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Arizona charter schools oppose more state regulation

PHOENIX -- Arizona charter school officials said they don't want the state to impose more regulations on how the mostly privately operated schools buy goods and services with taxpayer dollars.

The state board said no changes are in the works.

The State Board for Charter Schools held a study session with charter school officials Wednesday in response to an investigation by the Arizona Republic that found that board members and administrators of some charters did business with their own schools.

Some transactions were purchases of textbooks, repairs and transportation services from companies of board members or administrators, while other transactions were facility leases and land purchases from companies owned by board members.

The state board has provided most charter schools with exemptions from state purchasing laws.

School officials told the state board that more regulations would impose burdens on the schools and that policies in place are reasonable, the Republic reported.

"We're trying to fix something that is already fixed," said Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, a Gilbert Republican who is president of the for-profit Benjamin Franklin Charter School.

No board members suggested policy changes.

"We'll continue to operate as we have," said DeAnna Rowe, the board's executive director, after the meeting attended by about two dozen people.

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