Arizona Board of Education officials return to work location

PHOENIX (AP) - Two state Board of Education officials whom Arizona schools chief Diana Douglas tried to fire have returned to the building housing their offices.

The board voted Friday to order Douglas to restore office, email and other access to board Executive Director Christine Thompson and Deputy Director Sabrina Vazquez by Tuesday morning.

Thompson, Vazquez and a lawyer representing them arrived at the Education Department building Tuesday morning, and Vazquez said it felt good to be back.

Douglas had said Friday she may have trouble meeting the board's deadline because of Monday's state holiday.

The board and Gov. Doug Ducey contend Douglas didn't have the authority to fire the two officials, which Douglas disputes.

Ducey overturned the firings Thursday, prompting Douglas to accuse him of backing charters over traditional public schools.

Douglas released the following statement, in part:

"The superintendent said she sees no reason to escalate the current situation by excluding people from access to the Department of Education building even though the action of the Board of Education was clearly outside of its authority.

"My focus is on Arizona's children and providing them with the highest quality education available," she said. "Our resources are best spent supporting our children, teachers and classroom instruction."

The Superintendent said she would like to resolve this issue as quickly as possible so it is no longer a distraction."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press modified.
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