Bill proposes partisan school board races

By Nick Phillips | Arizona Capitol Times 

A new bill would put school board elections on partisan ballots, forcing board candidates to declare a party affiliation. 

It would also clear the way for political activities including protests on school grounds, as long as they take place outside of school hours. 

The bill, pre-filed on December 1 by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, came a day after conservative candidates descended on Scottsdale’s Coronado High School to lambast a Scottsdale Unified School District board member and denounce what they called Critical Race Theory in public school curriculums. 

Arizona conservatives are increasingly seeing education issues like parental involvement and controversial curriculum items as potent political opportunities. The bill, SB1010, could provide an early look at how they plan to translate those talking points into legislative action. 

Also on December 1, Gov. Doug Ducey said he expected legislation in the coming session related to school districts and “parents’ rights.”  

“I expect there’s going to be accountability at the school board level,” Ducey said, though he declined to give more details, adding that he would say more in his State of the State Address, set for next month. 

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