Tucson.com reported on April 12 that David Garcia announced Wednesday he wants to be the Democrat who takes on incumbent Republican Doug Ducey for governor, saying the state’s new expanded voucher system will cause great harm to public schools. The story is by Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services.
Garcia, who narrowly lost a bid to be Arizona school superintendent in 2014, told a crowd of supporters he had considered another try for that office next year. But that, he said, was before Ducey “landed the most devastating blow to public education in state history” last week, by signing into law legislation to expand the ability of parents to use tax dollars to send their children to private and parochial schools.
“He signed a voucher bill that will take hundreds of millions of dollars away from our public schools,” Garcia said. That, he said, changed his plans.
“You see, the role of the superintendent is to implement state laws,” Garcia said, meaning whoever has that job has to expedite the voucher expansion program. “And I cannot run for a position whose job it is, is to administer the dismantling of our public schools.”
Ducey brushed aside a question earlier this week from Capitol Media Services about whether his decision to support an expanded voucher program makes him more vulnerable .
“You know, I think that campaign seasons are entirely too long,” the governor said. “We can talk about that next year.”
Part of what is likely to shape the race is how much the state should put into public education — and where to get the money.
Arizona ranks close to dead last in the amount of state dollars that go into K-12 education.
Ducey has proposed to add $114 million on top of the normal adjustments for inflation and student growth. But the governor has repeatedly dismissed the idea of either raising taxes.
Garcia, an associate professor in the College of Education at Arizona State University, is not so hesitant.
“We absolutely need to pay more,” he said , calling it “old thinking” that there’s only a limited amount of money available for public education. “I think it’s time for us to try something different.”