I followed his advice.
Rep. Smith says he supports “quality education” and “school choice”. He sponsored more than 90 pieces of legislation during the last session of the state Legislature. Only two addressed education issues. Both failed. During the recession he supported a series of budget measures that reduced education spending in Arizona by 21 percent, the largest percentage of cuts by any state.
Rep. Smith identifies the Vail School District as an exemplary district and asks why others are not as successful. Vail has five public charter schools. When compared to public (non-charter) schools, charter schools receive nearly $1,200 in additional funding per student. Rep. Smith voted to deny the same “school choice” funds which Vail uses to improve their system to the Maricopa Unified School District when it established six charter schools of its own. Starting in 2016, Rep. Smith’s vote will result in the loss of nearly $3.6 million in annual state funding for MUSD. The Maricopa district is now asking local taxpayers for a 5 percent override. With the charter funds for which MUSD had qualified, the additional local taxes would not be necessary.
Rep. Smith voted against HB2144 which would have provided academic intervention for struggling students (but only if funding were to be available) starting in 2016-17.
Rep. Smith voted against HB 2521 which would have allowed D and F schools to approve an extended (200 day) school year in order to improve the academic opportunities and achievement of their students.
Rep. Smith voted against HB 2543 which would have provided $250,000 to promote mental health resources, safe and supportive school environments and programs to assist students with autism.
Because I have both listened to what Rep. Smith has said and looked at what he has done, I will be voting for Mr. Scott Bartle in our primary election. I can believe what Mr. Bartle says and I appreciate what he has done for our schools and our community.