Monday, February 23, 2009

State Rep. David Schapira: column on education and the state budget

State Representative David Schapira (D-LD17) wrote a column that was published by the Arizona Republic in Saturday's edition of the community news section in Tempe. There's no link available - I couldn't find it on their website. It was there though - I read it.)

Fortunately, however, he sent it out as part of an email reminder of tonight's budget hearing at ASU (6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Ventana Room (#241), Memorial Union).

From the email -
Last week, in a Tempe Republic column, Editor Tom Spratt wrote that legislators owe it to constituents to share budget updates.

I couldn't agree more.

Legislative leaders have broken their promise to be open and transparent, and they have not addressed the impact of deep budget cuts to the people they will affect.

The fact is that the legislators who voted to pass the 2009 budget had not publicly discussed the impact of their decision with constituents, K-12 students, parents and teachers or with the universities.

They didn't even discuss it with legislative Democrats or rank-and-file Republicans before it was up for votes on the House and Senate floors.

Spratt wrote that legislators could do more - travel around their districts, meet with constituents, hold forums, answer questions and explain exactly what people should expect as a result of the cuts for this fiscal year and the proposals for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

Legislative Democrats have hosted six public budget hearings in the last two months to discuss the impact of the deep budget cuts and to hear concerns of citizens in the community about the impact of the budget.

We've held these hearings in Casa Grande, Phoenix, Yuma, Tucson, Prescott and Flagstaff. Our seventh in this series will be on Monday at Arizona State University in Tempe, followed by hearings in Sierra Vista and at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

We hope to continue to hear from constituents and community members about how these cuts will impact their lives and the concerns they have about the 2010 budget.

I share the concern of many Arizonans with regard to the deep cuts to education for this fiscal year and those that are being proposed starting in July.

I have worked hard in recent weeks to get the word out about the education cuts. I meticulously detailed the proposed cuts in public Education Committee meetings and budget forums in Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix, and I will do so again at the public budget hearing on Feb. 23 in Tempe. At each forum, I went into great detail in publicly questioning school administrators and university presidents as to the impact of the proposed cuts on their schools.

In addition to participating in public meetings, I appeared on Channel 8's "Horizon," submitted an commentary regarding the budget to The Republic and responded to many reporter inquiries on the proposed education cuts, speaking extensively about potential impacts.

I also have made all of this information available on my website and in email updates to constituents who sign up there.

I fought hard for education on the House floor in the middle of the night, doing my best to convince my Republican colleagues that thousands of jobs will be lost and we would lose major parts of ASU, our community's economic engine. I also pleaded with them to consider the impact on student learning in our state.

I have worked hard to protect education in District 17 and in Arizona, and I always will.

I encourage all constituents to attend our public budget hearing on Monday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at ASU's Memorial Union in Ventana Room 241. We will present detailed information on the budget and seek public comment.

Also, please take a moment to sign up on my website,, to receive future budget updates and information.

State Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe, represents District 17.

See you at tonight's hearing!

1 comment:

Thane Eichenauer said...

I had a very small bit part in helping get David Schapira first get elected to the Arizona legislature.

That being said, I find all the public townhall-ating to be missing the point. If anybody could have predicted the overshot on revenue predictions they should have been agitating for either more reserved spending a year ago or more taxes a year ago.

Recounting the pain of government employee layoff and the effect it has on the citizens or Arizona is OK as far as it goes but it is still stating a problem without offering a solution (perhaps people are supposed to infer one).