Reveles: Support public schools system at elections

An undeniable take-away from recent events is that working for public policy change at the state legislature is a long-term and unsure process.

Roberto Reveles

Three years ago, the Apache Junction Unified School District faced an ongoing fiscal challenge that led to the closing of the Superstition Mountain Elementary School.

The school closure was an extreme measure and one that convinced a small group of concerned citizens from Apache Junction and Gold Canyon to organize a campaign under the name of Save Our Schools, a name also adopted by other concerned communities.

The initial local group included Cindi Valgento, Cathy Limongello, Cami Garcia, Cassandra Knox, Joseph Dutra, Arthur Helfgott, David Coward and myself.

Our efforts were designed to advocate for increased public school funding by direct communication with local taxpayers and with the state legislators representing our community.

Some from that local team have taken on different responsibilities, or have been sidelined by health, family or career challenges.

Others have most recently added our voice and presence to the massive outpouring of support and activism from an energized coalition of teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and community activists.

Today, that initial Save Our Schools team can look back over the past three years with pride at what at times seemed like a lonely exercise in futility, but which indeed is a small but significant part of the background to today’s historic Red For Ed movement.

Despite recent dramatic results, the state legislative challenge remains pretty much unchanged – primarily, the clear need for voters to ensure that those who sit in the legislature wholeheartedly support our public school system as mandated by Arizona’s State Constitution.

A Constitution that declares “. . . the legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement.”  In other words, there’s no free lunch.

Our grassroots advocacy must unapologetically continue to ensure that those elected to the Legislature are unreservedly committed to the long-term viability of an adequately funded public school system, inclusive of well-compensated teachers and support staff, updated teaching materials and a safe physical environment for our children.

For today, congratulations to all who combined their energies in support of the Red For Ed movement.  I urge the public to stay involved as the campaign to Save Our Schools continues through the critical stages of this year’s election cycle.  Remember the anonymous admonition that the world is run by those who show up.

Voters who support our public school system must show up on election day in August and November.

Roberto Reveles
Gold Canyon

Editor’s note: Roberto Reveles read the above during the public comments section of the May 8 Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board meeting.

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