FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2023
PHOENIX – House Democratic Leaders released the following statement today after Governor Katie Hobbs' staff shared an analysis of Arizona's Education Savings Account program for private school vouchers, which has ballooned past its projected costs when Republicans passed it in 2022. Memo is attached.
"This analysis confirms our worst fears: The unlimited voucher program is out of control and unsustainable," said Democratic Whip Nancy Gutierrez, a longtime public-school teacher. "There's no limit on how much can be spent, and it is on pace to cost nearly $1 billion when its original price tag was $33 million. That will put our budget shortfall at $320 million next year."
Gutierrez added, "Also, Superintendent Horne and voucher advocates are wrong when they say vouchers will save the state money. The majority of recipients had not attended a public school before receiving a subsidy for private school or homeschooling so that's a new cost. And those who did switch are funded at the charter school funding level, which is higher than our per-student investment in district public schools so no savings there, either. This program has no academic standards, no transparency, no accountability, no oversight, and it's driving our state budget into a ditch. There are no easy answers on the horizon, but our Republican colleagues who approved this program must come to the table to help keep it under control before it puts every other priority in the state budget at risk."