State Senate Candidate Steve Weichert (LD-17) Relishing Opportunity to Take JD Mesnard to Task on Education
CHANDLER, AZ - Steve Weichert, Democratic candidate for Arizona’s State Senate in Legislative District 17, says he is looking forward to today's “2018 Education Showdown” debate with JD Mesnard.
“JD Mesnard has spent his entire career chipping away at support for public education in Arizona,” says Weichert. “He has a horrendous track record of reducing investments in public education, favoring private and charter schools, and eliminating financial transparency in the private and charter school system.”
“It’s no wonder his tenure in the legislature has seen Arizona’s education system drop to 45th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the “Education Week” rankings for 2018,” Weichert continued. “When teachers put his back against the wall, he was finally forced to vote in favor of a long overdue raise. But he’s not fooling anyone.”
WHAT: AZ Daily Star - 2018 Education Showdown
WHEN: Tuesday, September, 18th, 2018
WHERE: Cox Communications Studio, 17602 N Black Canyon Freeway, Phoenix, 85027
Airing on Cox Channel 4 and on Cox digital platforms
Mesnard’s legislative record:
- He led the effort to kill the Invest in Ed ballot initiative, which would have raised nearly $700 million annually for public education by increasing state income taxes on Arizona’s highest earners.
- He has continually expanded Arizona’s private school voucher program, which has diverted much-needed funds away from public schools to private and religious schools while enriching Republican colleagues and becoming the gold standard for waste, fraud, and abuse.
- He has been a strong champion for bills that reduce visibility into charter schools’ finances.
- He has presided over a series of annual budgets that provided big tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations while gutting public education funding.
- He voted to lower the bar for those who are allowed to teach in Arizona classrooms.
- He chose to ignore the Arizona Education Association’s invitation to attend AEA lobbying days at the Capitol.
Under Mesnard’s rule, Arizona’s public schools have suffered terribly:
- Well over $1 billion cut from education funding since 2008.
- Arizona is ranked last or near the bottom in per-student funding and teacher salaries.
- 22% of 46,000 state teachers either do not meet basic qualifications or have less than three years' teaching experience.
- Historic and chronic teacher shortages across the state - as of August 31, 24.8% of teacher positions were vacant, despite being several weeks into the school year.