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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs private school voucher expansion bill, now largest in U.S.

Arizona Capitol Times

As expected, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill that will significantly expand the state’s private school voucher system.

The expansion will allow every parent in Arizona to take public money now sent to the K-12 public school system and use it to pay for their children's private school tuition or other education costs.

It's estimated that over 1 million Arizona students would qualify. Only about 12,000 students currently receive vouchers. House Bill 2853 makes all K-12 students eligible to receive the funds.

In a statement released today, Gov. Ducey said families would receive more than $6,500 per year per child for private school, homeschooling, micro schools, tutoring and other educational services. He also said, under the bill, the so-called Empowerment Scholarship Account program will improve access and create a more user-friendly school choice process for parents.

Arizona voters overwhelmingly rejected the expansion in the 2018 election, but the Republican-controlled legislature pushed it ahead anyway. It's now the largest school voucher program in the U.S.

The Executive Director for the advocacy group Save Our Schools Arizona says the group will immediately file to refer the law to the ballot under a provision of the state Constitution allowing opponents of new laws to collect enough voter signatures to block it until the next general election.