Schools chief Diane Douglas responds to Gov. Doug Ducey’s comments with a press release and fact sheet on Thursday afternoon that she says shows the Arizona Constitution gives the superintendent authority to direct and fire employees of the State Board of Education.
The Arizona Republic reports that Ducey said early Thursday that Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas acted illegally when she fired two top staffers at the Arizona Department of Education. In a statement issued to The Arizona Republic Thursday morning, the governor said Christine Thompson is still director of the education board.
In Douglas’ press release with an attached fact sheet, she says: “Governor Ducey apparently views himself as both Governor and Superintendent of Schools. For someone who has spent so much time discussing the plain meaning of ‘or vs. and’ as a justification to deprive schools of hundreds of millions of dollars to give to his corporate cronies as tax cuts, I wish he would use the same precision in looking at the plain language of the law with regard to the powers and duties of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.”
Douglas also said “Governor Ducey has refused to take calls or meetings with me personally since his swearing in.”
CBS 5 KPHO says Attorneys with the Arizona governor’s office said state schools superintendent Diane Douglas does not have the power to fire two top officials at the Arizona Board of Education.
Fox 10 News reports Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has overturned the firing of two top officials at the Arizona Board of Education by the state’s schools chief in a quick rebuke to another elected official by the new governor. Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said Thursday that Douglas had no legal right to fire board executive director Christine Thompson and assistant director Sabrina Vazquez a day before.
Arizona Capitol Times says Ducey said he spoke with his legal counsel and determined that only the Board of Education has the authority to fire its employees.
“We don’t think anybody’s been fired,” Ducey told reporters. “The board has the legal authority, and they have not yet acted. So that’s where we are.”
The Associated Press reports that “The (Douglas) administration has only been in office for six weeks, there have been clear tensions between the policy that the board has adopted and that Sabrina and Christine are responsible for carrying out,” said Jennifer Liewer, communication director for Stand for Children, a nonprofit education policy group. “And Diane Douglas’ policies are in conflict.”
At that time, Brahm Resnik with 12 News said it was not clear whether Douglas has the legal authority to fire staffers, according to a former superintendent and Republican State Rep. Heather Carter.