Arizona’s Hobbs, Yee clash over $50M Ducey-era school voucher grant

May 25, 2023, 2:15 PM | Updated: 2:43 pm

(AP Photos)...

(AP Photos)

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s Democratic governor and Republican treasurer are butting heads over the legality of a school voucher grant issued by the state’s former Republican governor.

Gov. Katie Hobbs said Wednesday that her predecessor, Doug Ducey, illegally allocated $50 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to fund all-day kindergarten through the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.

“Illegally giving $50 million to private schools while failing to properly invest in public education is just one egregious example of the previous administration’s blatant disregard for public school students,” Hobbs said in a press release.

Hobbs sent Treasurer Kimberly Yee’s office a letter saying the grant was illegal and invalid because the state only funds half-day kindergarten for public school students.

The first-term governor also said the funding violates state and federal laws and doesn’t meet ARPA requirements because it doesn’t address educational disparities.

Yee responded Thursday by calling the decision “politically driven and belligerent.”

“As has become the norm for this governor, my office first learned of her action through a press release prior to receiving the letter, and we have yet to receive any communication from the governor or her team on this matter more than this letter,” Yee said in a statement.

“Our legal team is currently reviewing the lawfulness of the governor’s move and determining the next steps.”

Hobbs, meanwhile, said her office is evaluating other ways to use the $50 million.

Last summer, Ducey signed a bill to make all Arizona K-12 students eligible for the ESA program, which allows taxpayer dollars to be used for private school tuition and other educational expenses. Opponents say the program lacks oversight and siphons too much money away from public schools.

Democrats were hoping Hobbs would be able negotiate limits on ESA costs in her first budget, but she signed a $17.8 billion spending plan earlier this month that didn’t address the issue.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Experience Fountain Hills)...

Fountain Hills joins dementia-friendly community network

Fountain Hills has joined the Dementia Friendly America program, a national network that seeks to ensure communities are equipped to support people with dementia and their caregivers.

7 hours ago

The number of people driving more than 90 minutes to get to work has dropped in the Valley. (Jim Po...

Jeff Gifford/Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix metro follows national trend as number of ‘super commuters’ declines

The number of people traveling more than 90 minutes to get to work in the Phoenix metro has dropped by 36% since 2019.

7 hours ago

(Facebook File Photo/Glendale Police Department - Arizona)...

Elderly woman kills husband in Glendale amid domestic dispute

Police in Glendale are investigating a murder of an elderly man who was reportedly shot by his wife on Saturday.

1 day ago

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

Biden, GOP reach tentative deal to raise debt ceiling, avoid calamitous US default

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an “agreement in principle” late Saturday as they raced to strike a deal to limit federal spending and resolve the looming debt crisis, the House speaker said.

1 day ago

(ADOT Twitter photo)...

I-17 southbound at Dunlap Road reopens in Phoenix after crash

Arizona Department of Transportation announced Saturday night that the I-17 southbound at Dunlap Road in Phoenix has reopened after a crash..

1 day ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Associated Press

Mother pleads guilty after Arizona boy starves to death

An Arizona mother has pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse charges stemming from the death of her 6-year-old son who had been locked in a closet and denied food.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...

Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Arizona’s Hobbs, Yee clash over $50M Ducey-era school voucher grant