Judge grants request to halt suit against Board of Education

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas lost her legal battle against the Arizona Board of Education.

A judge tossed out her lawsuit that sought to clarify whether she had authority over board employees.

In February, Douglas fired two staff members who later had their jobs reinstated by Governor Doug Ducey.

He said the board decides who is hired and fired.

Two months ago Supt. Dianne Douglas said she had no choice but to sue the State Board of Education over who has the right to hire and fire the board's 11 staff members. Douglas was arguing that she had that power.

"I have tried many, many ways to resolve this issue, I've tried to do it through the legislation, but it's not worked, and now it's up to the courts," said Diane Douglas.

Superior Court Judge Patricia Starr dismissed Douglas's lawsuit Tuesday morning.

Shortly after State Board of Education President Greg Miller issued the following statement: "The Board is pleased that Judge Starr has reaffirmed the State Board of Education's longstanding authority to set policy, control our staff, and ensure the appropriate application of resources. Now that this litigation is behind us, the Board looks forward to continuing our work ensuring the resources of the state are committed to putting Arizona's children first and expecting excellence in all of Arizona's public schools."

Douglas was not available for comment, but spokesperson Charles Tack say this may not end with the judge's dismissal order.

"Even when she issues the formal order, it won't be ruling on the merits of the case, and that's what were looking for. We want to know one way or the other who the state board employees report to, and what the actions they've taken mean for the Supt. and if they're appropriate," said Charles Tack.

So does the ruling make it clear to Douglas?

"I don't think it will because again it's not addressing the actual merits of the case," said Tack.

Tack says Douglas is going over her options with her attorney, no word if she will try to appeal.

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