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

Phoenix patrol vehicle with caution tape nearby....

Teenager arrested in connection with fatal triple-shooting in west Phoenix

A teenage boy was arrested Thursday for a triple-shooting in Phoenix that left one person dead a day earlier.

7 minutes ago

Azteca Bridal, a Phoenix wedding and quinceañera dress store, closed after 60 years....

Alyssa Bickle /Cronkite News

Azteca Bridal closes doors in Phoenix after 60 years of family-operated business

Azteca Bridal closed its doors for the last time after selling quinceañera and bridal dresses for 60 years.

20 minutes ago

Left webcam shows part of Valley with sign warning drivers to slow down. Right webcam shows snow on...

SuElen Rivera

Nearly every Valley city gets rains in overnight storm, parts of northern Arizona sees snow

Rain swept across metro Phoenix overnight and into the morning, while snow fell on parts of northern Arizona.

2 hours ago

Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and Arizona resident and the first woman on the U.S. Supreme C...

Sandra Day O’Connor, who blazed a trail from Arizona to US Supreme Court, dies at 93

Sandra Day O'Connor, who blazed a trail from Arizona to become the first woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, died Friday in Phoenix.

3 hours ago

Mugshot of Pedro Quintana-Lujan. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office will no longer pursue a case...

Goodyear Police questions MCAO decision on driver who crashed into bicyclists

The Goodyear Police Department is questioning the decision by metro Phoenix's top prosecutor on a case involving a driver who crashed into group of bicyclists earlier this year.

3 hours ago

A judge rejected Kari Lake’s request to examine ballot envelopes of 1.3 million voters, giving th...

Associated Press

Kari Lake loses bid to see ballot envelopes in trial tied to Arizona election defeat

A judge rejected Kari Lake’s request to examine signed ballot envelopes of 1.3 million early voters from Arizona's 2022 election.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

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