Arizona Education Association

Spring 2023

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AT THE CAPITOL SPRING 2023 | ADVOCATE 5 I t's a new day in Arizona. Aer years of underinvestment and disrespect, Arizona's public school educators finally have a champion in the governor's tower. "To the teachers and education support professionals of this state," said Governor Hobbs during her first State of the State address, "I see you, I respect you, and I will always stand with you." Governor Hobbs has been a steadfast supporter of public school educators and students throughout her career, which is why AEA union educators knocked on voters' doors to get her elected this past November. "For the first time in decades, educators know their voices are heard and that they have a seat at the table," said AEA President Marisol Garcia. "Our educators and students need someone like Governor Hobbs who supports union values and will fight for our working families." On January 13, Governor Hobbs released her 2023 budget proposal. e proposal, which reflects many of AEA's 2023 policy priorities, makes clear that Hobbs is ready to prioritize our public schools. As proposed, her budget would include nearly $800 million in new investments in public education, including funds specifically set aside for retaining qualified and experienced educators, maintaining and rebuilding school buildings, and paying for classroom materials and technology. Hobbs has also proposed a repeal of the universal voucher program passed in the summer of 2022, which is on track to drain more than $300 million from the state budget this school year alone. "Most Arizonans agree that all kids, no matter where they live or what they look like, should get a great education—one that prepares them for the future and helps them develop a love of learning," said Garcia. "But that vision was difficult to fulfill under a governor who didn't value educators and who refused to invest in our schools. Now, with Governor Hobbs, we finally have someone in the state's highest office who cares deeply about public education." A Champion on the Ninth Floor at Last On February 2, less than a month aer taking office, Governor Hobbs announced the creation of an Educator Retention Task Force. e task force will be made up largely of educators, who will gather input from across the state and make recommendations on how Arizona can address its educator retention crisis. "Governor Hobbs understands that given the historic cuts to public education over the past decade, keeping great educators in our state has been difficult," said AEA President Garcia. "She understands the scale of the current educator retention crisis, and addressing it is one of her top priorities. At long last, we have a governor who is ready to ensure that educators have the resources and support we need—and the respect that we deserve."

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