State Capitol News
1:44 am
Tue April 15, 2008

Governor allows ELL funding to become law

Phoenix, AZ – Governor Janet Napolitano has agreed to let the state provide another 40-point-6 million dollars to schools to help teach
English. But Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports she's not convinced the problem is solved.

The governor allowed the funding formula to become law without
her signature. That allows her to express her concerns about the
financing but ensure the state met today's deadline set by a
federal judge to have the money allocated or face fines starting
at $2 million a day. But Tim Hogan who represents parents who
first sued the state said the amount of money still doesn't put
Arizona into compliance with federal laws requiring states to
ensure all students have an opportunity to learn English. He said
some districts already are spending more than the extra funds
they will receive from the new law, money they have to take from
other programs.

(They're in effect forcing school districts to do what the court
wouldn't let them do to begin with, which is use these other
sources of funding. On that issue, at least, we're going to ask
them to show the court the numbers about what the differential
would be. And that's what should be funded.)

But Arizona School Superintendent Tom Horne said Judge Raner
Collins ruled only that the state cannot force districts to raid
federal grants to fund English learner program. Horne said the
judge never forbid requiring schools to move around other state
funds.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.