Often CAP-supported legislation focuses on solving problems. That is the case with two bills designed to treat private schools fairly, based on real problems encountered by two private schools in Tucson.
The two bills, HB 2460 School Sale Equity and HB 2461 School Zoning Equity have passed the House, the Senate Education Committee, and now await Senate floor consideration.
HB 2460 School Sale Equity gives private and charter schools a better chance at purchasing or leasing vacant property that school districts have placed on the market.
In 2008, Desert Christian School in Tucson was looking for property on which to build an elementary school. As they searched for property, the local school district closed down a nearby elementary school and sought to sell it. Desert Christian repeatedly approached the district for a year and a half trying to purchase the school for two million dollars. The district would not even discuss the possibility. The school remained closed for another year until the district eventually sold it to a developer for 1.6 million dollars. Taxpayers missed out on $400,000 that could have been reinvested into the district, and Desert Christian was forced to look for other property.
To solve this problem, HB 2460 makes sure that districts do not prohibit a private or charter school from negotiating to buy or lease property, and ensures that districts do not withdraw property from sale or lease solely because a private or charter school happens to be the highest bidder.
The problem that HB 2461 addresses is that current law in Arizona allows counties and municipalities to impose more onerous zoning requirements on private schools that do not apply to other types of schools, thereby making it more difficult to open and operate private schools. For example, the City of Tucson requires private schools in residential zones to have at least five acres in order to operate, while charter schools only need one acre. HB 2461 addresses this problem by prohibiting these types of requirements that only apply to private schools.
Both bills highlight CAP’s advocacy work at the Capitol. When private schools, churches, or ministries have a problem that can be solved by legislation, we endeavor to be on the front lines advocating for those allies to seek the right solutions.
Unfortunately, those who oppose school choice proposals that empower parents to choose the educational choice best meeting their children’s needs also oppose these bills intended to treat private schools fairly. One would think these bills would be viewed as common-sense solutions worthy of broad support. Comments made by those opposing these bills, however, stop just short of openly opposing because the bills treat private, religious, schools fairly. That’s how things go at the State Capitol these days.
ICYMI – Latest News & Articles of Interest
- Next Week: “Is God Anti-Gay?” a conference with Sam Allberry: Friday, March 16, in conjunction with The Gospel Coalition. 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for pastors and church leaders. 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. for the general public. For more information and registration click here.
- 2018 CAP Family Dinner: Saturday, April 21, with Eric Metaxas, John Stonestreet and special guests Jack Phillips and Kristen Waggoner from Masterpiece Cakeshop. Tickets are open to the public on March 15. For more information click here.
- Albert Mohler discusses “Why America’s double-mindedness is glaringly apparent at the intersection of Down syndrome and abortion” on The Briefing.
- “Sex Change: Physically Impossible, Psychosocially Unhelpful, and Philosophically Misguided” by Ryan T. Anderson.
- Keep up-to-date on CAP-supported bills on CAP’s bill tracker.