Basis v. Horne (Charter school autonomy case)

Posted on June 22, 2007 | Type: Case
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Case background:

On June 22, 2007 the Goldwater Institute filed suit against the Arizona Department of Education on behalf of five charter schools. The Goldwater Institute's Scharf-Norton Center for Constititutional Litigation planned to represent BASIS Tucson, BASIS Scottsdale, and the Great Hearts Academies: Veritas Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, Chandler Preparatory Academy and Mesa Preparatory Academy. These schools include four of the ten highest-performing public schools in the state based on AIMS test scores. The Arizona Department of Education wanted these charter schools to conform to state-wide education curriculum which would jeopardize the independence granted to the charter schools by the state legislature.

Basis v. Horne was settled out of court on October 15th, 2007 when the Department of Education agreed to allow the plaintiff schools to continue with their curriculum. The merits of the case were never decided. The question of the Superintendent's authority to impose curriculum alignment remains unresolved. The Goldwater Institute will continue to stand up for parental choice and charter school autonomy.

Settlement Highlights:

  • Settlement preserves the educational freedom and right of the plaintiff charter schools to teach their curriculum.
  • The state will create alternate Social Studies standards based on the plaintiff schools' proven curricula.
  • Settlement allows all charter schools in the state to choose the alternate Social Studies standards.
  • Settlement allows all charter schools to teach subject matter in grades ahead of the state standards.
  • The question of the Superintendent's authority to impose curriculum alignment is unresolved


View press releases below:

The Stakes:

  • The educational freedom and independence of charter school curriculum from the Arizona Department of Education bureaucracy.
  • More educational opportunity for Arizona schoolchildren through charter schools.

Case Timeline:

  • June 22, 2007:  Case filed with Maricopa Superior County Court.
  • August 6, 2007:  Preliminary hearing at Maricopa Superior County Court at 11 am.
  • August 7, 2007:  Judge Miles denies request for injunction on procedural grounds. Merits of case to be decided at a later date.
  • August 22, 2007:  Amended complaint adds the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools as defendant.
  • October 15, 2007:  ADE agrees to settle lawsuit with charter schools.

Case Documents:


Media Coverage:

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