by David Safier
There are so many problems here. Erik Twist, headmaster of Veritas Prep, one of the string of Great Hearts charter schools I've posted about in the past, wrote an email on school time which was sent to everyone on the school's contact list telling people not to vote for Prop 204. And he used his official title of "headmaster" in the email.
Twist is entitled to his own opinion about Prop 204 and can email it to friends. But he can't do it as headmaster on company time.
Arizona law prohibits school officials from using "school district or charter school personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections."
As I've written before, the Great Hearts charter schools were once Catholic schools. They secularized so they could get taxpayer funding as charters. They're run by a conservative Republican political operative. And most of the schools are located in high rent areas, operating, much like BASIS, as semi-exclusive, taxpayer-funded private schools (Veritas' student population is 86% White, 6% Asian, 6% Hispanic). Great Hearts schools admit they can't make ends meet on the money they get from the state, so they request/badger parents to give at least $1,200 per student enrolled. Students have to buy many of their textbooks, and there are substantial extracurricular fees.
So who is Erik Twist? According to the Phoenix New Times article,
Twist is chairman of the board for Arizona Right to Life, which describes itself as the "oldest, largest and strongest pro-life organization in the State of Arizona."
And Arizona Right to Life, along with uber-conservative Center for Arizona Policy, publicly opposes the proposition based on speculation money from this fund might be funneled to "abortion providers" and "subsidize an industry that ends lives of preborn children."
Twist refrains from using the abortion argument in his email to the Veritas contact list. He pushes the "throw money at schools" meme used by anti-public-education conservatives. It's ironic: the headmaster of a school that cajoles its parents to "throw" $1,200 per enrolled student at the school because it can't get by on government funding is upset that other schools would get a financial boost from the renewal of the one cent sales tax. I guess he thinks the poor folk can get by just fine.