Diane Douglas: I'm Not Wasting Tax Money in Dispute Over Who is Responsible for Board of Education Duties

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COURTESY OF THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
  • Courtesy of the Arizona Department of Education
There is bad blood between Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas and Gov. Doug Ducey.

As discussed yesterday, Ducey overturned two dismissals Douglas made in the state Board of Education, to which Douglas replied with a press release titled, "Arizona Superintendent of Public Schools Diane Douglas Did Not See Doug Ducey’s Name on the Ballot for State Superintendent." Ducey and the director of the board said Douglas' move was unlawful because board members do not work for her. 

The board had a special meeting today where they were supposed to get legal advice, and Douglas was able to participate in that meeting because she is a member of the 11-member board that oversees school policy outside the realm of the state superintendent of schools. 

This morning, Douglas held a press conference in Phoenix where she said legislation is needed to clarify who's role it is to make these type of decisions:
“I do not wish to spend vital tax dollars in a dispute over who is responsible for the various operations of the Board of Education. Those resources are better spent on classroom instruction. Statute has their staff reporting to the Department of Education, and specifically to the Superintendent. This ambiguity has created an unnecessary conflict between three public bodies that are all dedicated to serving children.

We do not want current staff, and the two who are limbo, to continue to experience stress as a result of dual roles between the Board and the Department. I look forward to working with Governor Ducey. I am confident that by working with the Governor and with the legislature, we can fix this with simple legislation not litigation. The legislation would clarify the Board has its own staff and responsibility for its own expenditures and operations.

The sooner such legislation is passed, the sooner staff caught in the middle can return to normal operations, and this unnecessary conflict can be resolved without further cost to the taxpayer. Our focus needs to be on educating children, not continuing disputes over poorly written laws."

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