Thursday, June 5, 2014

Arizona Vouchers Upheld

In April, the Arizona Supreme Court in effect approved a state voucher law, the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Act (ESA).
In October, the Arizona mid-level Court of Appeals had upheld the Act.
Plaintiffs appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, but in April, it refused to hear the appeal.
The Arizona Constitution says, “No tax shall be laid for the appropriation of public money made in aid of any private or sectarian school.…” and “No money shall be appropriated or applied to any religious instruction.”
Under the ESA, eligible children get cash to buy lessons at private schools, including religious ones.
To get grants, parents must waive their children’s Arizona constitutional right to a public education.
Parents who home school or otherwise hold down education costs may pay for college with the saved dollars.
In 2012 and 2013, Arizona courts upheld the ESA, because the tax-raised funds traveled through parents’ hands before it got to religious schools.
The Court of Appeals stressed that parents could spend the money on a variety of educational activities. 
The case is Niehaus v. Huppenthal.

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