As for the future of their children? Doug Ducey and the legislature don’t care.

Andrew Van Wagner warns that the neoliberal experiment in Arizona is intended to atomize, indoctrinate, and control the population.

As he writes, if you can dumb people down, you can control them. If you can declare some topics unacceptable in the classroom, like racism, you can indoctrinate them.

Van Wagner writes:

“It’s part of the way of controlling and dumbing down the population, and that’s important.”

“Everyone should fight back against the effort to dumb people down and control people—it’s scary to think that the GOP is turning America into a country where people don’t have enough education to be able to resist the GOP’s legislative and cultural agenda.”

“So the new Arizona law is a fantastic and quintessential and perfect example of neoliberalism. The vision is—as I’ve written about previously—atomization for the general population and lots of society and organization and community for elites.”

“Everyone needs to fight back against the GOP’s attack on education. We can’t afford—in a pivotal period like this—to let the GOP impose atomization and indoctrination and control on the American population.”

Doug Ducey, the Governor of Arizona, has been funded by the Koch machine. One of his goals is to destroy public schools. Arizona voted vouchers down, by 65-35%. No matter. Kathryn Joyce wrote in Salon about Ducey’s latest effort to eliminate public schools, disregarding the referendum.

She writes:

Last Friday, while the country reeled from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, Arizona made history of a different sort. Legislators in the Grand Canyon State passed a universal school voucher bill that, once signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, will become the most wide-reaching school privatization plan in the country.

In his January State of the State address, Ducey called on Arizona lawmakers to send him bills that would “expand school choice any way we can,” and the Republican-dominated legislature obliged, delivering last Friday’s bill, which will open a preexisting program for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) up to the entire state. In practice, the law will now give parents who opt out of public schools a debit card for roughly $7,000 per child that can be used to pay for private school tuition, but also for much more: for religious schools, homeschool expenses, tutoring, online classes, education supplies and fees associated with “microschools,” in which small groups of parents pool resources to hire teachers.

Ducey said the law had “set the gold standard in educational freedom” in the country, and right-wing politicians and education activists quickly agreed. Corey DeAngelis, the research director of Betsy DeVos’ school privatization lobby group American Federation for Children, declared on Twitter that Arizona “just took first place” when it comes to school choice. Anti-critical race theory activist Christopher Rufo — the Manhattan Institute fellow who this spring called for fostering “universal public school distrust” in order to build support for “universal school choice” — tweeted, “Every red state in the country should follow [Ducey’s] lead,” since the law “gives every family a right to exit any public school that fails to educate their children or reflect their values.”

RELATED: Salon investigates: The war on public schools is being fought from Hillsdale College

From the American Enterprise Institute, education researcher Max Eden happily concluded that “Arizona now funds students, not systems,” deploying a formulation that has become common among conservative education activists, as when last week the Moms for Liberty network chastised Arizona public school advocates who opposed the bill as “system advocates” rather than “education advocates.” From Rhode Island, anti-CRT activist Nicole Solas, a fellow with the right-wing Independent Women’s Forum, tweeted, “You know what happens when you abuse people? People leave you. Bye, public school.”

And back in Arizona, the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank founded in honor of former senator and right-wing icon Barry Goldwater, celebrated the law it had done much to create as a “major victory for families wary of a one-size-fits-all approach to education,” plus a cost-saving measure to boot, since the total funding parents would receive through ESA vouchers is $4,000 less than Arizona’s already paltry per-pupil funding for public schools.

By contrast, Democratic politicians and public education advocates described the law as the potential “nail in the coffin” for public schools in Arizona, as Beth Lewis, director of Save Our Schools Arizona (SOS Arizona) put it.

“The Republican universal voucher system is designed to kill public education,” tweeted former Arizona House Rep. Diego Rodriguez. “OUR nation’s greatness is built on free Public schools. The GOP goal is to recreate segregation, expand the opportunity gap, and destroy the foundation of our democracy.”

“I think it’s a very serious mistake and the result will be that, within a decade, Arizona will have a very, very poorly educated adult population,” added Carol Corbett Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education. “Maybe that’s the game…”


“It’s very easy to set up a one-room shop in a strip mall, give every kid a Chromebook and a plaid skirt, tell parents they’re on an accelerated curriculum and take that $7,000,” said Lewis. But it’s equally easy for those schools to “close up shop whenever they want,” as numerous low-quality voucher schools have been known to do, leaving students stranded partway through the school year. When that happens, said Lewis, “There’s no recourse to claw those funds back.”

