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Arizona Board of Education sues Superintendent Diane Douglas

(KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)
LISTEN: Greg Miller

PHOENIX — The Arizona Board of Education is suing to force Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas to give remote computer access to board investigators and to redirect web traffic to the board’s new website.

“She’s not responding to our staff requests … we’re tired of waiting,” Arizona School Board President Greg Miller said Wednesday. “We’ve given (her) lots of opportunities and made multiple efforts and lots of requests and she’s just not responding.”

The lawsuit announced Wednesday comes two weeks after the board authorized its attorneys to sue the state’s top school official for failing to comply with board policies.

“The people of this state need to hold her responsible one way or another,” Miller said.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Douglas is breaking the law by failing to execute board policies and orders requiring her to comply.

“She needs to understand what her role is, what her role at the board is and what her job is on her implementation side of board policy,” Miller said.

Douglas’s spokesperson, Charles Tack, said the superintendent has not yet reviewed the suit and may have yet to be officially served.

Despite the ongoing public battle, Miller said parents should not be concerned yet about the effect it will have on classrooms.

“As far as parents are concerned, they shouldn’t worry about their classrooms in terms of services provided or any of those kinds of things,” he said, adding that the suit could become an issue down the road.

The Board and Douglas have been at odds since February, when she tried to fire the board’s executive staff. A judge ruled against her, saying the board oversees its staff.

In August, Douglas called police after Miller allegedly grabbed her arm during a board meeting. Miller said he hit Douglas’ arm by accident when trying to take a microphone away from her and later said Douglas’ claim was politically motivated.

“I reached over, grabbed the microphone attached to the dais and just moved it forward,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos in August. “Maybe, in doing that, I touched her arm or something in that process, but I never grabbed her.”

After the incident, Miller assigned Douglas a different seat at meetings. He claimed she has yet to show up to a board meeting since, despite being constitutionally-mandated to do so. She was not at Monday’s meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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