School-voucher expansion qualifies for the ballot, but court fight looms

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Rob O’Dell | The Republic

A coalition of parents and public-education advocates gathered enough signatures to let voters decide whether Arizona moves forward with or rejects a massive expansion of the state’s school-voucher program.

Save Our Schools Arizona needed 75,321 valid signatures to refer the measure to the November 2018 ballot. State and county election officials have been poring over the more than 100,000 signatures turned in weeks ago by the largely volunteer group.

On Tuesday, Maricopa County certified its batch of signatures and concluded the group had a success rate of nearly 87 percent. Even though three other counties still need to report their numbers, the referendum effort was successful, said Eric Spencer, the state elections director.

“Absent what happens in court, it is guaranteed to make the ballot,” Spencer told The Arizona Republic. “At this point, I see an 87 percent statewide verification rate, and it only needed to get 70 percent in order to make the ballot … It’s a mathematical guarantee it will make the ballot, absent what happens in court.”

The referendum will be known as Proposition 305.

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