Maricopa GOP resolution targets Republican lawmakers over voucher vote

Arizona House of Representatives/Jeremy Duda/Twitter

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Members of the Maricopa County Republican Party are moving to censure three GOP lawmakers for their vote against a massive expansion of Arizona’s voucher-style program for K-12 education.

A resolution introduced by former Senate President Russell Pearce states that the Maricopa County GOP “opposes Republicans who campaign as conservatives while voting against school choice and against the best interests of students and parents.” Specifically, the resolution rebukes Reps. Joel John, Joanne Osborne and Michelle Udall, whose opposition doomed a budget amendment that would have substantially expanded the Empowerment Scholarship Account school voucher program near the end of the 2021 legislative session.

The ESA program provides parents who pull their children from public schools with 90% of the funds the school would have received for them. Parents can use that money for private school tuition, tutors, learning materials or other educational purposes. The program is currently open to children with special needs, foster children, children on tribal reservations, children in failing schools, children of active-duty members of the military and children whose siblings are part of the program. 

GOP lawmakers proposed an amendment to the K-12 education budget bill in June that would have expanded the program to include all children who receive free or reduced-price lunches, and all children of veterans of the U.S. armed forces, while eliminating other restrictions, such as reducing the amount of time a student must attend a public school before qualifying for an ESA.

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