Unfortunately, said Carol Corbett Burris, ESA programs have already demonstrated problems with that approach, through numerous cases of fraud, in which parents used the funds for things other than their children’s education.

“It’s like an insurance company giving parents of a sick child $7,000 and saying, ‘We don’t care if you go to a physician or a dentist — take that money and do what you believe is best,” Burris continued. “Parents may know best about many things, but they’re not professional educators any more than they are doctors, dentists or nurses.”

What’s more, SOS Arizona pointed out, the ESA funds could also be used to send taxpayer funding to the sort of private school being established by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who recently announced plans to start a network of anti-“woke” Turning Point Academies, first in Arizona, then around the country. The first such school, with more than 600 students, is set to open in Glendale this fall, as the result of a partnership between Kirk and Phoenix megachurch Dream City. According to Newsweek, the academy will ban CRT, the New York Times’ “1619 Project” and what it calls “radical LGBT agendas.” Those 600-plus students, Lewis notes, will add up to some “4 million taxpayer dollars that go straight into Kirk’s academy.”

On a larger level, the new law also speeds up the same sort of death spiral that has afflicted public schools across the country, by steadily draining funds away from public education. While the immediate cost of ESA expansion — for students already outside the public school system — will draw on Arizona’s general funds, the money to cover children who leave public schools in coming years will be deducted from public school budgets. ..

“I think we’re witnessing the dismantling of public education in our state,” said Lewis. “Will it happen overnight? No. But the effects will be felt quickly and the blow to public schools will be unsustainable.” If even a few kids leave a neighborhood school, the difference in funding is noticeable. If six or seven do, “that’s a whole teacher [salary] down.” In her own school, where Lewis teaches third grade, that sort of downsizing would mean the immediate increase of her class size of 27 students to more than 40. “Or do you make the cuts elsewhere? Do you cut special education, which has already been cut to the bone? Or music, arts and after-school programs, which have already been cut to the bone? Do you not have an assistant principal? Then how many students don’t get what they need?”

“We are going to stop this by any means necessary,” Lewis said, including electoral work, public education, and possibly another ballot initiative, even if that means risking the “poison pill” cancellation of the state’s newly increased public school funds. “All options are on the table.”

Read more on the right’s systematic assault on public education:

Kathryn Joyce is an investigative reporter at Salon, and the author of two books: “The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption” and “Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.”MORE FROM KATHRYN JOYCE



Arizona Republican candidates are running as die-hard supporters of Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. They laugh at the 1/6 Conmisssion and ignore the many Republicans who testified that Trump knew he lost the election but decided to destroy democracy rather than admit he lost.

Is stupidity contagious? Or is it gullibility?

Tens of millions of people have watched the first two Congressional hearings probing the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last year, but several of Arizona’s Republican candidates for governor were not among those viewers.

The GOP candidates largely dismissed the hearings as political theater and wouldn’t answer a question from The Arizona Republic about former President Donald Trump’s role in the riot.

Meanwhile, their Democratic opponents seized on the chance to call out their conservative competitors as complicit in the false claims of election fraud that fueled the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“The hearing is a stark reminder of the lengths at which they will go to attack America.”

“I watched the Jan. 6 hearing because right here in Arizona we face dangerous threats from candidates like Kari Lake who continue to spread conspiracy theories and lies to try to undermine our democracy,” Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for governor Katie Hobbs said.

Lake: ‘I think it’s a waste of time’

Lake, a leading Republican candidate and former Fox 10 news anchor, did not respond to questions for this article. During her campaign, Lake has championed the unproven claims the election was corrupt, and that insurrectionists were held without charges or were welcomed into the Capitol by police.

Lake said in an interview on the conservative channel Newsmax that she would not watch the Jan. 6 hearings, which she dismissed as an effort by Democrats, mainstream Republicans and the media to discredit Trump.

“So this is their effort to try to make Donald Trump and his followers go away forever and it’s not going to work,” Lake said in that interview Friday. “This is theater. They’ve obviously been spinning and splicing and taking different video clips, removing the pertinent parts that would put the truth out there and trying to tell a story that spreads their lies. So I’m not going to be watching it. I think it’s a waste of time.”

Talk about cheesy! Talk about hypocrisy! Talk about weasels! Talk about betrayal of the public! Talk about disdain for democracy!

