ARIZONA — Arizona voters passed Arizona Proposition 208 which is also referred to by some as the Invest in Education Act. There were 1,395,478 YES votes versus 1,259,889 NO votes.
Arizona voters left a little more than a 5% margin between those for and those against Prop 208.
The voter-approved initiative enacts a 3.5% income tax, in addition to the existing state income tax (4.5% in 2020) for those with an income above $250,000 who file “single.” In the case of joint filing, the 3.5% income tax will come into play at $500,000 income.
The additional tax revenue will be distributed to teacher and classroom support staff salaries, teacher mentoring and retention programs, career and technical education programs and the Arizona Teacher Academy.
Prop 428 is backed by an Invest in Ed political action committee (PAC) as a way to boost public schools in Arizona which rank 49th in the nation when it comes to education metrics like teacher pay.
Those against Prop 428 say the additional income tax will hit hard on small businesses, adding hardship that compounds COVID-19 closures and reductions.
Some Prop 428 supporters say the benefit to schools, teachers and students far outweigh the economic impact to small businesses. Arizona is still suffering from teacher shortages and ranks 43rd for teacher starting salaries, even when adjusted for the cost of living.
The Invest in Education Arizona (Invest in Ed) campaign responded to the passing of Prop 208 as a “historic win” for education on their Facebook page Wednesday morning.
“Proposition 208 restores hundreds of millions of dollars in K-12 education funding to solve the teacher shortage crisis, lower class sizes, hire aides and counselors, and expand career and technical education,” states the Invest in Ed Facebook page and website.
School board results
The Northland Pioneer College District 1 governing board had one open seat with a 6-year term. Kristine Laughter won with 5,190 (67.91%) votes. She was followed by Joan Ann Gray who received 32.09% of the votes at 2,453.
The Show Low Unified School District #10 governing board had three openings, all with 4-year terms. John Larsen was re-elected with 4,811 votes (56.47%) and Lamista Schultz was also elected with 3,708 (43.53%) votes.
The Concho Elementary Unified School District governing board had three open seats and elected Stephen Larson, Criss Candelaria and Timothy Tower with 459 votes, 438 votes and 432 votes, respectively. There was also a write in candidate who received 137 votes.
The McNary Elementary School District #23 had one open seat on the governing board. Caroline Moody was elected with 36 votes (58.75%), followed by board incumbent Sandra Hume with 24 votes (38.75%) and one vote for a write-in candidate. For results in other school districts within Apache County, visit apachecountyaz.gov/Elections. For results in Navajo County school districts, visit results.arizona.vote/#/specialdistricts/18/10.