If Sierra Vista charter schools continue to receive special state funding, one significant reason will be due to the efforts of State Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek.
After the Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB1494 on Tuesday — a bill to prevent charter schools from having access to both state shared K-12 and special charter school funds — Carter prepared an amendment to remove the legislation and headed an effort to hold up House approval of the state budget.
Working with many of the same Republicans who pushed Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion bill through the Legislature, Carter and the moderate coalition have effectively prevented a majority vote by the House to approve sending the budget on to the governor.
Why did she do it?
One reason is evident: Carter listens and works for constituents in her legislative district.
Carter represents the Paradise Valley Unified School District, which has shifted many of its schools to district charter schools. Like Sierra Vista, the impact of lost state revenue on schools in her home district would be substantial if SB1494 was adopted. The practice of converting public schools to charters began in 2012 when Vail and Cave Creek took advantage of the opportunity to increase per-pupil funding.
Compare that effort to what we’re seeing play out in Cochise County, where State Rep. David Stevens and Sen. Gail Griffin continue to push legislation to increase the size of the county Board of Supervisors.
Despite adamant and public opposition from several city and town councils, bills sponsored by the two Legislative District 14 lawmakers continue to survive in Phoenix. These bills force a referendum on whether the county board should be increased from three to five supervisors, when the county’s population reaches 150,000 residents. Opposition from local civic leaders and organizations has focused on the additional cost that will be paid by Cochise taxpayers, and questioning whether there is a need to fix something that’s not broken.
Considering recent population estimates show a significant decline in the county, the other side of the coin is that it may be some time before there are 150,000 people living here.