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PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers for the Arizona Legislature are asking the state Court of Appeals to block a judge's order requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in extra school funding payments while they appeal.
Boys Runner(s) of the Year:
Well, can you blame them if they don’t want to be sued by Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, pagans, Shintoists, Sikhs and Jains, etc., for not allowing their public-school students to observe their religious holidays? “Diversity” has become the progressive/liberal/socialist/Democrat mantra. Our liberal local and federal judges, appellate courts, and four Supreme Court justices no longer consider America as a Judeo-Christian nation, even though America’s Founding Fathers and successive administrations until the 1960s thought so.
The city of Tempe has become a national front-runner in LGBT equality after scoring a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.
Arizona's charter schools are not entitled to another $135 million of taxpayer funds, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
HONOLULU (AP) — A teacher has been suspended from a Hawaii public school after she was arrested on a warrant for allegedly having sex with a student in Arizona.
Honolulu police and U.S. Marshals arrested 45-year-old Deborah Hoshiyama early Tuesday at a Waikiki condominium. She's also known as Deborah Nicholson.
The Marshals Service says she's wanted on a Maricopa County warrant issued in October. She's accused of having a sexual relationship with a student in 2008 while a teacher in Avondale, Arizona.
Principal Jeff Vilardi says she began working as a special-education teacher at the Voyager Public Charter School in Honolulu school Nov. 7. She's suspended with pay.
She couldn't be reached for comment in police custody. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Who wants to talk birth control? Abortion? Adoption? Childbirth? Those four issues became the latest imbroglio involving the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board.
Having to account for growing student enrollment, Leading Edge Academy came up with a unique solution to the problem — open up a brand-new facility at a former grocery store.
On the afternoon of Oct. 23, BASIS charter school in Mesa will host a viewing party for a partial eclipse of the sun, which will take place between 2:40 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.
Democrat Fred DuVal used the last gubernatorial debate Tuesday to essentially accuse Doug Ducey of class warfare, robbing from schools to give tax breaks to the rich.
PARADISE VALLEY -- Democrat Fred DuVal used the last gubernatorial debate Tuesday to essentially accuse Doug Ducey of class warfare, robbing from schools to give tax breaks to the rich.
Ducey has centered his gubernatorial campaign on his theme of "kick-starting'' Arizona's moribund economy. Central to that is his promise to work to eliminate the state income tax. But DuVal told an audience of two different women's groups such a move would be irresponsible.
He cited the anticipated deficit of $500 million this fiscal year and more than $1 billion next year. That includes a court order to immediately boost school funding by $331 million, a decision DuVal said he will accede to and that Ducey wants to appeal.
"This is a choice you get to make,'' DuVal said.
"Doug's priority is to lower taxes for the wealthiest among us,'' he continued. "My priority is to assure that we adequately fund schools.''
But Ducey appears to be backing away -- or at least finessing -- his position on tax cuts.
During both the Republican primary and since then, Ducey has said he wants to move toward eliminating the tax, or at least making it "flatter and fairer.'' Tuesday, however, he had a different message.
"No one's ever talked about eliminating the income tax,'' he told the audience. Instead he said his goal is simply to drive it "as close to zero as possible.''
And he even added some conditions Tuesday to pursuing that goal which has been a cornerstone of his campaign.
"It's where I would like to take the state,'' he said.
"But I've got to deal with the financial situation of the state as I find it as governor,'' Ducey explained. "And I'll do what's responsible and in the best interest of all of our citizens.''
Ducey disputed that cutting income taxes necessarily means there will be less money for public schools. And Ducey said that he does not necessarily believe that restoring school funding to where it would have been had lawmakers not ignored a voter-approved mandate to adjust annually for inflation will lead to better schools.
The key, he said, is finding better ways to educate children.
"We are underperforming across the state,'' Ducey told the audience.
"But we have pockets of excellence in the state,'' he continued, citing reports that three of the Top 10 high schools in the nation as ranked by U.S. News and World Reports are located here: two Basis charter schools and University High School in Tucson.
Ducey said he would look at the "best practices'' of those schools "so more of our children have a better opportunity.''
Ducey also cited reports from the Auditor General's Office which for the past decade have shown that an ever-smaller percentage of tax dollars is actually winding up in the classroom.
The most recent report shows that less than 54 cents of every education dollar was put into things like teacher salaries. That compares with 58.6 cents a decade earlier, a trend Ducey said he wants to reverse.
But DuVal said the rest of the report found that administrative costs for things like superintendents, principals, business managers and clerical staff is below the national average. Instead, the report said what's making up the difference are fixed non-instructional costs like heating, cooling and running school buses.
And Auditor General Debra Davenport specifically said that's a direct function of less money overall for schools. She said the only place to cut was the classroom, citing figures that while the number of children attending Arizona public schools has dropped by 3 percent since 2009, the number of teachers dropped by 8.6 percent.
"The reason there isn't more money going into the classroom is there isn't enough money,'' DuVal said.
That still leaves DuVal's contention that Ducey's plan to cut income taxes is designed to favor the wealthy.
"The income tax is paid disproportionately by wealthy,'' DuVal said, acknowledging that, by definition, people with more income pay more tax on that income. But he said all this comes as Arizona has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation -- 5.6 percent plus all local levies -- a tax he called "regressive.''
"Our tax structure is clobbering working Arizona families,'' he told reporters after the debate.
"They're paying significantly more of their income in taxes than upper-income Arizonans,'' DuVal said.
Ducey said what will help businesses come to and expand in Arizona are things he promises like lower taxes and less regulation. But DuVal said some business leaders have suggested otherwise.
