/ Modified may 3, 2018 2:40 p.m.

Attorney: Goldwater Claims Not Viable if Districts Make Up Minutes

The Goldwater Institute says closed school districts deprived Arizona students of an education.

Teacher Pay Cover Image 360 Empty classroom full of chairs in Arizona
AZPM Staff

A Tucson employment lawyer says the Goldwater Institute's claims that school districts have deprived Arizona students of an education aren't viable if the districts make up instructional minutes that were lost during a statewide teacher walkout.

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative policy organization based in Phoenix, sent letters to school superintendents across the state last week saying their districts were violating the state constitution by closing their campuses during the walkout.

The Arizona Constitution guarantees all citizens a right to an education, expressed in a mandated 180 days of education. Individual school districts then work out how to meet that mandate in instructional minutes.

"Here we see the districts responding and deciding how they want to go about reacting to the teacher walkout, and I think, at the end of the day, that's in their right on how they do it," Holtzman said. "As long as they get to those 180 days that is guaranteed by the constitution and they follow the instructional-minute guidelines by the Legislature, they're going to be OK."

Districts in Pima County could extend the school calendar like Tanque Verde Unified School District to make up the days missed.

Goldwater also claims that a Maricopa County school district is an example of one of many school districts that are participating instead of reacting to the walkout.

"One school district we have been looking at changed its employment policy in order to no longer require teachers to provide a doctor's note if they call in sick, in order to make it easier for teachers to show up to work," Goldwater lawyer Tim Sandefur said.

Goldwater has yet to file a lawsuit.

School Closures

Tucson Unified School District OPEN Sunnyside Unified School District OPEN Marana Unified School District OPEN Amphitheater Public Schools OPEN Catalina Foothills School District OPEN Tanque Verde Unified School District OPEN Sahuarita Unified School District OPEN Flowing Wells Unified School District OPEN Vail School District OPEN Altar Valley School District OPEN Ajo Unified School District OPEN Baboquivari Unified School District OPEN Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind — Tucson OPEN Pima JTED OPEN Sierra Vista Unified School District OPEN
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