The people of Arizona voted overwhelmingly against vouchers, but the Koch-controlled GOP majority in the legislature is promoting a dramatic expansion of vouchers. Voters be damned!

To buy the support of public school parents, the legislators added a big increase in public school funding, but the new funding is available only if the vouchers are enacted.

Arizona has 1.1 million students, but only 11,775 have used vouchers to leave public schools. Now the Republicans want to fund vouchers for every student in the state. Does it matter that multiple academic studies have found that vouchers do not improve education? Of course not.

Do you think these guys know how repellent they are?

Four years after voters rejected a similar move, Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with a plan to let any of the 1.1 million students in public schools get vouchers to attend private and parochial schools.

And they are holding a plan to boost aid to public schools hostage until they get what they want.

HB 2853, approved Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote, would remove all restrictions on who can get what are called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Backers say this ensures that parents get to decide what is the best option for their youngsters.

That assertion was disputed by Beth Lewis, executive director of Save Our Schools.

She said that unlike public schools, private schools can pick and choose who they want to accept. Lewis said those schools, many of which are for-profit corporations, accept those who will cost them the least, meaning the highest achievers and students who do not have special needs.

Republicans said they are not ignoring the needs of public schools, voting Wednesday for HB 2854, which would increase state aid to schools by $400 million, above another $250 million additional already planned.

But there’s less there than meets the eye.

First, only half of that additional cash is permanent. And it is weighted so the districts with the most students in financial need would get more.

Beyond that, schools would have to wait until the 2023-24 school year for the one-time $200 million infusion.

And there’s something else.

House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, who crafted both measures, included a “poison pill” of sorts: It says that if the vouchers do not become law, the public schools don’t get any of that $400 million.

That is designed to deter the education community from doing to HB 2853 what they did to a similar voucher expansion measure approved by GOP lawmakers in 2017.

They collected sufficient signatures to put the expansion on the 2018 ballot. And voters overruled the legislation by a margin of close to 2 to 1…

And Lewis told Capitol Media Services that supporters of public education won’t be deterred, vowing to go to the ballot once again if the Republican-controlled legislature approves universal vouchers. She said while that would mean the loss of $400 million — or, really, $200 million of ongoing funds — that is nowhere near the amount that public schools need in Arizona.

She pointed out that voters in 2020 approved Proposition 208 to infuse another nearly $1 billion into public education. That was sidelined after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the tax could not be levied because it bumped up against a constitutional limit on education spending.

Lewis, the education community and their Democratic allies are not alone in saying schools need more than HB 2854 is offering.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said he is holding out for an amount close to that $1 billion figure. And with only 16 Republicans in the 30-member Senate, the plan cannot get final approval without his vote.

Wednesday’s votes come as school districts won a significant legal victory, with a judge saying they are entitled to pursue claims that the legislature shorted them billions of dollars.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut is one of the most important members of the U.S. House of Representatives. She is chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

She sent the following letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, endorsing the Department’s proposed reform of the federal Charter School Program and criticizing the charter lobby for spreading lies:

Dear Secretary Cardona,

In July 2021, House Democrats passed the fiscal year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill which included a landmark provision prohibiting federal funding to charter schools run by for-profit education management organizations (EMOs). Under these management relationships, charters accept federal funds only to have their schools run by low-quality, for-profit companies rife with conflicts of interest. The provision was designed to safeguard our critical federal investments in education and protect us all from the financial risks posed by for-profit charter schools.

Predictably, the for-profit charter EMOs were not pleased with this legislative development. In response, their national trade organization led a well-funded misinformation campaign incorrectly claiming that the provision would prevent federal funds from going to any charter school that uses a contractor for any discrete service. These unserious efforts and false claims were advanced by their national trade organization to shift outrage and attention away from the risky, low-quality for-profit charter schools they represent.

Their national trade organization is employing similar tactics through the exaggerations and misrepresentations they are spreading in opposition to the Department’s reasonable proposed regulations for the fiscal year 2022 Charter Schools Program (CSP) competitions. Rather than accommodate the bad faith efforts of a trade organization that advocates for for-profit EMOs, the Department should move forward with its strong proposals to improve accountability and transparency for the CSP program.

