Testimony ends in English-learning trial
January 27, 2007
expect verdict as early as March
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.27.2007
PHOENIX — A federal judge has finished a trial in a nearly 15-year-old
educational funding case, setting the stage for a ruling as early as late
March on whether the state needs to do more to improve school programs for
students learning the English language.
District Judge Raner C. Collins heard the 13th and final witness on
Thursday, which was the eighth day of testimony in the trial that began Jan.
9. It was originally expected to conclude Jan. 12.
Collins did not hear closing arguments. Instead, he ordered attorneys to
file legal briefs on March 12.
Collins again rules that a 2006 state law falls short of complying with a
federal law requiring equal opportunities in education, the Legislature
could be forced to wrestle with the contentious issue again this session.
Collins essentially is reconsidering an April ruling in which he found that
the 2006 law revamping state programs was inadequate. He fined the state $21
million before the Legislature enacted the law on March 2.
federal appeals court later overturned Collins' ruling, ordering him to
consider the impact of educational system changes made since another judge
ruled in 2000 that Arizona's English Language Learning programs were
inadequate in such areas as teacher training, class sizes and instructional
material. That ruling wiped out the fines, too.
class-action lawsuit was filed in 1992 on behalf of parents and students
from the Southern Arizona district.