Arizona Legislature To Debate Big School Voucher Expansion

Apr 6, 2017

Credit Associated Press

A years long effort to expand school vouchers to all 1.1 million Arizona schoolchildren is coming to come to a head.

Republican House and Senate leaders have scheduled debates Thursday on the planned four-year phase-in.

The proposal from Republican Sen. Debbie Lesko has been stalled for nearly two months as opposition from a handful of GOP lawmakers and all Democrats left the measure short of votes.

Scheduling debate is often but not always a sign that backers believe they have secured the needed votes.

The Legislature's independent budget office estimated in February the proposal could cost at least $24 million because more public school students are likely to take state cash for private schools.

A cap that expires after 2019 limits current voucher enrollment to about 5,500 students.