For-profit EMOs

The Department has long recognized the particular risks posed by for-profit EMOs. In response to a 2016 audit, the Department conceded to the Inspector General, “ED is well aware of the challenges and risks posed by CMOs and, in particular, EMOs, that enter into contracts to manage the day-to-day operations of charter schools that receive Federal funds. We recognize that the proliferation of charter schools with these relationships has introduced potential risks with respect to conflicts of interest, related-party transactions, and fiscal accountability, particularly in regard to the use of federal funds.”

Such EMO-related conflicts are on clear display in the example of AmeriSchools in Arizona. Four AmeriSchools charter schools were chartered by Reginald Barr. His late wife Sandra was the president of the schools’ board. The schools pay the EMO Edventure to manage all activities and programs; Sixty Five Plus to lease their building; and One Employment Plus to pay school employee salaries. All three for-profit companies are owned by the Barrs. Ownership of One Employment Plus is also shared by the Barrs’ daughter, Deborah LeBlanc, who also sits on the schools’ board.

In addition, for-profit charter schools, including those run by for-profit EMOs, deliver concerning outcomes for students. A 2017 report from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes compared student performance at non-profit charters, for-profit charters, and traditional public schools and found that for-profit charters perform worse in reading, and significantly worse in math, than non-profit charters. In addition, the report found that for-profit charters perform worse in math than traditional public schools.

In light of these serious concerns, I am pleased that the proposed rule includes a clear requirement that a charter school receiving CSP funding cannot contract with a for-profit EMO; however, when considering the complicated web of for-profit conflicts in the AmeriSchools example, I recommend a modest edit to the proposed language:

  1. Each charter school receiving CSP funding must provide an assurance that it has not and will not enter into a contract with a for-profit management organization, including a non-profit management organization operated by or on behalf of a for-profit entity, under which the management organization and its related entitiesexercise(s) full or substantial administrative control over the charter school and, thereby, the CSP project.

Community Impact Analysis

The Department’s proposed requirement for CSP recipients to provide a community impact analysis will generate essential information to assist the Department’s grantmaking decisions. The language, which requires “descriptions of the community support and unmet demand for the charter school, including any over-enrollment of existing public schools or other information that demonstrates demand for the charter school…,” will generate helpful information for the Department and the public. I strongly urge you to retain this specific language in the final rule.

In addition, the Department’s proposed language aimed at determining whether a proposed charter school will increase racial or socio-economic segregation or isolation in the schools that the students currently attend is vitally important. I strongly urge the Department to retain this language to guarantee that CSP grants do not inadvertently exacerbate inequities in our public education system.

Charter School and Traditional Public School or District Collaborations That Benefit Students and Families

I strongly agree with the Department’s goal to support more CSP grants that strengthen both charter schools as well as the local public school system by establishing a new competitive preference priority (CPP). I am encouraged by the potential for CSP grants to support charters and districts through collaborations around curricula, teacher and school leader development, transportation, and other areas of shared interest. For this vision of collaboration to succeed within CSP, I urge the Department to include this priority as a CPP in the fiscal year 2022 CMO and Developer Grants competitions.

I applaud the Department for its efforts to introduce greater accountability and transparency in the CSP program. Further, I urge the Department to disregard bad faith arguments from self-interested organizations that misrepresent these important proposals. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Rosa L. DeLauro

Chair

House Appropriations Committee

# # #

delauro.house.gov

Education advocates put a measure on the ballot in Arizona to raise taxes on the highest-income taxpayers to increase education funding. Voters passed the measure. But a judge struck it down because it exceeded the state constitution’s limit on taxation. This report comes from the Center on Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University.

AZ JUDGE INVALIDATES PROPOSITION THAT WOULD HAVE BOOSTED FUNDING FOR EDUCATION

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah has ended the nearly two-year controversy swirling around the constitutionality of Proposition 208, a measure recently adopted by the voters, by ruling last month that the measure is invalid. The Proposition would have boosted the income-tax rate for high income earners by 3.5%, with the money directed primarily to salary increases for teachers and school support personnel. But the judge ruled last month in Fann v. State, that the money the Proposition would raise would exceed the amount permitted by the state’s constitutional spending limit.

The Arizona Supreme Court had indicated that allocation of funds for education under Prop. 208 would likely contravene the Education Expenditure Clause of the state constitution, a constitutional cap that was adopted in 1980. The case had been remanded to the trial court to calculate whether, as most observers anticipated, the amount raised by the proposition would, in fact, exceed the cap.