Numerous high-ranking Arizona school officials provided their support for Proposition 205 this week, highlighting the much needed revenue that will be raised for K-12 education if voters approve the ballot initiative in November to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.
The Yes on 205 campaign received endorsements from Arizona School Boards Association’s past president Jesus Rubalcava, who currently serves as president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board; Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board President Buck Crouch and Board Member Daniel Hernandez; Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board Vice President Devin Del Palacio; Tucson Unified School District Governing Board Member Kristel Ann Foster; Balsz School District Governing Board Member Channel Powe; and State Sen. Martin Quezada, who is a member of the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board.
Jesus Rubalcava stated, “With our state ranked near the bottom in education funding, we can use all the help we can get. I therefore appreciate that the drafters of Proposition 205 directed such a significant share of the expected tax revenues toward education. As we enjoy the overall benefits of ending prohibition, it is great to know that there will be specific benefits, like expanded full-day kindergarten, for Arizona students.”
Some of the officials are pointing to the success of a similar ballot measure that was approved by voters in Colorado in 2012, which is generating more annual revenue for the state than predicted and fulfilling the promise of raising $40 million per year for public school construction. Colorado’s regulated marijuana system brought in more than $135 million in calendar year 2015 and, according to the Denver Post, it has produced nearly $106 million in revenue in just the first seven months of 2016.
Prop 205 would generate more than $123 million in annual revenue for Arizona, including more than $55 million per year for the state’s school districts, according to a July analysis by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Half of those school funds will be used for teacher compensation, construction, and maintenance, and the other half will be used to support full-day kindergarten programs. State officials sparked complaints from initiative proponents last month when they drafted ballot language for Prop. 205 that fails to mention tax revenue will be used to fund education.
“Teen use in Colorado has not gone up since legalization. The Colorado initiative promised $40 million for schools, and that’s exactly what they got. Ending marijuana prohibition in Arizona makes sense. Let’s take money away from the cartels and put it into classrooms,” mentioned Devin Del Palacio.