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Friends,

I am so proud of all the UUs across the state that have joined in the work of protecting public education. And... if I'm honest, I'm anxious, too. Tomorrow, Friday at 3pm, I'll be at the capitol with Save Our Schools to turn in signatures to Stop Voucher Expansion. I hope we will have enough. Not just the 1128,823 signatures we need, but enough of a cushion to withstand the scrutiny of the courts that have thrown out so many signatures before, and thwarted our efforts.

We can make it... but only if we turn in every last signature. What does that mean? If you have a petition with you still, even if there's only one signature on it, get it to a collection center TODAY to have it notorized and turn it in. There is an up to date list of collection spots, with notories, at the Save Our Schools website. All petitions must be turned in to the SOS office downtown Phoenix by noon on Friday, so especially if you are outside the Valley, get your petitions in today.

One more thing: we want to 🎉 celebrate 🎉 all the UUs across the state who have contributed to the Stop Voucher Expansion effort! From Elizabeth and her volunteers at Mountain Vista, to Eileen and her crew at Valley UU in Chandler, to Paula and the SJ Council at Granite Peak, all the way to Ginny at Borderlands down south... you all have been incredible! Not to mention our very own Save Our Schools co-founder, Melinda Iyer at UU Phoenix! If you haven't counted yet how many signatures you've collected, it's the last chance to record them, so that after tomorrow we can announce and celebrate how many signatures UUs have collected across the state. Fill in our quick tracking form here (and if you have any issues with the form, email me and I'll help you figure it out!)
Are you reading this and not sure what I'm talking about? That's okay, read more below, and then head to a SOS hub today to be sure you've signed the petition.
In June 2022, the Arizona Legislature voted to effectively dismantle public education by passing universal ESA vouchers, defying the will of 1.5 million Arizona voters who overwhelmingly rejected this dangerous ESA voucher expansion in 2018 through Prop 305. Universal voucher expansion would offer every child in Arizona a credit to take public school funding, your tax dollars, and spend it on a private school. This would effectively drain over a billion dollars from public education in Arizona.

Since the universal applications opened, 9710 total ESA vouchers have been requested. 77% of those are to students who have never been enrolled in piblic schools, which means the voucher ends up as a $7000 private school discount for the wealthy, while draining funds directly from public schools... over a billion dollars estimated this first year!

We have one chance to stop this bill from going into effect – a referendum of HB2853 (Universal ESA Voucher Expansion): “Stop Voucher Expansion.” Enough signatures would refer this to the voters in 2024, and let Arizonans decide how public school funds are spent.

We know as UUs that the right to an equitable public education is an issue of justice. Please sign today!

 
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Executive Director Janine Gelsinger can be reached by responding to this email, on facebook, instagram, or at UUJAZ.director@gmail.com.
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