The recent public education work stoppage has made clear a fundamental problem with our methods of funding education. The state limits the amount of taxes that local school districts might assess. Therefore, the ultimate amount of funding is determined by the state Legislature and governor, folks who have a number of concerns, only one of which is education funding.
I propose returning all the decisions to the local school districts. Remove any restrictions on tax assessments and stop all state funding of local school districts. The local school boards would assess taxes as they see needed to provide high quality education. Assessment levels would be between them and their voters.
The rub, of course, is that some districts have lower than standard per student taxing bases, i.e. property values and sales revenue. In those cases, the state should subsidizes those districts to bring them up to minimum acceptable standards. Formulas to identify the substandard districts and to determine the amount of the subsidy can be determined by smarter minds.
Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.