Alerts & Updates

Be sure to follow Governmental Relations for Daily In-Session updates on this page and on Twitter.

Important Dates

  • April 8-9: First Things First Board Meeting
  • April 15-17: ASU’s Education Innovation Summit
  • April 19: Last Day for Bills in Conference Committee
  • April 22: State Board of Education Meeting
  • April 23: 100th Day of Session – First Possible Day for Sine Die
  • May 20: State Board of Education Meeting

FEBRUARY 2013

February 12, 2013

Today saw the passage of ASBA’s HB2060 through House Committee of the Whole on a 29-23 standing vote. The bill was amended to address both caucuses’ concerns. it would be voluntary for a board to censure; however, to do so, there must be a two-thirds vote and limited to non-compliance of approved board policy, violation of conflict of interest and open meeting laws, or excessive absences as prescribed in policies adopted by the governing board and not in violation of federal law.

In addition, the Senate Appropriations Committee met today and discussed three education bills. First, SB 1104 (charter school pupils; JTEDs) passed on a 9-0 vote. This bill increases the sum of the ADM of a student enrolled in a charter and JTED from 1.25 to 1.75. SB1337 (schools; CPR training) passed, as amended, on an 8-1 vote. This bill requires students in grades 7-12 are provided instruction on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, allows an opt-out, and allows districts to receive in-kind donations of materials, equipment, and services. ASBA is neutral as the language allows for the funding of this mandate. SB 1285 (handbook; educational options) was held.

February 11, 2013

Today, the big action was that ASBA’s HB 2500 (schools; teacher evaluations; dismissals) was heard in the House Education Committee and passed, as amended, on a 7-1-1 vote. ASBA supports. This bill makes various changes to teacher evaluations and dismissals. ASBA has worked with Stand for Children (last year’s sponsor of the bill), ASA, and AEA to address any concerns. All issues have been addressed except for two items from AEA; commitments have been made to keep talking towards resolution.

In addition, the following bills were considered in the House Education Committee:

  • HB 2399 (school districts; bonded indebtedness limitations) was heard for discussion only. This bill increases elementary and union school district class B bonding capacity limits from 5% to 10% and for unified districts from 10% to 20%. In addition, this bill applies to bonds pursuant to elections held before and after the effective date, except that for bonds issued pursuant to elections held before the effective date of this act only apply until July 1, 2016 and the 10% and 20% increase will apply after July 1, 2016. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2425 (ELL task force replacement) passed on a 9-0 vote. This bill eliminates the Arizona English Language Learners Task Force and directs the State Board of Education to take over its statutory authority, powers, duties and responsibilities. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2476 (schools; isolation rooms; restrictions) passed, as amended, on an 8-1 vote. This bill requires that a process for prior written parental consent for confinement as a disciplinary measure be established. ASBA was neutral and will work with the sponsor on the issues testified too.
  • HB 2530 (empowerment scholarship accounts; tests; surveys) passed on a 6-3 vote. This bill requires students enrolled in an Empowerment Scholarship Account to annually take a norm-referenced achievement test or a college admissions exam. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2217 (extraordinary educators special plates) passed on an 8-1 vote. This bill establishes the Extraordinary Educators Special Plates and Trust Fund.

In addition, the Senate Government and Environment Committee met to discuss SB 1214 (county treasurer’s management fund). This bill allows the Maricopa County Treasurer to establish and maintain a county treasurer’s management fund for personnel and operating expenses. ASBA opposes.

February 7, 2013

This morning the Senate Education Committee met and heard from Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal on the State of Education. In addition, SB 1208 (pilot; foster care tuition waiver) passed on an 8-0 vote. This bill establishes a 5-year pilot program expanding eligibility for public university and community college tuition waivers to certain foster care persons. SB 1239 (technology-based reading intervention) passed on a 6-2 vote. This bill appropriates $30 million to the State Board of Education to provide research-based technology-based reading intervention for K-3 students.SB 1285 (handbook; educational options) and SB 1451 (alternative teacher development program; appropriation) were held.

February 6, 2013

Today, the House Appropriations Committee heard from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) on the Department of Education and School Facilities Board budget. They outlined the JLBC baseline, as well as proposals included in the Governor’s FY14 budget. Rep. Kavanagh, Appropriations Chair, stated that the Republicans have not made any counteroffer to the Governor’s proposals and that the JLBC presentation is only a baseline. Rep. Campbell, House Democratic Leader, stated that the House Democrats will propose their budget next week.

Your GR team spent most of the day working on amendments to our two key bills (HB 2060 and HB2500) and meeting with members.

