The Opinion The County and Arizona Republic Refuses to Print

Friday, The Arizona Republic ran a story about Maricopa County refusing to fund the printing of a monthly newsletter put out to homeschool families by the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Sandra Dowling.

Here is what the Republic printed:

Maricopa County officials are refusing to print a newsletter from Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Sandra Dowling’s office because of what they call an “inappropriate” opinion column.

The column defends Dowling in the ongoing court drama involving Thomas J. Pappas schools for homeless children and blasts the Board of Supervisors. It was written by Alan Richardson, a former public-information officer for the office. Dowling read it and “thought it was pretty good,” said deputy superintendent Ted Carpenter.

Richardson wrote, “The goal of the Board of Supervisors appears to be to remove Dr. Dowling from office.”

Dowling faces charges including misuse of public money and conflict of interest.

She has relinquished control of the Pappas schools, but is still the county superintendent of schools.

The taxpayer-funded newsletter would cost about $3,500 and was to be sent to fewer than 10,000 households, Carpenter said.

“You can’t publish a newsletter with public money to make a personal case. The law won’t allow it,” said Lisa Graham Keegan, acting director of county communications.

Sonoran Alliance contacted Dr. Dowling to see what all the fuss was about and to request the column. Here is the column and a link to the actual newlsetter (Home Notes) that Maricopa County and the Republic refuses to print:

OPINION – By Alan Richardson

Nearly everyone is aware of the charges brought against Dr. Sandra Dowling, Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools. There have been allegations of misappropriation, theft, fraud, and nearly any such claim as could be thought of by the government.

Many home schooling parents have called and asked about those charges and the status of Dr. Dowling.

Through all of this, Dr. Dowling has repeatedly noted she denies each and every one of the alleged actions. Many of the claims against her have been dismissed by a judge who ruled that the prosecution withheld evidence from the grand jury in a systematic manner. The evidence would have given reasons for the grand jury to believe Sandra Dowling did not commit the crimes alleged against her.

Terry Goddard, the Arizona Attorney General who brought the case against the Superintendent has since withdrawn from the matter because of a conflict of interest.

The goal of the Board of Supervisors appears to be to remove Dr. Dowling from office.

A civil case brought by the County Supervisors against Dr. Dowling has been dropped by the Board. Since then, they have brought a separate civil action against Dr. Dowling that is pending in the courts. The reason for the change in courts appears to be, according to friends of Dr. Dowling, designed to create insurmountable legal fees for her.

Still, Dr. Dowling has maintained her determination to see this to the ultimate vindication of her character. In the meantime, she continues to serve the people of Maricopa County as the Superintendent of Schools, including the parents who home school their children.

With nearly 20 years of service to our children and residents, Dr. Dowling remains committed to the education of our young people.

Of course, this all begs the question whether this has now become a free speech issue – censorship vs. sponsorship. Occassionally, the Board of Supervisors publishes an opinion or advocacy piece of their own via their district newsletters.

Ultimately, this is about who controls the money and how such leverage can be used for or against other elected officials.

Last week, Sonoran Alliance posted the news that the Board quickly passed a resolution requesting Arizona’s Congressional delegation to revoke the exception allowing the county to receive federal funds for Thomas J. Pappas school for the homeless. Look for this political battle to rage on as one side tries to break the other…


  1. I don’t know much about this case but I do start to wonder what these same people will say if she is found guilty on massive charges?

    If she is found innocent or the charges are dropped, then I am all about a witch hunt on the Board of Supervisors and all others involved. But what is she ends up being found guilty by a jury of her peers and after being represented by some very fine legal minds?

    What if she is guilty?

    I guess I just hope people will show some patience for the system and don’t go posting and saying things they will regret later.

  2. Passonate Moderate says

    As a home schooling father I would question why the county would spend money on a newsletter to home school parents in the firstplace. The only contact home schoolers have with the superintendent is registration of our children and only because it is required by state law. Quit the newsletter and reduce my property taxes county supervisors.

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