Arizona Governor Wants Taxpayer Dollars to Go to Out-of-State Private Schools

June 18, 2019 AT 7:34 AM

By Rob O'Dell and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

Gov. Doug Ducey signaled he will push next year to allow Arizona taxpayer dollars to be used at out-of-state private schools, beginning with students on Indian reservations — indicating the state's Republican establishment will continue to pursue its years-long effort to expand the controversial school-voucher program.

Ducey made the announcement in his signing statement for House Bill 2758, a bipartisan compromise that prevented seven families who live on the Navajo Reservation from being required to repay school voucher funds they spent at a private Christian school in New Mexico.

Arizona law prohibits use of the funds out of state, but the bill makes an exception until July 1, 2020, for any student currently using an Empowerment Scholarship Account voucher at an out-of-state private school within 2 miles of the state border.

While HB 2758 was sold as a bipartisan fix for a narrow problem involving the seven students on the Navajo Reservation, rhetoric at the Capitol surrounding the issue and the aftermath of its passage has redrawn for next year's legislative session battle lines between pro-voucher advocates and critics of the program.

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