Appeals court blocks fines against the state in English learning case|
Mar. 31, 2006
PHOENIX - The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday temporarily blocked
a federal judge's order that fined the state and restricted the implementation
of a new high school graduation requirement because of shortcomings in
instruction of students learning the English language.
Granting state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne's request for an
emergency stay, the appellate court put U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins'
Dec. 16 order on hold for 10 days.
The appellate court's order means Horne at least for now does not have to comply
with a recent order by Collins requiring distribution to public schools of $21
million in fines.
The state accrued the fines for missing a deadline set by Collins for action
during the current legislative session. The fines stopped accruing at least
temporarily when the Legislature on March 2 enacted a bill that Democratic Gov.
Janet Napolitano let become law without her signature.
Collins has scheduled a hearing Monday in Tucson on whether the new law
satisfies previous court orders in the case.
His Dec. 16 order also prohibited the state from requiring English-learning
students from having to pass the AIMS graduation test. Starting this spring,
high school students in Arizona must pass the reading, writing and math test to
get a diploma.