[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.


Arizona Legislature: www.azleg.state.az.us 

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