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Arizona budget doesn’t do enough to fix school vouchers, advocate says

Marisol Garcia
Marisol Garcia
Marisol Garcia

The head of the Arizona Education Association said she has mixed feelings about how school vouchers were handled in the state budget.

The school voucher program allows any family to take public funds and use them to put their student in private or home school.

Marisol Garcia has long said vouchers steal critical revenue from public schools. She said the new budget reduced the pain a bit, but it’s not enough.

“There were some restrictions and accountability put on some of the voucher ESA programs, unfortunately, they were small baby steps when we actually need to have a larger discussion on how to deal with this out of control program," Garcia said.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs got some concessions from Republicans, including a change that will save $2.5 million in voucher costs. The budget also requires fingerprinting for teachers at private schools receiving voucher money.

The Grand Canyon Institute estimated the program is responsible for $761 million in added costs over the next two years, over half of the projected budget deficit.

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