He cited comments made in 2011 by the former chief executive of Intel.
"The educational system in the United States and in Arizona in particular is not particularly attractive,'' Craig Barrett told the Arizona Commerce Authority. In fact, Barrett said the situation is so bar that if Intel were looking for a site to build an entirely new operation, as to expanding its $10 billion Arizona presence, the state would not even be on the list of Top 10 choices.
He was not alone in his comments.
"The education system here is very weak,'' said Doug Pruitt, at the time the chief executive of Sundt Construction.
Q: Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
Q: Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
A: With the number of A+ rated schools, the Kyrene School District is delivering quality services. My goal is to work with district staff to increase the number of A+ rated schools in the district and providing as much diversity in programs at the individual schools as possible understanding the budgetary restrictions. Public schools are in direct competition with charter and private schools for enrollment and Kyrene needs to be able to provide more choices for parents. Kyrene has done that and we need to make sure we can continue to provide more competitive choices.
Q: What is a school board’s role in terms of a district’s operation?
A: The role of the district board is oversight and accountability. It is the board’s obligation to be knowledgeable about the needs of the district schools and the students who are attending those schools and to ensure that district staff is maximizing the resources available to meet those needs.
Q: With the decision to back away from the PARCC exam, what direction should the state take to monitor student achievement, and what can districts do to prepare for whatever comes from the state level?
A: It is unfortunate we are moving away from a measurement of student achievement without having a better method of monitoring in place. In order for Arizona to succeed on a national level, there needs to be a monitor of student achievement in place that compares apples to apples. In the meantime, the schools need to be able to demonstrate that the students have met or exceeded acceptable standards. While I do not advocate teaching children to take a standardized test, it is important to the district and to Arizona that an effective monitoring system is in place to establish student achievement. I am dedicated to working with district administration and state representatives on identifying an effective system of monitoring.
Q: Given the recent funding cuts for school districts, what can districts do to save money and maintain academic standards?
A: Our schools have suffered because of this Great Recession and it is an unfortunate reality that classroom sizes are on the increase. Impacts of funding necessary cuts, and only those necessitated by funding cuts, should be minimized on classrooms. Teachers and students need every resource available to insure the quality of education and resources should be funneled to the classroom wherever possible. Teachers need to be paid sufficiently to keep up with the cost of living and if we fail them, we will lose our quality educators. The board needs to take a global look at all potential areas of reduction, including energy efficiency and capital improvements, and work with district administration to make sure those reductions are maximized.
Q: As state cuts become more steep, one area that can be affected is extracurricular activities, in particular athletics. Do you foresee cuts to athletics if these budget cuts continue?
A: Studies have repeatedly shown that extracurricular activities are necessary to the health and well-being of our children. Extracurricular activities provide emotional, physical and mental health benefits to our students. Many students would not be engaged in school but for these activities. We must find ways to keep extracurricular activities successful. If funding cuts have to be made to maintain the teachers and the classrooms, then we need to consider other funding options such as schoolwide fundraisers, use of volunteers and possibly imposing small fees for participation. If fees have to be imposed, we need to look at scholarship opportunities to help those families who are financially stressed to allow all children the opportunity to participate.
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for the 2014 Palo Verde Women in Business Award.
Rotary started in February 1905 when Chicago lawyer Paul Harris and three friends met after dinner. The idea was to have a new club in which businessmen could get together periodically to get better acquainted. They rotated their meetings each week to the business of a member. Over the next few years Rotary transformed into a civic service club, spread across the United States and then around the world. Eventually Rotary came to Arizona and in 1914, the 100th Rotary Club was organized in Phoenix.
School officials are warning lawmakers that if they don't take a deal to settle the inflation adjustment lawsuit — and soon — taxpayers could be on the hook for another $1.3 billion.
A Tempe school football coach must miss his team's game Friday as part of a punishment for praying with his players.
Athlos Traditional Academy
3201 S. Gilbert Road
(480) 270-5422 or Athlos.LegacyTraditional.org
Part of the Legacy Traditional Schools chain, Athlos Traditional Academy has a heavy focus on athletics and health and fitness. The school offers a well-balanced lunch program and education on nutrition, as well as amenities like a regulation volleyball court and an indoor artificial turf football field. Athlos also excels academically, and was named an “A” school by the state for the 2013-14 school year.
Archway Classical Academy
1951 N. Alma School Road
(480) 855-6474 or ArchwayChandler.org
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Why do public schools have the option of asking its local community for additional dollars through overrides when charter schools don’t. The Arizona Legislature has not updated its funding formula for over 30 years. Whereas the Legislature legalized the option for charter schools and funded charters at a higher rate, which equates to roughly $1,000 more per student.
Two Tempe City Council incumbents have been thrust into a runoff scenario against each other by a former state legislator and a first-time politician.
A lingering cliché tied to education is the description of subjects like math as boring, a topic of study done to complete graduation requirements than for any enjoyable purpose. It’s untrue because math, like any subject, has ardent fans and because it’s not necessarily the subject matter that’s the issue; rather, it’s how the material is presented that’s important.
Tucson and the state's 18 other charter cities can have their local elections pretty much when they want, no matter what state legislators say, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled.
A whole new community is springing up in the southeastern part of Mesa and drawing a lot of attention. The Eastmark development, managed by DMB Associates Inc., is increasingly active and a lot more is going on there than Valley residents may realize.
A Chandler charter school has been recognized as being among the best in the world.
The Chandler Center for the Arts is accepting applications for its Youth Advisory Council.