By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror
Administration and oversight of a controversial school voucher program could soon be stripped from the Arizona Department of Education and transferred to the state Treasurer’s Office, in part because the new Republican state treasurer supports the program and the new Democratic superintendent of public instruction is a critic.
The proposal by Sen. David Livingston, R-Peoria, comes as a Democrat takes the helm of the Department of Education for the first time in more than 20 years. Newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman is not a fan of the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, and was a vocal opponent of a proposal to dramatically expand the program that voters rejected in November. The ESA program provides voucher-style funding to parents who pull their children from public schools.
Senate Bill 1320 would transfer oversight of the ESA program to the Treasurer’s Office. Livingston said the Department of Education has had problems in administering the program, and that it has had a lot of turnover among staff who oversee ESAs. He said he believes the Treasurer’s Office would do a better job.