Wielding signs reading “education for all,” about 150 Arizona parents protested new Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs’ decision to scrap a key school choice program in the state, which is the largest of its kind in the nation, the Daily Caller News Foundation reports.
Hobbs’ new executive budget released Jan. 13 directs legislators to roll back Arizona’s school choice program, which gives K-12 students the eligibility to receive taxpayer-funded scholarships if they choose to leave or are already outside of the public education system.
Education for All, a coalition of parents backing the state’s current school choice program ushered in under former Gov. Doug Ducey (R), rallied against Hobbs’ announcement at the state capitol.
“It would rip away essentially thousands of dollars that we as taxpayers already pay into the system, that is for our children already,” Stacey Brown, the rally’s organizer, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Brown continued, further explaining the negative outcomes of Hobbs’ plan:
“It would mean that it would cripple some homeschoolers, it would cripple children who wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise to possibly go to a private school and to receive extra aid in areas that they need aid. It really, really, really, really would hinder Arizona as a whole and the leg up that we have compared to other states to provide and to produce excellent educated children. We truly want education for every child in Arizona, whatever that might be to fit their needs.”
The program makes more than 1.1 million Arizona students in public and charter schools eligible to receive up to $7,000 in order to transfer schools, the DCNF reports.
Hobbs’ plan includes returning to the state’s previous school choice program which only provided taxpayer-funded vouchers to disabled children, students living on American Indian reservations and students attending low-performing public schools, Fox 10 reported.
More than 45,000 students are currently enrolled in the program, according to the Arizona Department of Education.
Save Our Schools Arizona, a Left-wing organization touting public schools, took to Twitter to celebrate Hobbs’ decision to dismantle the program with an official statement.
— Save Our Schools AZ (@arizona_sos) January 13, 2023
“For decades, Arizona’s public schools have gone chronically underfunded by our state leaders,” Save Our Schools Arizona wrote.
“We applaud Hobbs for sweeping universal voucher funds and harmful results-based funding to add $198 million in addition to base-level support. School districts will be able to use these desperately-needed funds to raise teacher pay and provide critical resources and extracurriculars for all 1.1 million Arizona students.”