Arizona schools chief, Board of Education head to court

The heated battle between State School Superintendent Diane Douglas and the Arizona Board of Education headed to court.

Douglas wants a judge to order the board staffers to submit to her control.

Those staffers don't want to work near her; they've moved out of the DOE building and she wants them to move back.

So here is how it works.

There is an Arizona Board of Education that is comprised of eleven members. Ten are appointed by Arizona's Governor; the eleventh is the school's chief Diane Douglas.

The board sets the educational policy in the state. Douglas and the board are supposed to make the policies happen.

In court Thursday morning, Diane Douglas' attorney told a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge she wants a ruling that says the Board of Education's employees work for her, and they report to her, and thus must work in her building. Douglas' also asked the judge to rule that members of the Board of Education do not have control over those employees; she does.

"So now the courts will decide, and I am going back to my office to help ensure the best education of children, that is what the public wants me to do, so that is how I will serve the citizens of Arizona," said Diane Douglas.

The judge set deadlines for both sides to file written briefs outlining their positions, and to set a hearing date for June 26.

The attorney representing the board says Douglas doesn't have a case.

"The issue is whether there is a claim, and our argument is these are political matters, the board voted, she is trying to overturn a board vote in which she was the sole dissenting voter, that is not a judicial issue," said Colin Campbell.

The board wants the judge to toss the case. That would be the staffers could continue working outside the Department of Education building and away from Douglas.

The President of the Board of Education, Greg Miller, says the lawsuit is a distraction, keeping the board away from its work.

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