A number of states considered various plans to increase public education funding, most of which passed.
Two years ago, Arizona voters approved a measure that allowed raising teacher salaries, but school districts were unable to comply as they were bound by tight spending limits. Passage of Proposition 104 corrects that situation and now teacher salaries can be raised even if they exceed state prescribed limits.42
Voters in Colorado rejected a measure that would have banned native-language support for non-English speaking students and, instead, required one year of English immersion. Silicon Valley millionaire and national chairman of “English for the Children” Ron Unz, was sponsor and financier of Amendment 31. Two other anti-bilingual initiatives backed by Unz — measures in Arizona (2000)54 and California (1998)55 — were passed by wide margins. The outcome in Colorado marked the first time an Unz-funded initiative was defeated.
Even as Florida voters re-elected Governor Jeb Bush, they also passed Amendment 9, by a margin of 52 to 48 percent3, an education ballot measure he vigorously opposed.4 This amendment writes into the state’s Constitution class size limits in public schools of 18 students for grades pre-K-3; 22 students for grades 4-8; and 25 students for grades 9-12.5 The amendment requires the state — not local school districts — to fund these class-size reductions over eight years.
A television ad urging Florida voters to support Amendment 9, the class size reduction initiative, is hitting the airwaves around Florida this week. The ad campaign, which is being paid for by People For the American Way’s Florida Campaign Account, was launched at a press conference today in Tallahassee. The ad will be on the air this week in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and other markets.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been caught on tape bragging to a group of Panhandle lawmakers that he has “devious plans” for dealing with the class size reduction initiative, Amendment 9, if voters approve it. In a report by Gannett News Service, Bush claimed that if voters approve the initiative, he would not abide by their decision and, instead, suggested he would put the initiative back on the ballot accompanied by specific tax hikes or program cuts.