If you’re a registered voter, it’s important to understand how your vote may impact your child’s educational experience. We’ve outlined five ways your vote has the potential to change the education landscape at your child’s school, in your community and statewide. For a more in-depth look, check here.
- Determination of school district board members: In your neighborhood, governing board members hire the district superintendent, set salaries for teachers and other staff, approve disciplinary policies, and manages district budgets and property. School board members also weigh in on policies, including the schools’ curriculum (which stipulates how educators teach the state-determined standards).
- Selection of state legislators: The 90 members of the Arizona state House and Senate control a sizable portion of education funding through our state’s budget. They also pass laws regulating everything from the minimum length of the school year to issues of school choice and access to programs like full day kindergarten.
- Passage of bonds and overrides: This additional tax revenue is an important source of funding for school districts in every corner of the state. Passage of bonds and overrides make so many improvements possible, including purchase of updated textbooks, upkeep of school infrastructure and educational initiatives such as full-day kindergarten. Bonds are generally used to fund projects that have a lifespan longer than five years. This might include new or improved buildings, updated technology and buses. Overrides provide new funding to support teaching and learning. These funds could be used to increase teacher salaries or benefits, purchase classroom supplies, add new programs (such as art or P.E.) and purchase furniture or equipment.
- Passage of voter referendums and initiatives. Ballot propositions send a strong message about how voters view key education issues. A recent example is Prop 123; there is also Prop 301, which was passed by voters in 2000 and generates over $660 million annually for Arizona schools.
- Election of state officials. While neither of the offices are up for election this fall, the governor and state superintendent of public instruction are directly elected by Arizona voters, and both have significant influence over education policy issues. The state superintendent of public instruction is responsible for executing policies set by the state board of education. A recent example of this would be the roll out of AzMERIT testing. This individual also serves on a number of boards, including the State Board of Education and Arizona State Board for Charter Schools.
Beyond having significant political influence, the governor can approve – or veto – laws and budgets set by the legislature. He or she is also responsible for appointing members to the State Board of Education, which sets K-12 education policies, and the Board of Regents, which oversees Arizona’s three state universities and influences higher education policy, as well as the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools and the First Things First board.
Your voice and your vote matter! To learn more, visit ExpectMoreArizona.org/Vote, where you’ll find key questions to ask candidates, voter guides, more details about bonds and overrides, and easy tools to contact your elected leaders.
Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to build a movement of Arizonans in support of world-class education for every child. As a 501c3, we do not endorse or support specific candidates. For more information visit ExpectMoreArizona.org.