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Arizona Vouchers May Rise Again
After Voucher Veto, State Ed Chief Says the Governor Could Sign 'Identical' Bill

Arizona Vouchers May Rise Again... (yes, like a Phoenix)

A Choice Media Exclusive

Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona

John Huppenthal, Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction, says an expanded voucher program in his state may materialize after all, despite the recent, high-profile veto of a voucher bill by his boss.

In an exclusive video interview with Choice Media, the state superintendent explains it wasn't the content of the recent voucher bill to which Governor Brewer objected, but rather the timing. According to Huppenthal, the Arizona governor might sign a new voucher bill even if it were "identical" to the previous version. He also called the vetoed bill "a beautiful piece of legislation."

The statement signals a change in tone by the Brewer administration. In her original veto letter, the governor expressed concerns about the substance of the bill, writing, "...we must also ensure that government is not artificially manipulating the market through state budget or tax policy in a manner that would make an otherwise viable option so unattractive that it undermines rational choice in a competitive market."

Jonathan Butcher, Education Director with Arizona's Goldwater Institute, agreed with Huppenthal that it's not too late for the legislature to move on a new school choice bill in the current session. Butcher told Choice Media, "Despite the veto last week, I think lawmakers can revise the bill this session without losing the primary objective — more options for more parents."

Arizona presently has a school choice financing law that applies to special needs students, technically structured as an educational savings account, rather than a traditional voucher. The vetoed bill would have expanded the program to all students at schools graded by the state as 'D' or 'F,' gifted students and children of military families. Those students would have been given the option to enroll at private schools with 90% of the state education funding provided as a reimbursement for tuition or other related expenses.

© 2012 Choice Media

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