Legal Advocacy

ASBA engages in litigation and legal advocacy that supports the association’s Political Agenda. The Political Agenda is decided by ASBA membership in the Delegate Assembly process. All legal actions must also be supported by ASBA’s Board of Directors.

ASBA is involved in the following litigation efforts:

Case Name Legal Issues ASBA Political Agenda Support Current Status of Case (February 2013)
Niehaus v. Huppenthal Constitutionality of Education Savings (or Empowerment) Accounts, which funnel public money into private schools. IV. Taxation/RevenuesOppose any measure that uses state monies to fund private schools, including vouchers and empowerment accounts. ASBA is a named plaintiff in the case.  Plaintiffs lost in Maricopa County Superior Court (February 2012).  Case appealed to Arizona Court of Appeals where it was argued on Feb. 13, 2013.
Craven v. HuppenthalHobday v. Huppenthal Whether funding for charter schools violates the General and Uniform Clause of the Arizona Constitution; whether school overrides violate the same clause. II. Local Control/GovernanceEnsure all public schools are funded and governed in a manner consistent with the Arizona Constitution's requirement of a general and uniform public school system, so that substantial disparities in the treatment of schools are not created by the law.   IV. Taxation/Revenues Oppose any action that prohibits local school district governing boards from supplementing state funding and budget provisions through M&O and flexible capital overrides as well as bond authorizations. ASBA has intervened in case on side of the state.  Case is still in Maricopa County Superior Court.   Defendants have won several procedural motions.  There is a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the state pending.
Cave Creek Unified School District, et. al. v. Ducey Whether the Arizona Legislature is obligated under Voter Protection provisions of Arizona Constitution to fund inflation as prescribed in Proposition 301. IV. Taxation/RevenuesOppose efforts to under-cut voter approved measures.   V. Funding Ensure full funding for inflation, especially in years in which the rate of inflation is greater than 2 percent, and vigorously oppose at the legislature and in the courts any attempts to not fully fund at least the 2 percent inflation factor as approved by the voters in Proposition 301 (2000). ASBA is named plaintiff in case.  After losing in Maricopa County Superior Court in February 2011, the plaintiffs won a unanimous decision out of the Arizona Court of Appeals in January 2013.  At press time for the Journal, the state was still deciding whether to appeal.
Rumery v. Baier Whether the Legislature violated the Arizona Enabling Act and Constitution by diverting proceeds from State Trust Lands for operations of the State Land Department. IV. Taxation/RevenuesServe to maintain and increase the earnings of the school trust lands for the benefit of K-12 public education. ASBA was an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) party in case.  Arizona Supreme Court found that the legislative action violated both the Enabling Act and the Constitution.
Gilbert Unified School District v. Arizona Whether the Career Ladder program violated the Arizona Constitution’s General and Uniform clause since only 28 districts were able to participate. VI. PersonnelSeek legislation providing all school districts with 5.5% in revenue to fund a career ladder program or other locally-determined professional development program or other system that promotes or rewards teacher performance. (This provision has since been removed from the Political Agenda.) ASBA was an amicus curiae party on state’s side in case.  Maricopa County Superior Court ruled program violated the General and Uniform clause of Arizona Constitution.  As ASBA feared, Legislature used the ruling to eliminate Career Ladder program (rather than allowing other districts to join).
Cain v. Horne Whether school vouchers violate the Aid Clause of the Arizona Constitution. IV. Taxation/RevenuesOppose any measure that uses state monies to fund private schools, including vouchers and empowerment accounts. ASBA was a named plaintiff in case.  After losing in Maricopa County Superior Court, ASBA won at the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court (2009).  Vouchers are unconstitutional in Arizona.