A big thank you to all of those who joined us yesterday for the first of our bi-monthly legislative update conference calls. Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, February 19th at 4 p.m. for the next call.

February 5, 2013

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee heard budget presentations on the Department of Education and School Facilities Board budgets. The same presentation will happen tomorrow in House Appropriations Committee.

In the House Government Committee, HB 2196 (promotion certificates; 8th grade) passed on an 8-0 vote. This bill removes the ability of school boards to request certificates of promotion from the county school superintendent and allows schools to hold 8th grade promotion ceremonies for students. ASBA supports. In addition, HB 2283 (government publications; other than English) passed on a 5-3 vote. This bill requires any publication or document, other than voting material, issued to the public by a state agency to be in English and requires the non-English version to only be issued online and maintained in print at the state agency office. ASBA opposes as we believe that this would violate federal Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights requirement to communicate with a parent in a language they understand.

February 4, 2013

State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal provided the House Education Committee with a State of Education. Of note, he stated that it is estimated that only 8% of Arizona kids will be college and career-ready in math and 26% in language arts.

Also considered in the Committee were the following pieces of legislation:

  • HB 2196 (promotion certificates; 8th grade) passed on a 9-0 vote. This bill removes the ability of school boards to request certificates of promotion from the county school superintendent and allows schools to hold 8th grade promotion ceremonies for students. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2441 (schools; electronic fingerprinting services) passed on a 9-0 vote. This bill allows the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to contract with an entity to provide electronic or internet-based fingerprinting services for individuals applying for, or renewing, a teaching certificate and contains an emergency clause. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2488 (200-day school calendar; funding.) passed on an 8-1 vote. This bill allows individual schools and charter schools to offer 200-day calendars and increases funding under certain conditions for school districts and charter holders that offer an extended calendar. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2494 (charter schools; enrollment preference) passed on a 7-0 vote. This bill gives charter school enrollment preference to the grandchildren or legal wards of employees of the school or charter holder, school board members or directors, officers, partners and board members of the charter holder.
  • HB 2496 (schools; petition; regulatory exemptions) passed on a 5-2-1 vote. This bill allows charter schools, in addition to school districts, to be exempt from certain rules and statutes if a letter grade of “A” is maintained for two of the last three consecutive years.
  • HB 2499 (JTEDs; per pupil funding calculation) passed on an 8-0 vote.

This bill requires ADM for 10th, 11th and 12th grade students enrolled at a centralized campus that is leased by a Joint Technical Education District (JTED) to be calculated at no more than .75 if they meet certain requirements and allows a student enrolled at an accommodation school to be considered a student of the school district in which they physically reside for the purposes of enrolling in a JTED. ASBA supports.

    • HB 2495 (school districts; expenditures; refunds) was held.

February 1, 2013

The Arizona We Want 2.0 was released. Two of the key findings are that “Education is the key driver of Arizona’s economy” and that “Arizonans believe the strength of the state rests in local communities.”

Also, please join us Tuesday, February 5th at 4:00 PM for our first regular legislative update call: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4632832174148885760. If you want to hear the latest news, insider information, and analysis from our Governmental Relations team, make sure to RSVP. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. View System Requirements.

JANUARY 2013

January 30 & 31, 2013

The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee met on Wednesday to hear from two of the 13 already established Joint Technical Education Districts in the state of Arizona.

Rusty Bowers of the East Valley Institute of Technology presented a short history of the origins of JTEDs and EVIT itself. He highlighted the TIME magazine article “Learning that Works” which featured EVIT, West-MEC and the Kayenta facility, and presented the committee members with a summary fact sheet with key data about EVIT. They serve around 3000 high school and adult students on their campus. He talked about how practical this model is and how it prepares students more efficiently for the workplace, highlighting jobs like auto and computer technicians. Dropout rates are also very low, saying they are less than 1%. This model, according to Bowers, gives kids a tangible connection to their future and makes students want to be there. They hope that the legislature continues to promote this system, but suggested possible reforms to the finance model.

Tina Norton from the Pima JTED talked about their success with biosciences and their private partnerships and internship programs. She also brought in their Director of Professional Development to talk about their efforts in teacher preparedness for Common Core and new methods for helping teachers with certification and innovation.

The Senate Education Committee met today and heard several bills related to charter schools and their zoning, funding and application process.

