In an email yesterday, [Rep. Brenda] Barton [R-LD6/Payson] accused the Arizona School Boards Assn of dishonesty, partisanship and turf protection after the group voiced opposition to her proposed legislation that would require schools to offer full-day kindergarten. “Do not punish Arizona children because two conservative Republicans (Jeff Dial and I) are championing legislation that will permanently extend classroom time for Arizona’s kindergartners,”.... ASBA lobbyist Janice Palmer told our reporter today that the group’s opposition has nothing to do with partisanship. She said the most charitable reading of the legislation it [sic] that public schools are mandated to offer the extra class time and would then be coaxed into using the lawsuit funds, thus undermining four years of litigation to uphold the intent of the voters. The worst case scenario would be an unfunded mandate. Palmer said fighting unfunded mandates is a cornerstone of ASBA.... Palmer expressed her group’s opposition to the legislation in an email sent to its membership on Monday. “You may have come across media articles that outline a plan, supported by the Arizona School Administrators and three business leaders, to mandate traditional and charter schools offer full-day kindergarten if they now offer half-day kindergarten and fund it with funding resulting from the Cave Creek v. Ducey inflationary litigation; if these funds did not materialize, the law would not take effect,” Palmer wrote.Here's a screenshot of the text of the proposal in the not yet filed bill (therefore, there is no bill number),
Key language amends ARS § 15-901.02 to MANDATE all schools, public and charter that provide Kindergarten classes now make all-day K classes available for all families who so choose that option for their children; and that any required capital expenditures (buildings, furniture, computers, etc.) be provided by the school district or charter school. That's the very definition of unfunded mandate.
Further, the LEGISLATIVE INTENT section of the bill specifies "the legislature encourages school districts and charter schools to use a portion of the inflation funding that will be distributed" pursuant to Cave Creek Schools v Ducey to provide this all day Kindergarten instruction. Well, that word, "encourages" is meaningless. Once the condition is met, enactment is mandated... with no funding provided by the legislature to provide the instruction.
Barton barked about the blowback she and Dial are getting from the School Boards Association, but really this proposal represents NOTHING but unfunded mandate and micromanagement of school boards. In other words, she's got NO SKIN in the game. If she wanted to do right by Arizona's kindergarten-age children, she'd advocate for the funding to make it happen.
Cave Creek Schools v Ducey is about funding that the legislature effectively stole from the schools. The PEOPLE of Arizona mandated, more than a decade ago, the legislature to provide the additional inflationary funding. That the legislature defied the lawful order of the people makes this proposed legislation and Barton's reaction to the push back a cheap shot.
By the way, this is an example of what corporate media is SUPPOSED to do. So, kudos to the Arizona Capitol Times for taking the ball and running with it this time.
Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.