The Arizona Republic
Sept. 5, 2007

 (Phoenix, AZ)
Author: The Arizona Republic
Estimated printed pages: 2
School-district unification, No Child Left Behind, school safety and free speech are among the topics to be discussed this week at the 31st Annual Arizona School Boards Association Law Conference, "Legal Perspectives 2007."

The conference, which focuses on recent legislation and court cases affecting Arizona public schools, will be held Thursday through Saturday at the Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa in Litchfield Park. More than 700 school board members, school administrators and lawyers from across Arizona will attend the conference.

Discussions will include:

* The current state of student free speech, with focus on the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" Supreme Court case.

* Financial oversight and the ramifications of overspending, especially timely in light of overspending by several Arizona districts in spring 2007.

* School safety, an ongoing concern which drew headlines again last April with the Virginia Tech tragedy.

* Political activity in the school environment, an issue that will take center stage as the 2008 presidential election draws nearer.

* Legal issues with school-district unification. (Ninety-two school districts statewide have until Sept. 15 to file responses to the proposals from the School District Redistricting Commission. Voters will consider proposals in November 2008.)

* The Flores English-language-learner case.

Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center of Vanderbilt University will present "Finding Common Ground," an examination of the role of religion in the public schools.

On Saturday, nationally-known humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson performs "Thomas Jefferson: Public Education and the Future of a Nation." Jenkinson is the host of worldwide cultural tours and the nationally syndicated weekly radio program The Thomas Jefferson Hour, which has been on NPR stations since 1999. He has performed before U.S. Supreme Court justices and presidents, 18 state legislatures and countless public audiences, as well as on national TV.

Following the Jefferson performance will be a discussion on the current state of public education, and what the future holds, featuring Jenkinson, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne and former State Superintendent Carolyn Warner.

Information: Arizona School Boards Association,
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: VALLEY & State
Page: B3