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Goldwater Institute says school voucher petition fell short on signatures

On Friday, volunteers with Save Our Schools Arizona turned in their petitions, in an effort to refer a universal school voucher bill to the ballot, but questions remain about whether they collected enough signatures to get it done.

Volunteers needed about 119,000 signatures to block a bill that makes every Arizona student eligible for state funds to attend a private or parochial school.

On Friday, Sept. 23, Save Our Schools Executive Director Beth Lewis said they had turned in  141,714 signatures.

In an interview with The Show a few days later, on Sept. 26, she called the voucher program a “giant blow to Arizona’s public education system.”

On that same day, the Goldwater Institute released a statement saying the group fell short at 88,866 signatures.

Lewis responded in an email, saying that because so many petitions were submitted in the final days of collection, their counts were “necessarily estimates.”

There are no official numbers yet as the Secretary of State's Office has just started reviewing the petition sheets.

Matt Beienburg is the director of education policy at the Goldwater Institute, which supports the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program.

The Show spoke with him to learn what the implementation of the voucher program could look like.

Hear Matt Beienburg discuss the voucher program with host Lauren Gilger on The Show

goldwater-institute-vouchers-show-lg-20220927.mp3

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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.