• ABEC Quarterly Membership Meeting 

    November 29, 2018


  • “Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society.”  ~ Sonia Sotomayor

  • Thank you to our host and Luncheon sponsor Sodexo! 

    As promised, the Power Point Presentation: 

    - Larry Penley, Ph.D.Chair-Elect, Arizona Board of Regents  (presentation)

    If you have ideas for future topics for the ABEC Quarterly Meetings, please let us know.

  • November 29, 2019 Quarterly Meeting

    Executive Summary

    By Dick Foreman, ABEC President and CEO.

    The November ABEC Quarterly meeting on Thursday, November 29th, attracted a diverse audience of business, community, and school leaders; and for good reason.

    The program began with remarks from Grand Canyon University (GCU) President Brian Mueller, whose presentation generated a lot of audience participation and interest.  The transition of GCU back to nonprofit status is another in a series of major events that has shaped this institution and, as President Mueller explained, a community transformation in Maryvale that goes beyond GCU facilities themselves.  The future growth of GCU seems all but assured as this incredible business plan for a private university continues to unfold.  ABEC will certainly keep GCU on future agendas as it would be hard to imagine west side developments in higher education more profound than this extraordinary success story that is still is not finished making its profound mark on not just the West Valley, but on higher education in Arizona.

    ABEC then hosted a panel discussion featuring the diversity of opinions now extant on public charter school reform.  The general issue seems to be whether or not the very foundation of the charter school movement should be the subject of reform (profit motives, administrative and operational differences from public schools which are now generally labeled “transparency and accountability”) or whether “charter reform lite” is more on the table, featuring more financial audit and accountability for public charter schools but no fundamental changes to the charter operational or management criteria under statute.  This latter course was outlined by Kathy Senseman (President of the Arizona State Board of Charter Schools) who urged that the Charter Board receive new positions in primarily the audit area to be responsive to public charters financially failing or about to fail and to prevent unforeseen closures and stranded families in the future.

    The panel remarks also featured Sen. Martin Quezada, Senator-Elect Eddie Farnsworth, Ms. Dawn Penich-Thacker (Communications Director for Save Our Schools), and Dr. Wayne Porter, Headmaster of a public charter nonprofit school.  The range of opinions included numerous offerings from Sen. Quezada to repeal “discrepancies” in the laws governing operational and management areas that essentially would end private investment for profit and put public charters in a governance mode similar to traditional public schools for purchasing, real estate acquisition and use, overall management and operational relationships including and especially related to board of director involvements.  The central question emerged, does the profit motive and the business relationships between public charters and their boards of directors need to exist in order for the charter mission to be fulfilled?  There is no question that the law, in most cases, is complied with.  The question becomes, should the public charter laws be reviewed with these latter concepts in mind, or simply be further enforced audit functions of current statutes?  Public Charter supporters clearly favor the “reform lite” approach while the traditional public support community believes that the rules should be much more the same for the use of public tax dollars than they are now.  Today, the vast majority of public charter school operators are nonprofit and conduct their business without extraordinary CEO salaries or profit minded Boards of Directors.  ABEC will pursue board direction to support reform measures that moves all public school tax investment towards consistent, transparent and accountable reforms and seek to end the profit motive in public school funding.

    We then moved on to a candid “exit interview” with current state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas.  Interestingly, Superintendent Douglas was the only statewide office holder from the last election that called for specific new taxes and a revenue stream to address what she determined to be chronic under-funding issues in the public schools.  Her remarks were candid and re-iterated her strong thanks to the Arizona community at large for giving her the opportunity to be State Superintendent, a position she clearly wished to keep and now that she will be moving on, she also indicated that she hopes to stay involved in public education into the future.

    The meeting ended after lunch where Arizona Regent Dr. Larry Penley addressed the audience on key initiatives of Arizona’s higher institutions of learning.  It should come as no surprise that the lack of state funding has created significant hardships on many Arizona families who cannot afford college or university tuition at the four-year schools and the Regents call for re-investment in Arizona students wishing to attend remains strong and clarion.  Look for more action on this front ongoing. 

    We are sorry if we missed you in this last meeting of 2018, but what a year it was!  We look forward to 2019 and wish you and yours a most pleasant holiday season and a blessed new year!


  • ABEC Quarterly Membership Meeting ABEC Quarterly Membership Meeting

    Desert Willow Conference Center
    4340 E. Cotton Center Blvd
    Phoenix, AZ 85040

    Thursday, November 29, 2018
    10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

  • Host and Luncheon Sponsor Host and Luncheon Sponsor