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Arizona charter schools oppose more state regulation

PHOENIX — Arizona charter school officials said they don’t want the state
to impose more regulations on how the mostly privately operated schools buy
goods and services with taxpayer dollars.

The state board said no changes
are in the works.

The State Board for Charter Schools held a study session with charter school
officials Wednesday in response to an investigation by the Arizona Republic that
found that board members and administrators of some charters did business with
their own schools.

Some transactions were purchases of textbooks, repairs and transportation
services from companies of board members or administrators, while other
transactions were facility leases and land purchases from companies owned by
board members.

The state board has provided most charter schools with exemptions from state
purchasing laws.

School officials told the state board that more regulations would impose
burdens on the schools and that policies in place are reasonable, the Republic
reported.

“We’re trying to fix something that is already fixed,” said Rep. Eddie
Farnsworth, a Gilbert Republican who is president of the for-profit Benjamin
Franklin Charter School.

No board members suggested policy changes.

“We’ll continue to operate as we have,” said DeAnna Rowe, the board’s
executive director, after the meeting attended by about two dozen people.

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