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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Dear friends of ABEC,
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! These weeks between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years just fly by, don’t they? Lots to do - but lots of fun. A special “gift” this holiday season is the celebration of leadership from the Arizona School Boards Association. Several member school boards and superintendents received recognition for innovative and effective work being done on behalf of Arizona students. Congratulations!
I want to thank the many ABEC members who attended our board meeting on November 24th. We had a presentation from the Governor’s Office on the application for the “Race To The Top” grant and discovered that many of the strategies proposed by the four taskforces actually align very well to the work we’re doing on school finance.
Then, we had an important discussion on each of the draft proposals for school finance redesign. The eight proposals received a “thumbs up” with a few modifications. Now we are preparing for phase 2 of this important project. We will “launch” the effort in January, brief legislators, and conduct a “listening tour” in various Arizona communities. Thanks to the ABEC members who gave feedback on the straw man and its iterations. Congratulations to our board members and other ABEC members who participated in and completed these conversations. And let’s work together now to move these proposals out into the public conversation. As we see it, all Arizona children deserve a system that is accountable and invested in their educational success.
Have a wonderful holiday and winter break!
ABEC executive director
Recently, the Arizona Education Association (a member of ABEC) filed a special action petition with the Arizona Supreme Court against the Governor and the Legislature targeting policy changes enacted in HB2011. ABEC invited AEA to elaborate more on their petition filed. What follows is AEA’s response “In Their Own Words”:
On November 23rd, the Arizona Education Association filed a special action petition with the Arizona Supreme Court against Governor Jan Brewer and the 49th State Legislature targeting policy changes made in the 3rd special session of the Arizona State Legislature. The policy changes, aimed at teachers and other school employees, allow arbitrary reductions in salary, prohibit seniority as a criterion for reduction in force, eliminate deadlines for issuing contracts, and limit employee rights to engage in professional association activities.
The AEA believes that these policies represent an abandonment of legislative leadership and an unconstitutional legislative action. The special session was called to address Arizona’s budget deficit; instead, the legislature determined that removing contract security and allowing salary reductions for career educators was a more appropriate focus. The interests of Arizona’s families, students, and economy were ignored.
Because the policy changes were passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Brewer as part of the 3rd special-session budget package, AEA staff attorneys and our outside counsel argue that HB 2011 violates the state’s Constitution and thus are null and void.
In House Bill 2011, the Legislature violated the Arizona Constitution in at least four ways. The bill modified teachers’ employment contracts in an emergency special session that was called for the purpose of creating a budget, even though the employment terms that were changed are not related to the budget.
This violates provisions of the Constitution intended to prevent precisely what happened here—the use of a special session to pass unrelated legislation that likely could not have been passed during regular session.
The special action petition states that, “The Arizona Legislature exceeded its authority under the Governor’s call for special session when it enacted Sections 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 76 of HB 2011, which modify existing legislation relating to the employment of teachers by public school districts. These provisions are not appropriations and are not related to the state budget. In addition, the Legislature’s enactments fail to comply with constitutional provisions requiring single subject legislation and prohibiting impairment with contractual obligations.”
The AEA is confident that the Arizona Supreme Court will agree with its special action petition to repeal the language based on its unconstitutional enactment. The Supreme Court has scheduled its first hearing for this case on January 5, 2010.
~ John Wright, President of the Arizona Education Association
For more information as well as to comment on AEA’s action, go to http://arizonaea.org/blog/index.php/post/1269/.
ABEC will host its annual Legislative Connection event for legislators and its members on:
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Arizona State Capitol House Lawn
A complimentary buffet luncheon catered by the culinary students from Paradise Valley Unified School District will be served.
There will be a brief program at 12:00 noon with remarks by:
All state legislators and ABEC members are invited to this FREE event. This is THE ABEC EVENT to network with school district superintendents, other education leaders, business leaders, and legislators in a casual setting.
To RSVP, contact Karen at 602-261-6702 or email@example.com.
This event is being sponsored by
... who recently were acknowledged at the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA)/Arizona School Administrators Association (ASA) Joint Fall Conference, especially:
... Dr. Roger Short, executive director of the Arizona School Administrators Association (ASA), on his retirement, effective June 30, 2010 - thank you for your support of ABEC!
Valley schools work to retain teachers - The Arizona Republic, December 15, 2009
School-label Method Changing - The Arizona Republic, December, 13, 2009
Cash-strapped districts weigh override elections – The Arizona Republic, December 9, 2009
Report reveals wide gap in college achievement - The Washington Post, December 4, 2009
Motives of 21st-Century-Skills Group Questioned – Education Week, December, 4, 2009
Arizona Technology Council to spearhead three education programs – The Phoenix Business Journal, December 4, 2009
Grant to help increase universities' graduates – The Arizona Republic, December 3, 2009
Arizona law changes way teachers contract with districts – The Arizona Republic, November 23, 2009
White House Pushes Science and Math Education – The New York Times, November 22, 2009
State's school funding process is failing – The Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2009
Amphitheater Public Schools: Bound Together – The American Executive, November 1, 2009
SPECIAL REPORTS & PUBLICATIONS:
Improving Low-Performing Schools: Lessons from Five Years of Studying School Restructuring under No Child Left Behind – Center on Education policy, December 7, 2009
An Early Look at the Economic Stimulus Package and the Public Schools: Perspectives from State Leaders – Center on Education policy, December 2, 2009
BENCHMARKS: WICHE Region 2009
Student Debt and the Class of 2008 – Project on Student Debt, December 1, 2009
The Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC) is a 501(c)3 organization providing a balanced forum for business and education leaders to collaborate and improve K-12 education policy, with linkages to pre-kindergarten and postsecondary education. Guiding principles include: increasing public awareness about the relationship between Arizona’s future workforce and the quality of the K-12 system; actively and effectively influencing education policy; and sharing responsibility for the growth of student achievement in Arizona. For more information, visit www.azbec.org. You are receiving this e-mail because you are a member of ABEC, have signed up to receive our eNewsletter, attended an ABEC or ABEC-related event, or have made direct contact with ABEC.
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