Judge To Decide Whether To Dismiss Arizona Board Of Education Lawsuit

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 1:46pm
Updated: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 3:39pm
(Photo courtesy of Diane Douglas)
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas

Arizona Schools Chief and the Board of Education argued in court Friday about who has the power to hire and fire board employees. The debate began in February when the Superintendent of Public Instruction tried to fire the executive and deputy director. The action was swiftly reversed by Governor Doug Ducey and the two returned to work days later. 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was steadfast in her belief that the law gives her control over board employees.  

“The law is very clear about the recommendation of the superintendent and who the employees report to thereafter,” Douglas said. 

Board President Greg Miller argued state law clearly gives the board the power to direct its staff.

“The issue we’ve always said is the issue of control," he said. "It comes from the legislature to the governor to the board.”

As part of the lawsuit, Douglas is asking Judge Starr to issue an order clarifying her power over board employees. There was an attempt to clarify just that in legislation, but the bill died in session.

The second issue before the court is about the boards decision to move offices. Last month, staff relocated into empty office space in the Governor’s tower. Douglas wants the employees back in the same building as her. 

Both parties asked Judge Patricia Starr to resolve this case without a trial. She will decide whether to dismiss this case in the next few weeks.  

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