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Voucher Amounts To Increase For Kids Going To Private, Parochial Schools

Arizona taxpayers are going to shell out more money to help parents send their kids to private and parochial schools than they would to keep them in traditional public schools.

The voucher system was promoted in part as a way to save the state money. The vouchers were equal to 90 percent of what the state was paying to send children to public schools.

However, state schools Superintendent John Huppenthal is changing state policy to make the amount students switching from either charter or public schools get the same. For public school students who switch to private or parochial schools, that figure is $1,000 more than state aid to public schools.

Department of Education lobbyist Chris Kotterman says Huppenthal can make the change, even without legislative authorization.

“The language that we have, they also didn't change it to say, absolutely not,” Kotterman said. “You're not doing that. What we have is this poorly worded, fairly ambiguous statute that we're left with, the same as we were before this whole mess began.”

Hoopenthal has decided to use the more expensive funding method. The Arizona Education Association, which represents teachers in the state, is considering a lawsuit.