The will of taxpayers is being evoked by both sides in the debate over a bill that would require school districts to sell property to charter or private schools when they are the highest bidders.
Rep. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, introduced House Bill 2460 to prohibit districts from accepting an offer on property for sale or lease if it is less than an offer from a charter or private school. The bill would also prohibit the district from withdrawing the property solely because a charter or private school has the highest bid.
The bill passed the House on February 15 by a vote of 34-23, and was approved by the Senate Education Committee on March 1. However, it was stricken from the Senate consent agenda on March 6 and will be debated on the floor.
Chuck Essigs, director of government relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, said supporters of the bill point to a recent case out of the Tucson Unified School District as reason enough for the legislation. He said a charter wanted to buy a school that was up for sale for $2 million, but the district ultimately accepted an offer from a home developer for $1.6 million.