I ranted and I raved and I was right. Voting for this Proposition will be giving in to bullies. The voters demanded funds for education; the governor denied those funds and presented this in its place. There are triggers and there are caveats and there's the whole thing about the State Land Trust and mortgaging the future for today.
I spent the morning at Prince Elementary School. I watched the teacher struggle to maintain order with 27 wily 5 and 6 year olds doing their best to thwart her. I saw her name on the books in her Library.... her name, not the classroom number or the school's identifier. She paid for The Little White Duck and The Sense of Smell and several other well loved paperbacks in the bucket on our table. The District didn't pay for those books. She did, and she will take them with her when she moves out of Kindergarten and up to a 4th grade class next Fall. They'll stay stored away, in case she decides to return to teaching the littlest ones; she'll invest in grown up books for next year.
She'll invest. She will take the time and the dollars from her own stash. The State of Arizona won't help her. The Amphi School District can't help her. The students need her. What else can she do?
I asked her about my vote, and she begged for my YES at the ballot box. Her health care premiums are rising next year; without the passage of Prop 123 she'll take a pay cut to meet her share. She hasn't gotten a raise in years, but she loves the kids and her work and really, what else would I do? But her meager pay check must cover not only her own costs, but those of her classroom as well.
I spoke to the Principal about my vote, too. Her husband is in my corner - this is a raid on the principal of the land trust, there is no guarantee for the future, the bill is too flawed to approve. Yet, this principal spent last night trying to convince her mate that he needed to swallow all of his valid objections - her teachers need a boost.
If Prop 123 passes, the Amphi District staff will receive bonus checks in the mail this summer. It won't be a lot, but it will be something. "And who doesn't need a little bit extra in the summer," asked the principal.... and I couldn't disagree.
So, I am stuck. Do I stick to my principles, my clear understanding that voting for this proposition will be giving in to the bullies who've said Take It or Get Nothing, or do I bend and give the people in the trenches a little bit of whipped cream on an otherwise empty dessert tray? When all the educators in town are urging me to vote for the proposition, do I stay on my high horse, stick to my guns, do what I know is right or do I help the humans I care about get just a little bit of something wonderful, right now?
It's a dilemma, denizens.