Schools, Legislature agree to mediation on inflation funding

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Lawyers for Arizona school districts and the state Legislature have agreed to participate in court-mediated talks aimed at resolving a dispute over inflation funding for schools.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker David Gowan says the parties in the case voluntarily agreed to participate in the talks that will be mediated by a panel of three Court of Appeals judges.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that Gowan spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham declined to elaborate because the negotiations will be confidential.

A judge has ordered that schools be paid $331 million this year to make up for inflation boosts lawmakers did not provide during the Great Recession. The increases would continue each year.

The state is appealing that ruling.

The judge also is considering ordering up to $1.3 billion in back payments.

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