School Choice

AZ Moves To Expand School Voucher Program

Students at about ten percent of schools would qualify


PHOENIX -- Thousands of students in poorly performing public schools could soon get what amounts to a voucher from the state to go elsewhere -- or even get educated at home -- a move that could remove hundreds of millions of dollars a year from public schools.

State education officials are taking applications through Wednesday for the newly expanded "empowerment scholarship accounts." These essentially provide parents with a bank card, loaded with about $3,500, an amount equal to 90 percent of what the state would otherwise pay the school.

The funds can be used to pay tuition and fees at private or parochial schools. But parents also can buy books to homeschool their children or hire tutors, just so long as the youngster is not enrolled in a public school.