The Columbia Tribune is reporting that the three main Missouri school unions are not endorsing Proposition A. This comes as a terrible blow for the ‘Yes on A’ coalition that is supposedly backed by educators. All three teachers unions view this issue for what it really is and that has put ‘Yes on A’ on the defensive. The Columbia Tribune reports:
“People need to understand it’s a gambling issue and not an education issue,” Columbia interim Superintendent Jim Ritter said. “Education is obviously being used to make it popular with the voters. But we don’t want people voting on it because they think this is an education issue. This is not being done for the benefit of education. Education might reap a benefit, but ultimately it’s about bringing more revenue to the gambling industry.”
“We generally don’t take positions on ballot issues that we don’t see as educational issues,” said Krista Meyer, political action manager for the [Missouri State Teachers Association]. “We view this more as a casino issue than an education issue.”
This prompted a very off-putting and defensive response from the ‘Yes on A’ spokesperson Scott Charton, who said, “At the end of the day, I don’t want to haggle about the color of the check the funding is written on.” Unfortunately for the casinos and Mr. Charton, the school unions do think the source or money matters. The [Missouri National Education Association] lobbyist Otton Fajen was quite clear about why the source matters:
Ritter said educators sometimes have to take a “deep breath” when they think that school funding comes from gambling. And MNEA lobbyist Otto Fajen said his group hasn’t taken a position on the ballot issue because members are divided about the source of the money.
“Some are appreciative of the fact it increases state funding for schools, while some people are more concerned that the extra details could be harmful and the impact of gambling on particular people,” Fajen said.
The bottom line is that the ‘Yes on A’ coalition is not what it seems. All the funding for Prop A has come from two Missouri casinos and the casino lobby, and educators are making their voices heard. Superintendents all over the state are speaking out, elected officials, including the State Auditor, are explaining how Proposition A cannot guarantee funds for our schools, and now, all three Missouri teachers unions fail to endorse proposition A. Please encourage everyone you know to VOTE NO on A and visit www.NOonA.com for more information.