Flores Timeline
Associated Press
Mar. 18, 2006

Arizona Republic Mar. 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Districts expect extra $136 per English-learner Special report: Language barriers
A look inside the classroom

What's next
Here's what is coming up for the Legislature's English-language-learners plan:
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne and Republican legislative leaders will appeal Friday's ruling by Judge Raner Collins to distribute $21 million in court fines immediately to schools coping with high numbers of students who don't speak English. Horne will take his case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, likely next week. advertisement

Collins must decide if a $32 million legislative plan for English-learners is an adequate solution. Gov. Janet Napolitano and public-interest lawyers whose suit resulted in the fines don't believe it is. Collins will hear arguments on April 3 in Tucson.

Flores case: A timeline
1992: The issue of English-language learners grows out of a lawsuit, Flores vs. Arizona, filed by a Nogales family.

1996: Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest joins the case as a co-counsel. He takes over the case in 2000.

2000: A federal judge finds that existing funding failed to ensure that students would overcome language barriers.

December 2001: After constant legal prodding from Hogan, the Legislature passes a bill that more than doubles the amount for every English-learner. The state now spends about $360 per learner.

January 2005: A federal judge rules that lawmakers still are shortchanging the students and orders the Legislature to fix the problem by the end of its 2005 session.

May 2005: Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoes a Republican-backed bill that would have set aside $42 million to help Spanish-speaking students deficient in English skills.

Dec. 16, 2005: U.S. District Judge Raner Collins orders lawmakers and Napolitano to come up with a financial plan by late January to help educate students struggling to learn English or be fined $500,000 a day. The penalty could rise to $2 million a day if they fail to act.

March 3, 2006: Napolitano lets a Republican-backed plan to improve instruction for English-learners go into law without her signature even though she has strong objections to the bill. By this time, the fines have accumulated to $21 million.

Friday: Collins orders the $21 million in fines to be pumped into the classroom for the more than 150,000 students who struggle to learn English in Arizona. The Legislature and Arizona schools Superintendent Tom Horne vow to appeal Collins' ruling, saying the judge lacks the authority to appropriate state money.