Protecting the Ballot Box – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Protecting the Ballot Box

This summer, Brian Schaumloffel ’20 worked as an assistant campaign manager with Save Our Schools Arizona, a grassroots effort to put a school voucher proposition up to a public vote. The work is the latest effort to urge for a greater dialogue in a state that ranked 45th in public education funding last year.

Believing that the decision should lie with voters— not the state legislature, Schaumloffel was glad to land the summer position.

“Arizona has been consistently ranked among states with the worst K-12 programs in the country,” Schaumloffel explains. “Because of this, public education has become a hot topic of debate among many who reside in the state.”

As an assistant campaign manager, Schaumloffel helped in the effort to organize thousands of volunteers from across the entire state, coordinating petitions and monitoring projections as the organization moved closer to its goal of collecting 75,000 signatures. While Save Our Schools surpassed the signatures needed for a vote, several motions from opposing groups have been filed to stop the ballot measure’s fruition and the state has yet to announce their ultimate ruling.

“Save Our Schools was built upon organizing at the local level and engaging one in politics with their neighbors. Anyone could coordinate their own local campaign effort through volunteer field positions such as ambassadors and region leads,” Schaumloffel says. “Throughout my experience, I have gained skills in organization, office management and communication that I can use throughout my college career and beyond.”

As an economics major, Schaumloffel says that he first became interested in the politics surrounding the education system in the United States after taking the “Economics of Education” course taught by Assistant Professor of Economics Christina Houseworth.

“Her class equipped me with the skills necessary to understand the full impact that SB 1431 would have on the Arizona education system,” says Schaumloffel. “Applying economic theories to understand which communities would be hurt the most by the law was essential to formulating our arguments and building a campaign plan.”

On campus, Schaumloffel is also a trombonist for the HWS Jazz Band and a member of HWS Debate.