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More than 30,000 students have applied for empowerment scholarship accounts under Arizona’s newly expanded program, which makes the vouchers available to anyone, regardless of need, in exchange for not attending a public school in the state. The program pays families up to $6,500 per pupil out of general education funds, which public school advocates fear could be a $200 million hit to state school funding.

Arizona parents have flocked to apply for the state’s new universal Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, which let any family apply for state funds to pay for their child’s schooling, regardless of need. Read more»

A supporter signs the Save Our Schools Arizona petition that would stall the expansion of the state’s empowerment scholarship accounts – school vouchers – and put the issue on the 2024 ballot. Petition organizers now say they may have fallen short of their goal.

Officials with Save Our Schools Arizona, who said Friday that they turned in thousands more signatures than needed to force a vote on an expansion of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, conceded this week that they “definitely got the numbers wrong.” Read more»

Beth Lewis, director of Save Our Schools speaks during a news conference on the Arizona Capitol grounds on Sept. 23.

The effort to block school vouchers and let Arizona voters decide the program’s fate in 2024 is likely short of the number of signatures required to refer the new law to the ballot - a stark reversal to Friday's declaration by Save Our Schools Arizona, the group behind the petition drive. Read more»

Beth Lewis, executive director of Save Our Schools Arizona, speaks during a news conference on the Capitol grounds on Sept. 23, 2022, after her group collected 141,714 signatures from voters who want to see the expansion of the state’s school voucher program put to a voter referendum.

Teachers and public school advocates on Friday submitted nearly 142,000 petition signatures to block the new universal school voucher program that was set to go into effect on Friday and let voters decide its fate in 2024. Read more»

A volunteer collects signatures in Phoenix on Wednesday for the Save Our Schools Arizona petition that would stall the expansion of the state's empowerment scholarship accounts - school vouchers - and put the issue on the 2024 ballot.

Save Our Schools Arizona is in the home stretch of its push to collect at least 118,823 signatures to put the scholarship program on the ballot in 2024, delaying implementation of the law, currently scheduled to take effect Saturday. Read more»

Teaching residents like Chelsey Mickelson, 27, receive a stipend, covered tuition costs, a job after the Arizona Teacher Residency program, and a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University.

With schools getting back to full swing, districts across Arizona continue to struggle with a severe shortage of teachers and administrators, but an innovative program to help recruit, prepare, support and retain teachers in elementary, middle and high schools is beginning to pay off. Read more»

After two years in which COVID-19 relief funds helped pay for free meals for all students, school districts find themselves this fall trying to deliver meals with less support and much-higher prices than before, due to inflation.

Officials in school districts across Arizona are scrambling to figure out how to afford meals for students at a time when inflation nationwide is running at the highest level in decades - with even the rising cost of food storage putting the pinch on school districts. Read more»

Raquel Mamani poses with an augmented sign left over from the 2018 campaign to overturn the legislature’s attempt to greatly expand school vouchers. Mamani and other public school advocates are once again trying to force a vote on a school voucher expansion that lawmakers approved earlier this year.

Save Our Schools Arizona is currently attempting to gather 118,823 signatures by Sept. 24 to let voters decide if a law expanding the ESA program to all 1.1 million Arizona students should stand - work they have done before with success they hope to repeat. Read more» 1

Beth Lewis, the executive director of Save Our Schools AZ, and high school teachers Rodrigo Palacios both spoke at a June 15, 2022, press conference opposing an expansion of the state’s school voucher program.

A proposal to let all 1.1 million Arizona students get taxpayer dollars to attend private school cleared a state legislative committee on Wednesday with Republican support, but it won’t have the votes needed to win approval in the full House of Representatives. Read more»

Treasury officials have challenged Arizona’s use of federal funds to support schools that reject mask mandates, but Gov. Doug Ducey defended the spending as 'well within' federal guidelines. In this September 2021 file photo, Justine Spitalny School acceleration specialist Sandra Cobos works with students.

Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday that the state’s use of money to support schools that reject mask mandates is “well within” federal guidelines for the funds, despite a Treasury Department threat to take the money back - but Arizona educators said the governor needs to back down. Read more»

The Arizona House of Representatives wrapped up work Friday on a $12.8 billion budget that dramatically overhauls the state’s income tax code, shields some wealthy Arizonans from paying a voter-approved tax to boost teacher pay and mandates new civics curriculum in public schools while rejecting expansion of the school voucher program. Read more»

Tempe High School’s Sandra Gant helps students find their buses for the first time since October 2020.

Schools across the state reopened Monday, and many were offering in-person instruction for the first time since being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman expressed confidence that things will get back on track for students this year. “But by and large, the majority of our schools across the state will be offering in-person, either starting today, starting next week or by the end of March,” Hoffman said in an interview with KTAR News Monday. Read more»