ARIZONA NEWS

Ducey’s voucher program if Arizona schools close classrooms is now open

Jan 14, 2022, 2:22 PM
(Roman Hanc/TASR via AP, File)...
(Roman Hanc/TASR via AP, File)
(Roman Hanc/TASR via AP, File)

PHOENIX – The portal for qualifying Arizona families to sign up for vouchers if their schools pause in-person learning is now open, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Friday.

The Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program, which Ducey unveiled last week, offers up to $7,000 for private school tuition and other expenses that might be incurred because of a campus closure.

Child care, school-coordinated transportation and online tutoring are also covered. Details about how to apply and eligibility requirements are available online.

“We know parents are best equipped to make decisions around their child’s education — they’re the ones in the driver’s seat,” Ducey said in a press release.

“With the launch of the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program, parents in Arizona will have the financial flexibility to ensure their child has access to in-person instruction without disruption if their school shuts down for even one day.”

Ducey allocated $10 million of federal COVID relief funds for the program. Families with household incomes at or below 350% of the federal poverty level –$92,750 for a family of four – can apply.

Applicants with the highest financial need will receive priority, according to the release.

The U.S. Treasury Department has threatened to recoup COVID relief funds distributed to Arizona, and withhold future funding, because of two other state policies that might discourage families and school districts from following federal guidance recommending face coverings.

Arizona has already received about half of the $4.2 billion awarded to the state under the 2021 coronavirus relief bill.

The program that launched Friday is structured similarly to Arizona’s Educational Recovery Benefit Program, which offers families up to $7,000 if a child’s school requires face coverings or quarantines after exposure.

As of last week, only 85 students were getting the vouchers from that program and under $600,000 of the $10 million had been allocated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Ducey’s voucher program if Arizona schools close classrooms is now open