Sustainably funding Arizona P-20 education is my top priority at the legislature. It’s why I championed the continuation of Prop 301, which dedicates $640 million annually to our schools, and supported a budget that provides a 20% raise for our hardworking teachers and $10 million for counseling resources.
READ from the AZ Republic: How I’m fighting for Arizona schools and educators
Elvia Diaz: Kate Brophy McGee is one of a few Republicans that helped Arizona teachers throughout the session, party politics be darned….
Then there are the Republicans who stuck to their guns supporting – to varying degrees – Arizona’s K-12 public education system despite the GOP leadership’s arm wrestling.
Topping the list is Kate Brophy McGee, the senator from District 28, which includes north-central Phoenix, Biltmore, Arcadia and the Town of Paradise Valley.
She’s proven herself to be a Republican driven by reason and sound political conviction, not by a desire to maintain her seat at any cost.
McGee’s work on behalf of public education has shown political independence when partisan politics is at all-time high.
The senator this year accomplished the unthinkable – extending Proposition 301.
McGee and Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction, successfully pushed throughthe extension of the six-tenths of a percent sales tax that generates about $600 million annually for public education.
Until then, the governor and lawmakers had been determined to wait until after this year’s mid-term election to deal with the voter-approved initiative that was set to expire in 2021.
Without much fanfare, McGee and Coleman plowed through the legislative process to send Ducey the extension, which to his credit, he promptly signed.
Then in the midst of the teachers’ strike, McGee sealed her independence when she fought to keep the anti-voucher Prop. 305 on the November ballot.
Consider McGee’s audacity: Lawmakers last year expanded the school voucher program to all 1.1 million students by 2022. That means a student can take taxpayers’ dollars to pay for private schools.
Critics gathered enough signatures to send Prop. 305 to voters asking them to reverse the law. That isn’t good for Ducey and Republicans, so they sought to null their own law to avoid a public vote in November when many of them are up for reelection.
Confusing? Yes. The intricacies of legislative maneuvering can be tricky.
But know this: The Republican Kate Brophy McGee has proven to be a steadfast champion of public education and for that #RedforEd should thank and help her stay at the Legislature.
Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral.