School Voucher Foes Gather Signatures To Block New Law

Aug 8, 2017

erri Barkley (left) and Rochelle Kiggins sign a petition challenging the expansion of Arizona's school-voucher program on Aug. 1, 2017.
Credit Sam Caravana/The Arizona Republic)

A group opposed to a major private school voucher expansion bill signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says it has collected enough signatures to block the law if the validation rate holds.

Save Our Schools spokeswoman Dawn Penich-Thacker said Monday the group has collected more than 100,000 voter signatures. That's about 25 percent more than required and should be enough to prevent the law from taking effect on Wednesday.

The expansion will be blocked until the November 2018 election if state officials validate the signatures.

Arizona's voucher program was launched in 2011. About a third of all 1.2 million students are now eligible, but only about 3,500 students now use it to pay for private school tuition.

The new law expands eligibility to all students by 2022 but caps enrollment at about 30,000.

Supporters say vouchers give parents more choice. Opponents argue they siphon money from public schools.