• Ben Cooper

Teachers Unions Lobby for More Money, Less Choice

Bill SB1657 would expand school vouchers. The spending limit exerts some budget control. Predicting doomsday, teachers unions vehemently lobby against both.


Readers may contact their local representatives and senators, in addition to these 3 senators:

  • Tyler Pace R-LD25: 602 926 5760, tpace@azleg.gov

  • Paul Boyer R-LD20: 602 926 4173, pboyer@azleg.gov

  • TJ Shope R-LD8: 602 926 3012, tshope@azleg.gov

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After a last ditch effort by parents in the the Chandler Unified School District, CUSD80, voters only narrowly approved a budget override in November 2021, giving the district permission to exceed its authorized operating budget by up to 15%. To the great surprise of school board candidate Kurt Rohrs, the district did indeed take the full 15% and actually has enough money to be able to roll over budget surpluses to subsequent years. This is despite millions of dollars of questionable spending that the CUSD80 governing board waves through at nearly every board meeting. Mr Rohrs, had vehemently opposed the grass-roots anti-override efforts, comparing parents and taxpayers to the Mafia and calling them far-right extremists.


If Arizona state legislators refuse to waive the school spending limit by March 1, 2022, then school districts, including CUSD80, would see their budgets shrink, giving taxpayers a relief. The spending limit hence represents another opportunity for the community to hold the school district accountable and force budget discipline, rather than timidly asking for it during budget meetings in which voters can view and learn about the district budget, but have no meaningful input or control over it.


Teachers unions and other members of the educational establishment are currently lobbying against the school choice expansion and against the spending limit. They do so by painting familiar doomsday scenarios about underfunded schools. They also encourage their members and supporters to contact state legislators. In truth, US schools are among the very best funded in the world. In CUSD80, the total money spend per student is over $12,000, which is more than parents pay directly to private schools, even those that charge comparatively high rates of tuition.


The public school teachers unions are akin to a cartel. Cartels are organizations that work together to restrict choice and raise prices. OPEC is the most famous. Oil producing countries from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela work together to centrally control their output with the goal of keeping prices high. In a free market, the member states would compete with each other and each would set their output level independently. They would overall produce more oil and hence lower the cost for consumers.


Teachers unions behave in the exact same way. Local teachers unions are highly organized and work together on the national level via their national organization, the American Federation of Teachers, headed by Randi Weingarten, a Democrat. Their goal is to restrict school choice and raise the prices that their members, unionized school district staff, get paid. They are trying to force all teachers to become members, even those that do not wish to be unionized. They collectively bargain and strike to force tax payers to pay higher prices for ever lower quality. They also directly influence districts politicians via donations. The teachers unions have largely shaped the masking and shut down policies the CDC mandated and recommended for schools around the nation. In Chandler, the Chandler Education Association, CEA, directly sponsors the equity lecture series held by the local school district. This seems to be a clear conflict of interest.

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