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January 26, 2023
Republican governor of Arizona Doug Ducey signed a new bill this week that, if made effective, would make Arizona’s private school voucher program the most comprehensive in the nation.
The bill, HB 2853, would allow Arizona families to opt to take up to $7,000 in funds that would typically go to the public school system, and use the money to send their children to private schools of their choice. Approximately 60,000 private school students and 38,000 homeschooled children would be eligible for the vouchers, as well as all 1.1 million students in district or charter schools.
“This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools. Today, we’re unlocking a whole new world of opportunity for them and their parents,” said Ducey. “With this legislation, Arizona cements itself as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them. Every family in Arizona should have access to a high-quality education with dedicated teachers. This is truly a win for all K-12 students.”
The expansion of the Arizona school voucher program, which until now has only been available to one third of students in the state and utilized by only 12,000, is widely opposed by voters. The measure was put on the 2018 ballot and voters rejected the idea of a universal school choice program 2-1. Some lawmakers went ahead with the program regardless of the voter’s wishes.
It is possible that the question of whether the law should be barred from taking effect could appear on the midterm ballot if an advocacy group, Save Our Schools, can collect enough signatures to turn in to the Arizona Secretary of State by fall (119,000 signatures minimum, or 5 percent of voters).
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WASHINGTON EXAMINER