Arizona Senate Committee Approves Bill To Prevent Use Of Public Money For School Board Association Dues

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On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate Education Committee passed on a 5-3 vote, a bill that would prohibit school districts from using taxpayer dollars to pay for membership in a state or national school board association.

The bill, SB1011, sponsored by Sen. Kelly Townsend, comes in the wake of national controversy involving the National School Board Association’s decision to cooperate with the Biden administration’s effort to peg parents as domestic terrorists and request federal law enforcement intervention.

Currently, statute allows a school district governing board to annually budget and spend monies for membership in an association of school districts within Arizona. However, a school district board may not spend taxpayers’ dollars for membership in an association that attempts to influence the outcome of an election or legislative policies.

“The Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) has a consistent pattern of lobbying with a clear bias. This constitutes political activity and is often against the very taxpayers that funded them,” said Townsend in a press release. “I encourage ASBA to pursue a 501(c)(4) tax exempt status and fundraise the monies they need to operate their organization without relying on the taxpayer.”

“I requested records from ASBA regarding taxpayer monies used to pay legal fees for any litigation with the state and whether these funds came from dues received from any school board of any district in Arizona. They did not comply with the request which is why I am running this bill. This organization should be serving the parents, and not working hard against them,” said Senator Townsend. “Our state lawmakers are listening to the concerns of the parents that live within our communities and are working on policy to address issues like Critical Race Theory training and vaccine mandates within our schools. I would hate to know the dues this organization receives from school boards are being used to pay attorneys to sue our state and overturn legislation we’re crafting on behalf of these constituents. This is completely inappropriate, and I will be looking into whether or not taxpayer money has been used in this fashion to undo our laws.”

This bill, if signed into law, would be implemented on the general effective date.

 

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