Dear Parents and Friends of Public Education,
This weekend, you may encounter people trying to gather signatures to refer the Medicaid Restoration, passed as a part of the state budget, to the ballot in 2014. Before you decide whether to sign, please keep the following information in mind:
1) The state budget was passed by a bi-partisan coalition of duly elected representatives. Forged long after the 100-day session should have ended in an effort to pass a budget before the July 1 deadline, the budget is supported by schools, hospitals, businesses, cities, and members of both parties for its practical solutions to some difficult problems, and their actions brought us a balanced budget.
2) This budget includes, for the first time in several years, an increase in funding for public education. If sufficient signatures are gathered to put the Medicaid Restoration on the ballot in 2014, the entire budget will be held in limbo for 16 months, as will those increased funds for our schools.
3) The Medicaid Restoration specifically supports our state program known as AHCCCS. This is an ongoing state program that has been supported twice at the ballot by voters. Hospitals, doctors and businesses helped develop the restoration plan as a way to continue to provide care for those in need while assuring the funds to do so will be there. It does not entail a state tax increase, and the "rainy day" fund will be preserved. (Those of you who oppose "Obamacare" should recognize that this program is NOT an endorsement of that federal mandate, but simply a fund restoration to an already existing and functional state aid program. Nothing we do here at the state level can undo that federal action.)
Scottsdale Parent Council understands that we have constituents from multiple political parties, and that some may be unsatisfied with the budget process. Our sole mission, though, is to lobby for the adequate funding of education in our state; and this budget moves us positively in that direction. We encourage you, therefore, to politely decline signing any petition that would jeopardize the current budget. By NOT signing, you will support the balanced budget, and preclude further potential cuts to critical services and the depletion of the "rainy day" funds.
Thank you for your attention to this important alert, and for being aware of what you are asked to sign this weekend. With your help, vigilance and commitment, we can work to bring public education funding in our state up from its current position of 47th lowest.
Together, we can make a difference!