to present new proposal on English learning
Feb. 3, 2006
Napolitano said Friday she will present the Legislature with a new proposal in
hopes of ending a stalemate that has the state paying daily $500,000 fines for
missing a court deadline to revamp programs for students learning the English
The Democratic governor sent two top Republican legislative leaders a brief
letter in which she said they had mischaracterized parts of her most recent
proposal but that their critique also "raises some good points that I am willing
to agree upon and work through with you."
"I will be prepared on Monday to provide you with a proposal that I believe can
move this issue forward and resolve it positively for our children," she wrote.
Meanwhile, Napolitano, legislators and others involved in the issue waited for a
federal judge in Tucson to rule on what should be done with the accumulating
fine money, $4.5 million as of Friday.
The state has a growing budget surplus so paying the fines haven't affected
Napolitano vetoed three bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature,
including one last May and two in January before the deadline, and efforts to
forge a compromise have so far failed.
Under Collins' Dec. 16 order imposing a deadline for state action 15 days after
the start of the Jan. 9 session, the daily fines will increase to $1 million
after 30 days, $1.5 million 30 days later and $2 million at the end of the
current legislative session.
Another federal judge ruled in 2000 that the state's current programs violate
federal laws guaranteeing equal opportunities in education, falling short in
such areas as teacher training, class size and instruction material.
Republicans want to scrap Arizona's current per-student funding system and
instead require districts to adopt state approved instruction models and then
receive cost-based funding for each model after subtracting available federal
and local dollars.
Napolitano wants to more than triple the current funding over three years. She
also has objected to Republicans' inclusion of a new corporate income tax credit
for businesses' donations for private school tuition grants for ELL students.
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