Compromise reached: HB 2184 clarifies who can fire State Board of Education employees

The battle between Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Superintendent Diane Douglas may be over as both sides have reached a compromise.

House Bill 2184 clarifies who can fire state board of education employees.

Two weeks ago, Douglas was running away from TV cameras.

"Excuse me, I'm on the phone and I'm going to my carpool," she said.

Threatening to sue after Gov. Ducey told her she didn't have the authority to fire two employees who work for the state Board of Education, but on Thursday morning, Douglas said, "I stand in support of this bill."

A relaxed Douglas told the Senate Committee on Education that both she, the State Board of Education and the Governor's office have come up with a legislative solution to avoid a costly legal battle.

"Lawsuits devote money from the classroom.. while many resolve issues otherwise unresolvable.  That's not the case in this instance."

An amendment to HB 2184 clarifies only the State Board of Education has the power to fire its employees.  Douglas is backing down.

"The real issue here is about our children, about creating an ongoing process to ensure they have the highest standards of high quality education," she said.

Some conservative Republican groups spoke up against the amendment, saying it takes power away from the State Superintendent.

"This is a horrible solution to this problem," said a woman at the meeting.  "We are dealing with the Constitution of Arizona and it's too important to do this quickly and on an emergency  basis."

The Senate Committee on Education recommends the Senate approve the bill, which must now be passed by the House and Senate before heading to the Gov. Ducey's desk.

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