Arizona Department of Education sued over vouchers

The Goldwater Institute today sued the Arizona Department of Education, alleging it mishandled the state’s school voucher program in a way that breaks state law, Arizona Capitol Times reported.

The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of several families, alleges the department engaged in illegal rulemaking when it developed its Empowerment Scholarship Account handbook and has no authority to demand that parents repay voucher funds the department determines have been misspent. 

Goldwater Institute attorney Timothy Sandefur said Goldwater has no problem with the department developing a handbook, provided it follows the state’s rulemaking process. Without doing so, the department has no authority to enforce any provisions in the handbook, he said. 

“I think it would be an excellent outcome if the department said ‘We’re going to follow the rulemaking process that the law requires and allow public input and discussion and so forth before we impose these rules on people,” Sandefur told Cap Times. Goldwater filed the lawsuit on behalf of four Maricopa County parents — Maisha Byrd, Chauncey Hallford, Kayla Svedin and Prisca Walton — who have children with special needs who participate in the voucher program.

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