Thursday, February 25, 2016

Education Superintendent Douglas Disappointed With Senate Bill to Silence Arizona Voters

Contact: Sally Stewart

Superintendent Douglas Disappointed With Senate Bill to Silence Arizona Voters

(Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 24, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today released the following statement on the decision by the Senate yesterday to approve SB 1416, which strips the constitutional elected office of the Superintendent of vital duties and assigns them to an unelected and unaccountable board.

“I have heard SB 1416 referred to by some as a ‘divorce bill.’ In reality, this bill is essentially a forced marriage that will do nothing to solve this conflict and will open the door for the State Board of Education to initiate additional litigation.

“Many of the provisions in the bill will give the Board the authority to make demands of the Arizona Department of Education that it has neither the resources nor funding to fulfill. This perceived noncompliance will allow Board leadership to follow their preferred course of action: filing additional lawsuits as opposed to mediating the issue in good faith.

“This complex legislation should have been openly discussed with the voters of Arizona, not expedited through the process in hopes that the people it affects would not have time to react. The proposals in this bill will impact the Arizona education system immensely, yet as the elected official whose powers it would strip, I was not brought to the table when it was being drafted nor as it was fast tracked through the Senate.

“The people of this state elect a Superintendent of Public Instruction because they expect that person to represent their views and passionately advocate for their children. By weakening the office, this legislation will negatively impact our state‘s democratic foundations for generations to come. I, for one, will never support actions that seek to silence the voices of Arizona voters “