  • SB 1103 (charter schools; zoning procedures) passed on a 9-0 vote as amended. This bill allows a charter school authorize a third party to apply for a zoning application.
  • SB 1104 (charter school pupils; JTEDs) passed on a 7-2 as amended, with Sens. Crandall and Murphy voting no. This bill increases the sum of the ADM of a student enrolled in a charter and JTED from 1.25 to 1.75. Charter schools favor the bill because they argue it gives them funding parity with regular districts.
  • Last, SB 1204 (charter schools; applications; renewals; revocations) passed on a 9-0 vote. This bill changes the requirements for charter school applications; removes requirements to include personnel policies, method of school governance and the role of the sponsor; and expands the powers of a charter sponsor to deny renewal or revoke a charter if they don’t feel sufficient progress is made in academic achievement. The bill also contains an emergency clause.

January 29, 2013

Today, over 20 school boards member were on Capitol Hill to lobby their Congresspersons on critical issues, including sequestration and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In addition to a number of meetings with Congressional staff, members met with Sen. McCain and Sen. Flake. Please check our Facebook page for a great photo album of our meetings: www.facebook.com/asbafans

In addition, today saw the passage on reconsideration of HB2330 (public employees; bargaining; open meetings) on a 6-3 vote in the House Government Committee. This bill requires meetings between employee organizations and a public body to follow open meeting law. ASBA opposes.

Last, we have rescheduled the webinar on the Governor’s FY14 Proposed Budget Webinar. It will now be held on Friday, February 1st at 1:30 p.m. We sincerely apologize; however, a budget meeting was called between the Governor and Legislative Leaders – a very positive sign. We will be sending out an updated invitation. Thank you for your understanding!

January 28, 2013

This morning began with the State Board of Education where we outlined ASBA’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session. We informed them of the importance of fully funding the implementation of Common Core and the recent court ruling on fully funding inflation across the board. We also informed them of our legislative efforts, including our teacher/principal evaluation clean-up bill and HB 2060 (school district governing boards; censure), which would allow boards the ability to censure a board member is acting outside of authority, not following district policies, missing board meetings or disruptive in board meetings or worse, in educational environments.

Here is a comprehensive list of the bills that were heard in the House Education Committee today:

  • HB 2060 was given a do pass recommendation on a vote of 6-1 with 2 members voting present.
  • HB 2202 (school districts; leases) was another bill heard by the committee, and it passed on a 8-1 vote. It would extend the period in which boards are able to enter into lease agreements up to 10 years from 5. It would also allow certain districts to call for an override election to exceed CORL during periods of expending lease proceeds on capital outlay. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2427 (schools; unification; consolidation; initial meetings) passed on a 9-0 vote. It allows a unified school district governing board to be created when a unified district is formed to conduct operations for the following year. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2168 (school age; increase; parental permission) was tabled in anticipation of new amendments. It increases the dropout age to 18 by the 2016-17 school year. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2071 (ADE; operations) passed on a 9-0 vote. It allows ADE to charge a convenience fee when conducting credit or debit transactions.
  • HB 2403 (teacher employment contracts; electronic signatures) passed on a 9-0 vote. It allows school boards to accept electronic forms of teacher contracts. ASBA supports.
  • HB 2458 (empowerment scholarship accounts; fraud prevention) passed after amendment on a 6-3 vote. The bill allows the Arizona Department of Education to monitor fraudulent activity in the ESA voucher program. The amendment passed allows for parents to appeal ADE’s decision. Representatives Otondo and Meyer offered amendments to make private school recipients of these dollars subject to public school testing requirements and to repeal the program entirely, respectively. These amendments both failed 3-6. ASBA supports.

In the Senate Judiciary Committee, SB 1202 (out-of-wedlock children; fathers; rights) passed on a 6-3 vote. This bill grants the father of a child born out-of-wedlock custody rights equal to the child’s mother under specified conditions. ASBA was able to work with Sen. Murphy to get the following item incorporated into this year’s bill – exempting school officials from the offense of custodial interference if the school official transfers physical control of the child to either: a) a person based on the advice or directive of a law enforcement officer, a child protective services officer or a court order that the school official reasonably believes to be valid; or b) the parent, an adult living with the child, a person designated by the parent to take physical control of the child in the event of an emergency, a law enforcement officer or a child protective services officer. ASBA supports.

In the House Ways and Means Committee, HB 2347 (tax levy; bond costs) passed on a 7-1 vote. This bill prohibits property tax levies in excess of the amount necessary, including a reasonable tax delinquency factor, to make the annual payment for bond principal and interest. ASBA opposes without an amendment to address bond attorney concerns.

January 25, 2013

Happy Friday! Your GR Team spent the day preparing for a busy next few weeks. Between legislator meetings and amendments, work on upcoming advocacy efforts, and education partnership meetings; your team is well prepared for a great 2013 Legislative Session and here to help you!

