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

(Pexels Photo, File)...

Pedestrian crossing Glendale street on red light dies after getting hit by vehicle

A pedestrian died Tuesday morning after she was hit by a vehicle in Glendale while crossing a street on a red light.

10 hours ago

Police are asking the public for help identifying a nonverbal boy found walking without shoes in Gl...

Police seek information about nonverbal child found in Glendale

Authorities are asking the public for help identifying a nonverbal child found walking without shoes in Glendale on Tuesday morning.

10 hours ago

Photo of tech workers to illustrate story on metro Phoenix adding more than 98,000 jobs last year....

Jim Cross

New report shows strength of diversified metro Phoenix workforce

Metro Phoenix added more than 98,000 jobs last year and now has 130,000 more jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

10 hours ago

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...

Southbound I-17 in Phoenix reopens following serious crash

Part of the Interstate 17 freeway in Phoenix was closed Tuesday morning for hours due to a serious crash.

10 hours ago

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...

Brandon King

Arizona copper mine construction delayed, as activists work to find solution

Earlier this month, the federal government put a pause on the building of the planned Resolution Copper mine, the latest in a decade-long series of delays.

10 hours ago

Jorrell Yazzie (Chandler Police Department)...

Brandon Gray

Mesa man arrested after fatal crash in Chandler

A Mesa man has been arrested following a fatal three-vehicle crash in Chandler Monday morning, authorities said. 

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]



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.

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