CLIFTON – On Saturday, July 22, the Save Our Schools (SOS) Arizona coalition will be sponsoring a pro-public education rally and march through Clifton. The event will begin with speakers and snacks at 9 a.m. at Veterans Park on S. Coronado Boulevard in Clifton. At approximately 9:30 a.m., those who wish to will march approximately a quarter-mile to the Clifton Splash Pad. Participants are urged to wear comfortable clothes that they don’t mind getting wet. All are welcome, including children accompanied by adults.
Petitions will be available to sign seeking to refer SB 1431, the voucher expansion bill, to a vote in 2018. The controversial bill allows parents of school-age children to apply for a voucher or Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) of approximately $6,000 to send their children to private or parochial schools, which critics feel will drain public schools of needed funds. SOS has also pointed out that the money parents will receive will be enough to cover only about half of a typical private school’s tuition, resulting in it not really being an option or “choice” for families struggling economically.
SOS Arizona is a non-partisan, statewide, grassroots, volunteer group of parents, teachers and business leaders. The group is hoping to get enough valid signatures of registered voters by the end of the month to refer SB 1431, which has been signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey, to the ballot. If the petition drive is successful, the law will not go into effect before the election in November 2018.
The leaders of SOS Arizona stress that this has been a total volunteer effort, with no paid canvassers involved in collecting signatures.