Be sure to sign up for the Governor’s FY14 Budget Webinar — Thursday, Jan. 31 from 1:30-3 p.m. — John Arnold, director of the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, will present information about the FY 2014 budget proposals for Common Core implementation, performance funding, school safety and capital funding. Be informed on these and other state budget topics. You do not want to miss this webinar. Reserve your seat now at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/619628256.

Last, over 20 school board members will be embarking to Washington, DC to lobby their Congresspersons on the need to address sequestration and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization.

January 24, 2013

Today was the first meeting of the Senate Education Committee. In addition to introductions, the Committee heard similar presentations on the transition from AIMS to PARCC, history of Arizona’s Common Core Standards, and the Development of the PARCC assessment that were presented in the House last week. In addition, the Committee passed SB 1100 (ASDB; continuation) on a 6-0-3 vote, which continues the Board of Directors for the Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind for 10 years.

In addition, the Arizona Ready Council met today. Jennifer Johnson of ADE presented on the ongoing transition to PARCC, Jake Logan discussed new measures of assessing charter schools that the board is implementing, and Dale Frost updated the council on the Governor’s budget proposal. The vast majority of the meeting centered around the Arizona Education and Learning Accountability System and Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems updates. ADE Chief Information Officer Mark Masterson and his staff presented on the potential cost savings for districts from these data system improvements, saying that there will be $111 million in direct cash savings over the next 6 years, and that the SLDS program will be based around an opt-in model that the Vail school district is currently piloting. They hope to streamline data delivery and access so that “educational stakeholders can be empowered to make data-driven decisions, and will have the tools to implement and measure them.”

January 23, 2013

No Update

January 22, 2013

This morning the Joint Senate and House Appropriations Committees met to hear from the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) on the Governor’s proposed budget and the Joint

Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC). According to JLBC, the following are the state general fund ending balances (**all balances do NOT include Rainy Day Fund balances or the Appellate Court ruling to fund K-12 inflation across the board , which would add ~$80 million per year to fund schools):

  • Fiscal Year 2013 — $651 million
  • Fiscal Year 2014 — $310 million
  • Fiscal Year 2015 — $25 million
  • Fiscal Year 2016 — ($70 million) deficit

The Executive and JLBC have significant difference in revenue estimates, with the Governor estimating higher beginning balances and revenue growth rates. The Governor also provides larger investments, including for K-12 education.

January 18, 2013

Governor Brewer announced her budget today, and it included $110 million in new K-12 spending. $61.5 million is meant to help implement Common Core and PARCC. There is a one-time expenditure of $41.5 million to help implement Common Core standards. This includes $40 million to be spent on:

  • Teacher stipends for professional development
  • Curriculum and instructional materials aligned to the new standard
  • And Technology and equipment that support Common Core implementation

There is also $20 million in funds proposed to the School Facilities Board for Common Core technology upgrades and $1.5 million to fund three master teachers at five Regional Centers for professional development.

Also proposed was a new system of performance funding. $36.2 million from general fund dollars is proposed with another $18.1 million in reallocated existing formula dollars. According to the Governor’s Office, it will become a permanent part of the funding formula and will be implemented over five years up to 5% of funding.

The Governor’s budget included funds for school safety, directing general fund monies to cover all districts that were eligible for grants under Prop 301.

There was a recommendation to change the funding formula as well, eliminating separate funding for CORL and soft capital and replacing it with the allocation of “additional assistance”. They suggest the elimination of the new school projection window.
Accommodation Districts would be funded on charter school formulas under this proposal, and the building renewal formula would be repealed and replaced with $25 million in additional grant funding.

ASBA is partnering with AASBO to co-host a webinar with John Arnold, Director of the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, to provide greater detail on the Governor’s budget. Stay tuned for the date and time.

January 17, 2013

Today featured the first hearing of the House Education Committee, where members heard presentations on a question a lot of you have probably been asking; how do we move from AIMS to PARCC and Common Core?

Presenters included Jaime Molera, President of the State Board of Education, Vince Yanez, Executive Director of the State Board of Education and Stacey Morley of ADE. They discussed how our current standards are deficient citing statistics that showed 53% of AZ graduates do not qualify for admission to a university, 59% of college students have to enroll in remedial courses and that 42% of employers report new employees are lacking basic skills. Common Core and PARCC were developed by 46 states and were adopted to remedy these fundamental problems, and the State Board of Education hopes to have it fully implemented by the 2014-2015 school year.

