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Legal Saga Between Diane Douglas, Board of Education Continues

Diane Douglas
(Photo courtesy of Diane Douglas)
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas

One lawsuit pending appeal, one lawsuit being written and one lawsuit threatened. The legal back-and-forth continues between the Arizona Board of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. 

Earlier this summer, a Superior Court judge refused to rule on Douglas’ initial suit because the judge said it was abstract. That case is about Douglas' power to fire employees and the ability for them to work from a different office. It’s currently pending appeal. 

Mary O’Grady, the state Board of Education's lawyer, is in the process of filing another lawsuit to force Douglas to give board employees remote computer access and to direct traffic to the Board of Education’s new website.  

“The statute requires the superintendent to execute board policy and that’s not a discretionary duty,” O'Grady said.  

On top of those legal actions, Douglas sent an email to the board Wednesday, warning if the body moves forward with hiring employees she will be forced to sue. 

Her attorney Stephen Tully said Douglas is now on the defensive.

“All of the actions after perhaps the initial firings, have been the board taking aggressive actions to take powers that are granted by statute from the superintendent and give them to their employees," Tully said.

Since Douglas was elected, less than a year ago, the Department of Education and the Board of Education have spent more than $145,000 combined on these legal battles.  

Alexandra Olgin was a Senior Field Correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2016.