by David Safier
1. The vote on Prop 123, which will decide whether the state can dip into the principal of the state land trust to bring school funding up to what the courts say the state owes the schools — or to be more accurate, up the 70% of what the courts ordered.This whole thing can play out in a number of ways. I'm betting that Ducey and his cronies have a clear idea of what they want to see happening and when they want it to happen, but they're playing their cards close to the vest (Chess. Cards. I'm mixing game metaphors here, but you know what I mean), because the order in which they dribble out information and the element of surprise are key to their success. Timing, I think, is everything. The Prop 123 election has a set date — May 17, 2016. Last year the state budget was passed in a hurry on March 7 during a marathon legislative session. If the legislature plays hurry-up again this year, the budget, with or without additional funding for schools, will be passed well before the Prop 123 vote, though the vote can come later if they think it will improve the chances of passing Prop 123. And the recommendations from the Classrooms First Initiative Council were first set to come out this month, but the date has been delayed, maybe by as much as six to nine months. I'm sure they can put together their findings pretty much any time they think it will be to their advantage. Ducey and the major players on the council already know what they want to recommend. All those meetings and press releases have more to do with political theater than decision making.
2. The legislature's state budget, which may or may not include additional funds for K-12 education.
3. The recommendations of Ducey's Classrooms First Initiative Council, which are likely to ask for a restructuring of the school funding formula that will reward schools with "high achieving" students — meaning, usually, students from high income families — as well as charter schools (and maybe private schools).