Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake blasted her Democrat opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, for taking a week to reject a referendum to stop Arizona’s universal Empowerment Scholarship Account law from going into effect, despite evidence already showing the motion failed.
“It is shameful that Katie Hobbs aligned herself with the radical unions’ effort to permanently trap Arizona’s kids in failing schools, then hung Arizona’s parents out to dry for a week by suspending the school choice program despite overwhelming evidence the referendum failed to get enough signatures,” Lake said in a statement to the Arizona Sun Times. “Katie Hobbs is on the side of corrupt, bloated school bureaucracies, but I will never stop fighting to give Arizona’s parents more choice in their children’s schools and more control over their children’s education.”
Arizona’s historic legislation expanding school choice to every child in the state appears likely to be placed on hold right now, as a ballot measure aimed at stopping the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) expansion will probably make the 2024 ballot. Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) said its signature collectors turned in 141,714 signatures for “Stop Voucher Expansion” to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office on Friday. Only 118,823 valid signatures were required by Sept. 24, leaving plenty of room for error with bad signatures.
Jenny Clark, the founder of Arizona-based Love Your School and a new appointee to the Arizona State Board of Education whose children participate in the ESAs, told The Arizona Sun Times, “Today 11,000 Arizona students had the opportunity of an ESA put on hold. Every day that a child struggles in a school that’s not working for them is detrimental. But this is far from over. We will be monitoring the signature verification process, and continuing to walk alongside Arizona families and their children.”
The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute (GI) made a request to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) Wednesday, asking it to take action against a school board event that would use taxpayer dollars to oppose school choice.
“Arizonans should be appalled to learn that school districts are using taxpayer resources to have district employees participate in an event clearly geared toward a political objective,” said GI Senor Attorney Scott Day Freeman. “All Arizona families should be free to make educational choices for their children without having the government work against them by rigidly defending a status quo that protects bureaucrats and government unions.”
Jenny Clark, the founder of Love Your School, spoke with the Arizona Sun Times to explain the newly signed House Bill (HB) 2853, sponsored by state Rep. Ben Toma (R-AZ-22), which expands the eligibility for Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) and how it will benefit parents in the state.
“The expansion means that every Arizona family who has a child in kindergarten through 12th grade is now eligible to take a portion of their education dollars to the school or education environment that works for them,” Clark said. “The empowerment scholarship can be used for tutors, therapists, home education, and it can be used for private schools.”