What do #RedForEd, SOS Arizona and A.R.S.15-511 have in common?

ASBA has received numerous inquiries about 15-511 and RedForEd support. We believe that in order for an activity or message to be an attempt to influence the outcome of an election, the activity or message should be one that has a particularized message of support or opposition to an elections matter (candidate or ballot measure).

In other words, we do not believe that #RedForEd or SOS Arizona shirts alone – without a clear indication of support or opposition to a particular ballot measure – worn during on-duty time is a violation of 15-511. ASBA believes that, when in doubt, the First Amendment trumps 15-511 and overly cautious approaches can chill protected First Amendment speech.

Also, it should be noted that, even absent 15-511, school districts DO have the authority to regulate employee speech if it is during on-duty time and ASBA’s guidance should not imply that an employee’s free speech rights are paramount to this authority. In short, districts CAN regulate employee on-duty speech under general district authority but 15-511 may not REQUIRE them to do so unless the message/activity is an attempt to influence the outcome of an election.

HOWEVER, we are acknowledging that this is unsettled law and the Attorney General did not speak to this in the 2004 guidance (or any subsequent guidance) and school attorneys have come to different conclusions. For example, many school attorneys have come to the conclusion that #RedForEd, being the primary motto of the Arizona Educators United group (which has endorsed the InvestInEd ballot measure), is now too closely associated with a ballot campaign and could be construed as support for that ballot measure which, if true, WOULD be a violation of 15-511.

THEREFORE, we are advising districts to follow the advice of their own counsel and that these questions are highly fact/situational dependent and only your own counsel can properly analyze a unique question on whether a particular practice violates the law.

Interested in presenting at ASBA’s Annual Conference in December?

We are calling for proposals from school districts and other organizations for high-quality, breakout sessions that focus on topics of critical interest to school board members. This year your submission may address any of these general themes:

  • Rural/Remote: Promising practices or strategies for addressing key issues facing rural or remote schools
  • Social/Emotional: Topics or strategies to promote empathy, inclusion or improved school/district culture
  • Equity: Address the needs or highlight key concerns of specific communities and/or populations
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Effective strategies for engaging various stakeholders (parents, students, community organizations, etc.) in district decisions
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Addressing achievement gaps through data-driven decision making.

In addition to reflecting one of these themes, presentations should:

  • Enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of board members and superintendents
  • Share promising strategies and best practices that can be replicated by other districts
  • Demonstrate innovative ideas and solutions that are showing effectiveness
  • Foster increased access to quality education for all students
  • Focus on positive results and/or proven student success

The DEADLINE for consideration is July 31, 2018. ASBA will conduct a first review and notify semi-finalist no later than August 31, 2018. If selected, you will be asked to provide additional details on your presentation. This will assist ASBA in making final selections which will occur no later than October 1, 2018.

Click here to submit.

Legislative wrap up webinar, May 23, 10 a.m.

ASBA and AASBO will review education related legislation and budget information from the recently completed legislative session. You do not want to be in the dark about the bills that passed the Legislature and that will impact schools. Please remember if you register for this event, you will automatically receive the recording. Register here.

Resources to guide your district on salary recommendations

We have created additional resources to help guide your district as you begin to approve salary recommendations for teacher salaries. It is extremely critical to be transparent in your decision making so that teachers, staff, parents and the community know how teacher compensation is fitting the needs of students. While statewide political considerations are not generally top of mind for districts, members should consider the perception of whether districts properly allocated additional funding for teacher pay could have an impact on how future funding increases are distributed by the Legislature.

NEW Pillar Award for Advocacy Pin

ASBA’s new Pillar Award for Advocacy Pin recognizes school board members for service in the advocacy arena that goes above and beyond their regular board duties. This award includes many of the same activities as the former Cactus Pin. The pin will be awarded to members at our Legislative Workshop who have accumulated a total of 125 points based on several advocacy related activities. The application for the Pillar Award for Advocacy will open July 1 and will close September 1. Click here for more information.

ASBA Events

Save the date for ASBA’s Law Conference, Sept. 5-7, 2018

The Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference is the largest conference of its kind, and the largest and consistently best-reviewed event that ASBA holds.

Don’t miss out on keynote speakers and breakout sessions that dive deeper into the issues that matter the most to you. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn and problem solve with top legal and policy experts across the state. Registration opens July 5, 2018

Save the date for Delegate Assembly, Sept. 8, 2018

The 2018 Delegate Assembly will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 a.m. for ASBA members. Don’t forget to register one of your board members to serve as the Delegate and attend this event for voting on the 2019 Legislative Agenda Action process.

AZEDNews Featured Stories