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Lawyer requests Flores deadline be pushed back

In the latest twist in a 16-year-old case, the attorney suing the state over its English education system is asking a federal court to delay ordering the state to comply with an earlier ruling.

Though he argued earlier this summer the state should be ordered to comply with a March ruling by the beginning of the upcoming legislative session, public interest attorney Tim Hogan is now asking the court to push that deadline back until the end of February, in response to an affidavit filed by attorneys for the state’s schools chief.

On Aug. 31, attorneys for Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne filed an affidavit from Department of Education official Margaret Garcia Dugan. In the affidavit, she says budget request forms for English language learners resulting from the work of the statutory ELL task force may be distributed to schools by the end of the month.

If that happens, Hogan asserted in a response filed with the court Sept. 12, then the districts need only fill out the forms and submit them to Horne, who in turn will submit them to the Legislature. Legislative lawyers earlier asserted this process would take four or five months, Hogan says, meaning “it is reasonable” to expect funding of the ELL models by January or February.

Thus, Hogan says, the court should establish the end of February as the deadline for compliance, rather than the pre-session deadline he had earlier advocated for. Setting a deadline early in session, he argues, allows him to seek relief during the session if the state doesn’t meet the deadline.

The alternate deadline would be contingent on a pair of funding restrictions in the ELL law that violate federal statutes not being implemented.

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