/ Modified feb 22, 2016 4:37 p.m.

Parents Groups Fighting for More Education Funding

Metro Week looks at how communities are trying to shore up school budgets.

Public education advocates are increasingly forming parent and community groups to push for more state funding for public education in Arizona.

That comes in the face of what one advocate said have been $3 billion cut from public education funding since the recession in 2008, and with no sign that the Republican-controlled Legislature or Republican Gov. Doug Ducey have any intentions of restoring it.

"What's happening is it's become very evident to parents that their children's schools are deeply, deeply underfunded," education advocate Ann-Eve Pedersen said in an interview on Metro Week Friday. "They are seeing the effects of that in the quality of education their children are receiving."

Pedersen said the state has a $325 million surplus and "most people with any sense of logic would see that there are resources there to reinvest into education, which is an investment that only keeps giving back."

Stacy Winstryg and Heather Morzinski, volunteers with the Vail Parent Network, told producer/host Andrea Kelly that they organized because they saw how state cuts were leading to teacher turnover caused by low pay and fundraiser after fundraiser by PTAs and other groups to raise money for classroom basics.

"Our long-term goal and primary focus is to get legislators in office this November and from here on out that are going to put education first, that are going to make our kids and our teachers a priority," Winstryg said. "That has not been happening. Our overall big goal is to make a change in ... how things are being voted on."

On the program:

  • Stacy Winstryg and Heather Morzinski, volunteers with the Vail Parent Network

  • Education advocate Ann-Eve Pedersen

  • Journalists roundtable with David Rupkalvis of Tucson Local Media, Dylan Smith of TucsonSentinel.com and AZPM’s Vanessa Barchfield.

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