school choice

Arizona Capitol Times

The Legislature's independent budget office estimates that expanding a school voucher program to all Arizona schoolchildren over the next four years could cost more than $24 million.

Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday praised school choice advocates gathered at the Capitol and then defended state funding to private schools that critics say siphons cash from public schools.

A new law signed this week by Gov. Jan Brewer could give an estimated 100,000 children in public schools a check from the state to go to a private or parochial school instead. 

Under that law, any student whose school is rated a D or worse on overall academic performance qualifies for a voucher, good for about $4,000 a year. That covers 183 of 15-hundred schools that have been graded. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said that's not enough to pay tuition at many private schools -- and some families will not be able to take advantage of the program.