I live in Legislative District 20 for the state of Arizona. My wife and I are teachers in the public schools system. The current LD 20 State Representative - Anthony Kern - lives nearby. Although he is my representative, I am not represented by him.
No one is paying me to write this, but I feel it needs to be done because Arizona school funding is in a state of crisis. Despite the commercials we see on TV explaining how teachers are going be paid 20% higher by 2020, the state has fallen $700 Million short of what it used to fund the Arizona public schools in 2009. That was nearly a decade ago.
Support staff, psychologists, school nurses, and instructional aides are being left out by the Arizona State Legislators. Some are simply not being paid.
During the Arizona teachers’ walk out in April to early May, I had the good fortune to speak to Anthony Kern. We were introduced by his colleague State Representative Isela Blanc. Anthony and I spoke for at least 20 minutes in front of the state’s House of Representatives. We talked about schools, the Civil War, and even the Civil Right Act of 1964.
Anthony and I did not agree on too many things - especially Donald Trump. Anthony Kern loves what the president is doing for our country. The only thing we agreed on was the adoption of children should be less expensive.
He was clearly for funding of the ‘Freedom School’ started by the Koch Brothers. According to Jim Small, the State of Arizona has given $12 Million to the 'Freedom Schools' at ASU and U of A since 2016. The Koch Brothers are part of one of the wealthiest families in the United States. They do not need help from Mr. Kern to fund their schools. They can do the funding for their school alone, and do not need help from the state of Arizona.
Nonetheless, my wife and my friends stayed for 19 hours during the Arizona State House deliberation on the education budget. Mr. Kern was clearly disrespectful and condescending about the alleged 20% raise teachers would receive. The budget did not even say how this money is going to come about in its budget. The majority of the Republican legislators were out right hostile to the teachers, Mr. Kern included.
As I have said, Mr. Kern does not represent me nor the majority of his constituents. My wife and my neighbor both had words with Mr. Kern about education. The neighbor is a school psychologist. She invited Kern to come to a local school board meeting, which he did not attend.
We need someone who will represent us like Chris Gilfillan who lost to Kern last election by 3% or 4000 votes. This race in 2016 was one of the closest in the country.
Chris supports schools and the funding for the schools. Arizona schools can receive the funding with the leadership of Chris Gilfillan at the helm of Legislative District 20. I have spoken to Chris several times and I feel he supports education and will give educators the tools that we need for education to make Arizonans students successful for future opportunities in the 21st century.