Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tim Steller: School attorneys need to play harder ball with AZLEG

Absolutely! This is a great column in this morning's Daily Star. Scriber hopes the schools and their attorneys will heed Steller's advice.

The lawyers talked again Tuesday afternoon, trying to settle whether the state owes our schools $1.3 billion in back pay, plus an additional $300-odd million a year — or some lesser amount.

Let’s hope the plaintiffs, the ones trying to get more funding for the schools, read about SB 1172 first. An amendment to that bill crystalizes the legislative majority’s apparent feelings about Arizona educators and should remind the negotiators not to give up a single cent they don’t have to give.

The amendment, in essence, tells school officials to shut up and stop complaining about the Legislature.

Here is what the amended bill says (emphasis added):

A person acting on behalf of a school district or a person who aids another person acting on behalf of a school district shall not spend or use school district or charter school resources, including the use or expenditure of monies, accounts, credit, facilities, vehicles, postage, telecommunications, computer hardware and software, web pages, personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or any other thing of value of the school district or charter school, for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections OR TO ADVOCATE SUPPORT FOR OR OPPOSITION TO PENDING OR PROPOSED LEGISLATION.

I guess the Idiotors don't want to know that some folks disagree with them.

Steller wraps up:

Most of the leverage appears to belong to the school-district plaintiffs. They have Cooper’s court order and should be able to drive a hard bargain, forcing the state to do what it takes to raise the money. But they do have to worry about the risk of the state winning its appeal if settlement negotiations break down.

The underlying dynamic between the schools and the state Legislature, symbolized by the gag-order amendment in SB [1172], should be instructive, though. The Legislature will do nothing for the schools that it is not forced to do.

It’s up to Hogan, Peters and the plaintiffs to force them.

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