YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona’s new law expanding school vouchers offers a choice for every public student to attend a private school, but the state has faced pushback from public school advocates.
Governor Doug Ducey announced that 1.1 million students in the state will now qualify for the Arizona school voucher expansion program.
About 12,000 Arizona students are currently using one of these vouchers.
Yuma Lutheran, a private school in our area says it currently has over 100 military students or students with special needs enrolled with this voucher.
Principal Angela Schiller
“If they’re used to an environment where maybe they’ve either been in a private school or a small DoDEA school on base somewhere, it’s nice that they can come to a smaller private school and have funding available to help pay for that.”
But not everyone is for this expansion.
Public school advocates are gathering signatures to block the bill from going into effect until the November general election.
Principal Schiller says private schools are still a great option for a student looking for a different environment.
“We can serve other students that may get overlooked in the public schools or class sizes are just too big for them," said Principal Schiller. "It’s an opportunity for them to be able to get into a different school and be able to pay for it if they don’t have the funding to be able to pay for it.”
Yuma Lutheran plans to extend the voucher program to all Yuma students by next school year.
“We would probably offer it to our current families first. Right now, we’re almost at capacity at our school and so we only have a few spots open," said Principal Schiller. "We would definitely be open to more students, especially next year.”
The Arizona Department of Education says if a student makes the switch, they would get money to go to a private school after un-enrolling from their public school.
They would get up to $7,000 to attend a private school with the rest being out of pocket. Which is still too much money for some families.
This latest education reform bill wouldn’t go into effect until September 24th.
For more information about applying for a voucher, click here.