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Volunteers turn in signatures in effort to block AZ school voucher expansion bill

Volunteers with Save Our Schools Arizona gathered at the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday. They turned in 141,714 signatures in  an effort to refer a school voucher expansion bill to the ballot.

House Bill 2853 makes any Arizona student eligible to get state funds to attend a private or parochial school. 

Goldwater Institute says school voucher petition fell short on signatures

Volunteers needed to gather about 119,000 signatures from Arizona voters by Sept. 24 to be successful. Save Our Schools Arizona Director Beth Lewis said the voters who signed their petition come from all 15 Arizona counties.

“Today is an incredible victory for all 1 million Arizona children, whose families have chosen their local public district and charter schools," Lewis said.

The petitions will be carefully scrutinized to make sure there are enough valid signatures to refer the bill to the ballot, allowing Arizonans to vote on it in 2024.

Hear Beth Lewis discuss the petitions with host Lauren Gilger on The Show

save-our-schools-signatures-show-lg-20220926.mp3

"The people of Arizona will now have the opportunity to reject private school voucher expansion once and for all thanks to the tireless dedication of thousands of volunteers statewide," Lewis said. 

This is not the first time Save Our Schools has led a citizens’ referendum. The group formed in 2017 specifically to refer another voucher expansion bill to the ballot.

The last referendum was a success — voters rejected voucher expansion 2-1.That bill would have made up to 30,000 Arizona students eligible for vouchers.

With this latest bill, all 1.1 million students would have access to vouchers.

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Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.