Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers voted this afternoon to create a new tax credit
to help some students to go to private and parochial schools.
The move follows a decision earlier this year by the Arizona
Supreme Court which concluded it is unconstitutional for the
state to directly pay the tuition and fees of about 400 special
needs students who want to go somewhere other than public
schools. This measure gets around the legal problem by allowing
corporations to divert money they would otherwise pay in taxes to
organizations to pay the students' fees. Rep. John Kavanagh said
the program makes sense because lost tax revenues are less than
the cost of sending that same child to public schools. But that's
(Second, it gives parents and students choice, which is always a
good thing. And thirdly, it injects healthy competition into an
educational system that should always be striving to do better.)
But Rep. Eric Meyer faulted proponents for diverting tax dollars
to help only about 400 youngsters go to private schools.
(This bill is yet another nail in the coffin of public education.
This session we voted for the largest cut in the history of the
state, the funding of our public schools. Two weeks ago we swept
our schools' funds in the proposal that was presented in
Appropriations. We're talking about hundreds of millions of
dollars in cuts to education.)
Gov. Jan Brewer has already said she will sign the measure.