[EDLING:1223] Republicans critique Napolitano's proposal on English learning
Francis M Hult
fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Sat Feb 4 01:13:23 UTC 2006
Republicans critique Napolitano's proposal on English learning
The Associated Press
PHOENIX - Top Republican legislative leaders on Thursday gave Democratic
Gov. Janet Napolitano what amounted to a point-by-point critique of her
latest plan for revamping programs for students learning the English
The state is paying daily $500,000 fines for missing a court deadline to
improve programs for approximately 150,000 English Language Learning
Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, and House Speaker Jim Weiers,
R-Phoenix, sent Napolitano a three-page letter that said Napolitano's plan
"appears to be a step backward."
The GOP legislative leaders said Napolitano's proposal didn't address key
questions regarding use of federal dollars, differences between schools
and use of immersion instruction while obscuring her continued desire to
triple the state's current funding for each ELL student.
Republicans want to scrap the current per-student funding system and
instead require districts to adopt state approved instruction models and
then receive cost-based funding for each model but subtracting available
federal and local dollars.
Napolitano has vetoed Republican-drafted bills, calling them inadequate to
meet court orders that Arizona is not in compliance with federal laws
guaranteeing equal opportunities in education.
She also criticized Republicans' inclusion in the bill of a new corporate
income tax credit for businesses' donations for private school tuition
grants for ELL students.
The Republican leaders' letter balked at Napolitano's willingness to
accepted a scaled-back tax credit but only in a separate bill and with
numerous restrictions. Her position would impose onerous restrictions that
preclude many private schools from participating and providing parents
with choices of schools appropriate for their children, they said.
Gubernatorial spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer said Thursday that Napolitano
would provide Republicans with a response to their letter.
"This is a Legislature really focused on creating problems rather than
solving them," L'Ecuyer said. "We hope at some point they're going to get
this out of their system."
The Republicans sent the letter to Napolitano one day after Napolitano,
lawsuit plaintiffs, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne
and legislators from each party submitted proposals to a federal judge on
what should be done with the accumulating fine money now being kept in a
newly designated fund in the state treasury.
The fund contains $3.5 million - $3 million deposited Tuesday and $500,000
on Wednesday, a Department of Administration spokesman said.
Napolitano, Democratic legislators and the lawsuit plaintiffs want the
money distributed to public schools for use for ELL students while Horne
and Republican legislators want the money kept in the treasury until the
state enacts a plan resolving the overall issue.
ON THE NET:
Arizona Legislature: www.azleg.state.az.us
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