Both sides agreed that Arizona’s charter school system needed reform, but according to Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers gamesmanship killed SB 1394, a bill that embodied many of those reforms.
Bowers did not to assign SB 1394 to the Education Committee for a hearing due to a lack of votes, which he said was a result partisanship.
“I’m a decades-long supporter of charter schools and believe they are imperative to giving
families a choice in how to educate their children. Unfortunately, my statement today was
taken out of context and used to feed a media narrative that suggests that SB 1394 doesn’t
go far enough,” said Bowers in a press release on Monday.
“SB 1394 would add additional accountability and transparency to charter schools and
clarify charter school statues. The bill incorporated numerous changes from Democrats,
who would rather see the charter school model fail than be improved. Members of both
parties now feel the bill either goes too far or not far enough. Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t have the votes to pass in the House because partisan gamesmanship is more important to some than improved accountability.”
Democrat lawmakers pushed the mainstream media narrative that Bowers blamed for the bill’s demise:
I would have hoped a #Speaker of the #AZHouse would have a greater understanding of the way the #AZLeg works. You literally had an entire chamber's worth of process to make the bill a meaningful, bipartisan accountability/transparency measure. https://t.co/S2f0j6YW1L
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) March 26, 2019
You’re right @ejmontini if #AZHouse can’t amend #SB1394 to achieve meaningful #CharterSchoolReform than #SB1394 should be rejected. Charter reform must protect taxpayer $$ by mandating transparency and prohibiting self-dealing (money making schemes) #AZLeg https://t.co/C8IpPvaHCp
— Dr. Randy Friese (@DrRandyFriese) March 20, 2019