The Latest: Man’s school funding suit could continue
PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on Arizona’s school funding lawsuit (all times local):
A Phoenix man who successfully challenged the legality of a school funding plan hopes to prevent Arizona from taking money from the state land trust without Congressional approval.
Gov. Doug Ducey’s attorneys said at a Monday hearing that such an order isn’t necessary because Congress has since authorized the state to make payouts under Proposition 123. They said the case should be tossed for good.
An attorney for Michael Pierce also said around $300 million in additional funding could be owed to schools to make up for the years when the unauthorized funding plan was in place.
Senior U.S. District Judge Neil Wake earlier this year found the state unlawfully changed the way it took money from the School Trust Fund because it didn’t receive congressional approval first.
A Phoenix man who won a federal court ruling finding Arizona distributed more than $344 million to schools since 2016 without Congressional approval won’t ask for the money to be repaid because Congress finally approved the payouts last month.
But an attorney for Michael Pierce says that approval doesn’t cover a voter-approved change to state land trust distributions starting in 2012 and that the state may owe $300 million to schools.
Attorney Andy Jacob says he plans to ask U.S. District Judge Neil Wake Monday to order the state Treasurer to formally account for extra moneys schools would have received from 2012 through 2016 under Proposition 108. He says last month’s Congressional vote approving Proposition 123 didn’t cover the earlier measure.