The Arizona Legislature recently passed HB2853 Universal ESA Voucher Expansion with utter contempt for voters’ overwhelming rejection of voucher expansion just four years ago. The Arizona Constitution still gives citizens the right to repeal this bill by referendum and we’ll do it again. Then, we must get off this merry-go-round of with the radical Republican legislature by electing a Democratic governor with a veto pen and our slate of Democratic legislative nominees.
This version of voucher expansion goes even further than the 2018 bill by extending voucher availability to parents of students who are already attending private schools or being home-schooled. These students are not escaping underperforming private schools as the GOP propaganda would lead you to believe. HB2853 gives their parents $7000 on a debit card to use however the parents choose.
Here’s the catch: $7000 doesn’t come close to covering the cost of high-quality private schooling. And private schools aren’t available in rural areas. So, most students will remain in public schools — schools whose funding is drained by this outrageous legislative action. Meanwhile, rich parents who are already comfortably paying private school tuition get $7000 from Arizona taxpayers.
There’s more about this awful bill:
Attacks on Traditional American Public Schools
- Universal voucher expansion will siphon $1 Billion a year or more from community public schools to unaccountable private academies, microschools, and home schools.
- Expanding vouchers universally means massive cuts to public education, creating a tiered system of haves and have-nots.
- Losing $1 billion per year will destroy our public education system as we know it. That’s the intention of these radicals whose interests favor an undereducated population not able to participate intelligently in a democracy.
Misuse of Taxpayer Funds
- Vouchers are an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds with little to no accountability or transparency. Private schools don’t have to show their finances no matter how much public funding they receive.
- Private schools and home schools never have to demonstrate academic achievement.
- Funding multiple school systems is massively inefficient and wasteful.
- The vast majority of voucher funding will be an entitlement for wealthy families who are already enrolled in private academies.
Bad for Business
- Major business groups in Arizona have opposed universal voucher expansion. Our business leaders know that we need strong public schools.
- A $1 Billion annual loss for our schools cripples our future workforce and future economy.
- Private schools can reject students on the basis of gender, religion, and sexual orientation. The origin of vouchers is the Jim Crow South in response to the federal government enforcing school integration.
- Special education students lose their IDEA disability rights when accepting vouchers.
Save Our Schools must collect 118,823 signatures by September 25, 2022, to stop universal vouchers from going into effect. Then, the bill will be referred to Arizona voters who can accept or reject HB 2853.
Stop by our office to sign a petition or pick one up to circulate. (We expect to have petitions in quantify by Thursday, July 14.)