There was one bill considered. HB 2074 (pupil assessments; AIMS transition) passed as amended on a 9-0 vote. The bill removes and replaces AIMS and Norm-Reference Test (NRT)references throughout Title 15 and contains various delayed effective dates. In addition, the bill contains Session Law that permits a PARCC score to be substituted for an AIMS score in order to satisfy graduation requirements, if the student is in 12th grade and graduating in either 2015 or 2016. ASBA supports.

January 16, 2013

Three days into the session and there are already some very positive developments to report! This morning featured a Joint Hearing of the Committees on Education, Commerce, and Higher Education & Workforce Development, where business leaders from across the state came to testify about the importance of funding Arizona’s Common Core Standards.

Rep. Forese, House Commerce Committee Chair, began the hearing with introductory comments, including “Over the last few years we have had to make significant cuts to many deserving areas of appropriation, nowhere more deserving than education. The Legislature had to make some very tough decisions. There’s no second guessing here, but the next tough decision is where do we now invest to best put Arizona back on track? Education means many things to me, but for our economic future it is a pipeline of talent. Education is a selling point for economic development and education is the key to relevancy and dominance in a global market. It’s as simple as that.”

Here are some of the testimony highlights:

  • Cathleen Barton of Intel: Common core is an economic development opportunity rather than an education problem
  • AZ Chamber of Commerce President Glen Hamer: Real reforms require funding; we will be there to support additional funding
  • Ron Carsten of Raytheon: It’s not enough to mandate it; the Legislature must enable it – we’re looking at common core as a long-term investment
  • Todd Sanders of the Phoenix Chamber on income inequality: Education is the only way to produce upward mobility

After the committee hearing adjourned, members of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition met for a luncheon at the capitol, where board members Karen McClelland and Bill Adams got a head start on our lobby days and talked about issues important to their districts with Speaker Andy Tobin and Stacey Morley of the Arizona Department of Education. Make sure to check out the photo on our new Twitter page!

January 15, 2013

Today’s update comes from Chris Thomas, ASBA’s General Counsel/Director,

Legal and Policy Services: In a critical victory for both Arizona public education supporters and voters, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled unanimously today that the Arizona Legislature violated the law by failing to fund inflationary increases as mandated by Proposition 301 (passed in 2000) and the Voter Protection Act (VPA) of the Arizona Constitution. The ruling overturned a 2011 ruling by Maricopa County Superior Judge J. Kenneth Mangum. The opinion amounts to a declaratory statement as to what the law requires; it does not mandate a legislative appropriation for previous or future years.
(Background: In 2000, voters passed Proposition 301, which contained several provisions to improve funding for education. Among these improvements was the conditional enactment of A.R.S. 15-901.01, which mandates inflationary adjustments to the base level funding and other components of the revenue control limit. The Legislature received advice that this provision allowed them to fund either the base level or transportation adjustments, though an earlier Attorney General Opinion concluded otherwise.

In Fiscal Year 2010, the Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, a budget that provided for an inflationary adjustment only to transportation. It was this budget that prompted the lawsuit by ASBA, several of its member school districts and other education organizations and education advocates. Current Fiscal Year funding for inflation would be $81.6 million. Cumulative dollars that have not been funded since the Legislature stopped funding inflation in the manner required under Prop. 301 is just shy of $250 million)

Read the entire court opinion here: < a href=”http://azcourts.gov/Portals/0/OpinionFiles/Div1/2013/1 CA-CV 11-0256.pdf” target=”_blank”>http://azcourts.gov/Portals/0/OpinionFiles/Div1/2013/1 CA-CV 11-0256.pdf

Where do we go from here? First, we hope that the Attorney General and Legislature chose not to appeal the case to the Arizona Supreme Court. We think the unanimous opinion is clear, persuasive, well-reasoned and leaves little doubt. Still, the AG and the Legislature have 30 days to decide whether to appeal. Second, Janice Palmer and our Governmental Relations team will be hard at work talking to legislators and the Governor about fulfilling this legal mandate going forward. To her credit, the Governor has been a champion on this issue in the past. Finally, we move to the Arizona Court of Appeals next month on another critical case, Niehaus v. Huppenthal, where school vouchers are once again the issue: our advocacy – legislative and legal — for our members never ends! Stay tuned.

January 14, 2013

Happy First Day of the 51st, 1st Regular Session! ASBA President Randy Schiller was invited to the Opening Ceremonies, was introduced from the House Floor, and represented ASBA very well! Photo

The Governor gave her State of the State speech, reflecting on Arizona’s history with the five “C’s” – copper, cattle, climate, citrus, and cotton – and added a new one: competition. Education was a key component that she outlined for her 2013 legislative efforts, including:
The Governor’s budget will be released on Friday, which will provide more monetary and statutory detail on each of the above.