Because of a ruling by a federal appeals court in Arizona last week, the state will no longer have to pay $21 million in fines for failing to come up with a way to provide adequate funding for the education of English-language learners by a deadline set by a lower court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected on Aug. 23 two orders by U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins.
One order had called for the distribution of $21 million in federal fines to school districts to finance programs for English-language learners. It also said that such students didn’t have to pass the state’s high school exit exam to earn a diploma until programs for them had been revamped.
The second order had rejected legislation to increase funding for English-language learners, saying the measure was inadequate for complying with the court’s original order in 2000. That earlier order had said the state’s funding for such students wasn’t sufficient.
The appeals court is requiring the federal district court to hold an evidentiary hearing to re-examine the central issue of the 15-year-old Flores v. Arizona court case. In such a hearing, the state will have the opportunity to argue that it has increased funding for the education of English-learners to meet the requirements of the 2000 ruling.
A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2006 edition of Education Week