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Arizona attorney general sues Scottsdale Unified over 2021 public meetings

Some parents weren't happy about the mask mandates and frustrated they couldn't let the board...
Some parents weren't happy about the mask mandates and frustrated they couldn't let the board know.(Scottsdale Unified School District)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:45 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, is suing the Scottsdale Unified School District and its former president over how they handled the debate over a COVID-19 mask mandate. According to the lawsuit filed Monday, the board and ex-president Jann-Michael Greenburg structured meetings in August 2021, so public comment on the mask mandate was limited. Board members are accused of cutting speakers off during time for comments. Brnovich claims it violates the state’s Open Meeting Law.

The meeting on Aug. 17, 2021, was virtual and at the time Greenburg said there was time for public comment but only for the instructional time model for the 2021-2022 school year. The lawsuit said he’d end any public statement that wasn’t on that topic. “The board repeatedly cut off any speaker whenever Greenburg determined that the topic discussed too far from the 2021-2022 insturctional time model,” violating state law, the lawsuit said. Brnovich says during the Aug. 23, 2021, meeting, the same restrictions were made, violating state law.

The Attorney General’s Office said it received complaints from parents about the restrictions regarding comments and took that to the board in December 2021. SUSD responded and said it was within its right to have those restrictions, according to the lawsuit. Arizona’s Family reached out to Scottsdale Unified for its take on the lawsuit. In a statement, they said that got notice of three complaints that had been filed over a public hearing over instructional time models and a meeting held remotely. SUSD confirmed those meetings happened in August.

“The District responded to the Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law team in December 2021 and has not received any information regarding the complaint until it learned that a lawsuit had been initiated. And SUSD adds, “the District does not comment on pending litigation but maintains that it complied with the Open Meeting Law with respect to the statutorily required hearings and the meetings held in August 2021.”

Editor’s Note: The Scottsdale Unified School District provided Arizona’s Family with an updated statement Tuesday morning.