PHOENIX — The federal judges weighing whether Arizona has to provide more cash to teach English want state legislative leader to see if they instead can reach an out-of-court deal with the parents who are suing them.
But the chances of actually resolving the case short of a cour order may be slim.
When the judges first suggested the idea at a hearing last week, only Tim Hogan who represents the parents who filed the suit gave his unconditional endorsement. State School Superintendent Tom Horne, one of the defendants in the litigation, said Monday he personally is willing. But Horne said his feelings are irrelevant.
“It’s really up to the Legislature,’’ he said. “They’re the ones who have the money.’’
That money has been a sticking point.
Arizona now provides $365 a year for each of the 135,000 students classified as not being proficient in English. David Cantelme, the attorney for Republican legislative leaders, said that, coupled with the regular aid provided by the state for all students, is enough to meet the requirements in federal law to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn English.
But a federal judge in Tucson disagreed and has ordered the state to come up with more. It is that order legislative leaders have appealed.
Hogan said there are studies showing the state needs to spend about $1,800 a year on each youngster above and beyond regular state aid.
Barrett Marson, press aide the House Speaker Jim Weiers, said his boss is willing to talk “if it would be useful.’’
But Marson pointed out that any deal Weiers finds acceptable might not get the consent of a majority of legislators who woul need to approve additional funding.
That’s also the assessment of Tim Nelson, chief counsel to Gov.
Gov. Janet Napolitano, who also is a party to the case said he doubts that negotiations would do any good.
“I think if there were any realistic chance that it would be successful, we’d of course like to, just because we want to ge this thing resolved,’’ he said.
“But historically it’s been very difficult to achieve any kind of settlement where you’ve got 90 different legislators who have to vote on it,’’ he continued. “That just doesn’t make for a productive mediation usually.’’