Need remains to provide more funds for schools
Voters in Yuma and the rest of the state are generally supportive of education measures, but that was not the case Tuesday for Proposition 204.
The proposition would have amended the Arizona Constitution to put in place a permanent 1-cent sales tax to primarily fund school programs and transportation needs. It had strong support from the education community and those of us who feel education is underfunded in the state.
It would seem logical that Arizona's voters would approve the measure since the sales tax would have taken effect on June 1, 2013, which is the day after a similar 1-cent sales tax they approved in 2010 to help schools is due to expire.
In effect, the new tax was intended to replace the current one so that schools would have had a continuous stream of money.
Unfortunately, that logic did not prevail. We believe that was likely because the 2010 measure was strongly sold by Gov. Jan Brewer as a temporary tax to help the schools and it would expire in 2013 when Arizona's economy was expected to have improved and it would no longer be needed.
The reality, of course, is that the state's schools have long been underfunded — Arizona ranks near the bottom nationally in school funding — and what is needed is more than a temporary fix.
That is still the case even after the rejection of Prop 204.
Our state's future economically and socially depends on high-performing schools. The governor and the Legislature have a responsibility to provide the necessary funding to ensure that happens — even though they have failed in the past.
It will be up to all of us to pressure our lawmakers to do what is right, beginning with next year's legislative session, and fund the schools properly.