Major Education Group Backs Out Of Lawsuit To Restore School Funding After Governor Pledges More Money

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 5:52pm

A major plaintiff has pulled out of a lawsuit against the state over school funding. The move comes after the governor announced plans this week to restore some of what had been cut from Arizona’s schools.

The Arizona Association of School Business Officials represents people who run public schools statewide like managers, accountants and other behind-the-scenes positions.

They were one of several plaintiffs suing Arizona saying the state is obligated to build schools and keep funds available to repair them. And, to restore funding totaling more than a billion dollars that would have gone to school construction.

Now that association is backing out of the suit after Gov. Doug Ducey pledged this week to restore more than $370 million over the next five years.

AASBO Director David Lewis says his group believes the lawsuit still has merit but will support the governor’s more immediate plan.

“As far as what we were considering, we debated the merits of the plan against the immediacy of the needs of our school districts now," Lewis said. "Especially for students and teachers we need to get moving on this now.”

Lewis said that plan gives a more immediate impact than going through the court system.

“The restoration of these cuts is the most important thing to be moving on as well. But it does not impact, and we still stated our support, there’s still much needed reforms that need to be made, that are addressed in the lawsuit," Lewis said.

Those funding issues include creating more reliable funding for capital repairs in schools, rather than securing the money through taxpayer-approved bonds and overrides.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit say they will continue to fight for the entire amount of money they say is legally owed to school funding.

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