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Sat, July 20

Editorial: Lawyers only ones seeing green in dispute over school financing

For months we've said that Arizona school districts should not hold their breath in hopes the state legislature will do what's right by them.

What's right, of course, is abiding by the law. And, in this case, the law requires the state to pay an extra $317 million support for Arizona public schools.

That requirement is based on a 2000 voter-approved law that requires basic state aid to schools to be increased each year to compensate for inflation.

It is further based on the Voter Protection Act, a constitutional amendment forbidding lawmakers from altering or ignoring what voters have approved.

Finally, it is based on a judicial order.

It most instances, that is what you would call a slam dunk. In this case, however, the same people who make laws they expect the rest of us to follow don't see the need to follow this particular law.

So, the issue is being litigated, and that means the only people seeing any money are the lawyers advocating for both sides in the debate.

If and when this dispute is ever resolved and the Arizona Legislature has no choice but to obey the law, it would be just desserts for lawmakers if they had to cough up all the legal and attorney fees they created and add that to the tally they owe local school systems.

It would be even better if it came out of their own pockets instead of the taxpayers they are elected to serve.

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