State high court rebuffs budget law challenge - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

State high court rebuffs budget law challenge

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Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 7:34 pm | Updated: 3:46 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed out a complaint by the Arizona Education Association over legislation which undermines the tenure system for teachers.

Court ruling favors charter schools

Without comment, the justices refused the union's request to immediately decide the question of whether legislators acted illegally in changing rules for teachers in the middle of a special session called solely to deal with the state budget.

Tuesday's decision does not mean the Legislature acted properly or, conversely, that the AEA's complaint is baseless.

Instead, it means solely the high court isn't willing to deal with the case - at least not yet. And the union is free to refile its complaint in superior court.

Going through that process, though - and having whichever side loses file appeals - could take years.

One of the key changes enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature was to prohibit school districts, when forced to reduce staff, from considering seniority. AEA lobbyists said that could lead to school officials using the excuse of a reduction in force to get rid of teachers they simply do not like.

The lawsuit also said the changes in the law would allow arbitrary salary reductions, eliminate deadlines for school districts to offer new contracts to teachers, and limit the ability of teachers to engage in union activities.

Backers of the change said districts need the flexibility in times of tight budgets to retain the best teachers rather than those who have the most time on the job.

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