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Bill Empowering School Board Members To Fire Superintendents Advances

February 23, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

Republicans and Democrats have generally been divided on ideas to improve Arizona’s public and charter school systems for the benefit of children and their families, but one bill advancing through the state legislature might have a chance at becoming law.

On Tuesday, the Arizona House passed HB 2291, sponsored by Representative David Cook, with a bipartisan 35-25 vote. According to the overview provided by the House, this legislation “authorizes a school district governing board to terminate the superintendent’s employment contract if prescribed criteria are met.” The prescribed criteria in the legislation, that would give the governing board the green light to remove a district superintendent, are if it was “determined by the governing board that the superintendent violated governing board policy; or one or more schools have been assigned a D or F letter grade for at least three years.”

In a release sent out by the House, Representative Cook praised the passage of this bill, saying, “HB 2291 is written to empower local school board members to make decisions that are best for their school districts while being able to protect their limited funding for education that they control. I’m glad to have bipartisan support for this legislation, because making sure that our schools are serving their students and parents is not a partisan matter – it’s something we all believe needs to happen.”

There were four co-sponsors for this legislation – two Democrats and two Republicans. Democrat Representatives Alma Hernandez and Lydia Hernandez co-sponsored HB 2291, along with Republican Representatives Laurin Hendrix and Michele Peña.

Earlier this session, Representative Cook’s bill passed out of the House Education Committee with an 8-2 bipartisan vote, and out of the House Rules Committee with a unanimous 8-0 vote.

The Arizona School Administrators Association, the Arizona Education Association, and the Arizona School Boards Association came out in opposition to this legislation as it was progressing through the Arizona House.

HB 2291 will now be considered by the Arizona Senate.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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