'Flores vs Arizona': A legal timeline
Arizona Republic
Jul. 26, 2006


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 case as a co-counsel. He takes over the case in 2000.

2000: A federal judge finds that existing funding fails to ensure that students will overcome language barriers.December 2001: After 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 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 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 up to $1 million a day.

March 3: 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. Fines had accumulated to $21 million.

March 17: Collins orders the $21 million in fines to be pumped into the classroom for 150,000 students who struggle to learn English. Schools Superintendent Tom Horne vows to appeal Collins' ruling, saying the judge cannot appropriate state money.

March 22: Horne tries to stop Collins' order requiring the state immediately to divvy up $21 million in fines for school districts with students struggling to learn English. He appeals to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

April 6: A ruling from the 9th Circuit prevents the state from divvying up the $21 million in fines. The outcome of the appeal will probably not be known until late July.

April 27: Collins rejects Republican-backed legislation to improve instruction.

July 25: The 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco hears arguments in the Flores case. First, they must decide if the GOP-backed legislation is OK or if the Legislature has to come up with a new plan. Then they must decide if the fines imposed by Collins were OK, and if so, how would those fines be distributed to school districts.