Douglas Supports Brnovich Lawsuit Against ABOR For Unconstitutional Tuition Hikes

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced her support of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) for dramatically increasing the price of base tuition and mandatory fees at the state’s public universities. Superintendent Douglas concurs with Attorney General Brnovich and his assertion that the 300-plus-percent tuition hikes are unconstitutional.

“The Arizona Constitution clearly states that ‘the university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible,’” Superintendent Douglas stated. “That is plainly not the case in our state right now. We want to set our children up for success when they graduate from college, not be riddled with so much debt that their choices are limited.”

Available meeting minutes show that Douglas and Governor Doug Ducey have been no-shows at ABOR meetings

ARBOR Meetings
4/21/2017 Meeting Minutes 4/7/2017 Meeting Minutes
3/21/2017 Meeting Minutes 3/13/2017 Meeting Minutes
3/7/2017 Meeting Minutes 3/6/2017 Meeting Minutes
2/28/2017 Meeting Minutes 2/3/2017 Meeting Minutes
1/20/2017 Meeting Minutes 12/9/2016 Meeting Minutes
12/5/2016 Meeting Minutes 11/18/2016 Meeting Minutes
10/26/2016 Meeting Minutes 10/12/2016 Meeting Minutes
9/23/2016 Meeting Minutes

Superintendent Douglas commended Brnovich for pointing out three types of unlawful conduct cited in the filed lawsuit. The Superintendent agrees with the Attorney General that the tuition-setting policy does not comply with the constitutional mandate, part-time or online students are charged significantly more than the actual cost and Arizona risks triggering a federal law that would forfeit the state’s ability to provide discounted in-state tuition to any of its residents.

As a constitutional member of ABOR, records show that Douglas has not regularly attended ABOR meetings and there is no evidence that she has called for the Regents to comply with the constitutional mandate before now. She has called for more dedicated education funding for K-12, proposing an extension and expansion of Prop 301 to address teacher salaries and capital repairs of school infrastructures.

“It is overdue that we have a serious conversation about controlling the cost of a college education in Arizona,” Superintendent Douglas said. “I would be interested in hearing more about ideas such as community colleges offering four-year degrees and reducing the amount of fees student pay. I think it fits within the larger dialogue of ensuring our financial resources are used wisely to ensure the best possible outcome for our children.”

6 Comments on "Douglas Supports Brnovich Lawsuit Against ABOR For Unconstitutional Tuition Hikes"

  1. But, but, it takes money to make snowflakes.

  2. “…part-time or online students are charged significantly more…”
    ASU charges $75 just to find out what online courses they offer. As I have come to find out, this is a cash cow for ASU.

  3. Listen to a Mom | September 21, 2017 at 8:35 am |

    I’m glad the AG is stepping up for students and taxpayers. A 300% increase in tuition and fees in the last decade should have been “checked” long ago.

    Education lawsuits appear to be how AZ communicates its education concerns. It’s really a shame that nothing else seems to work to get the attention of those who serve on Boards or are elected.

    80% of success in life is showing up.

    Superintendent Douglas doesn’t attend these ABOR meetings according to the meeting minutes. Douglas is a constitutional member of ABOR so why didn’t she attend and share her concerns about the sky high fees at these meetings? She is our only elected voice on ABOR–the rest are Governor appointees.

    Douglas hosts her own “We are Listening Tours” throughout the state in which she solicits comments from the public about education matters. Is it possible that no Arizonan ever brought up the topic of high college costs at any of her Listening Tours since she was elected? Was she listening?

    ABOR had their hands held out to the Az Legislature for a big bonding package that they got last year.

    ABOR doesn’t seem to remember why it exists and whom they serve–students. Maybe the AG lawsuit will stimulate conversations to remind them. No one else has been listening.

    Evil One is right about online classes being a cash cow for ASU..not to mention education researchers’ data collection dream.

  4. We must all keep in mind that the constitutional mandate is an education cost that is “as nearly free” as possible and therefore the immediate goal regarding tuition, should NOT be an INCREASE as close to zero as possible, but the goal regarding tuition must be a decrease, or the smallest increase in tuition feasible, because THAT is the only way to attain a cost that is as close to free as possible.

  5. Please before I say my piece Let me stress that I am a sports fan and love watching UA sports. That being said it does not help that the highest paid state employees in any state are the football and basketball coach’s. Every year it seems that the UA is offering Coach Miller another $2M extension along with some million + dollar bonuses depending on how well the Cats do in the big dance. It’s no wonder when they have to pay out that kind of money that they keep raising the tuition every few months.

    • Howard, unless I am mistaken, the coaches are paid out of the athletic fund of the school. I know the ABOR sets the salaries but I think that all coaches at state schools are paid out of athletic funds paid for by revenue from the sports and boosters. That is why most football programs support the entire sports programs of some schools, the U of A being the exception where basketball carries the load.

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