JOINT NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Legislature passes special session bill for disabled, foster children
Creates stability for hundreds of vulnerable students, saves state money
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX (May 27, 2009) – The Legislature today passed a bill allowing hundreds of our state’s most vulnerable students to avoid disruption and remain in schools that meet their unique educational needs.
The legislation passed along party lines in special session creates a tuition tax credit scholarship program for children in foster care or students with disabilities. Capped at 90 percent of state aid, it saves the state money.
According to Rep. John McComish (R-Ahwatukee), “I believe this bill hinges on two issues – providing a service to the children so they can attend school in the following year; and saving the state of Arizona money during this historic budget deficit.”
“The winners here are the hundreds of these special kids who will be able to remain in schools where they have found stability, some for the first time in their lives,” said Sen. Thayer Verschoor (R-Gilbert), sponsor of the Senate’s bill. “Taxpayers also win because it costs the state less money for these scholarships to private schools that will provide an education that could change these children’s lives forever.”
The bill was an extremely partisan issue and didn’t pass with the sought after emergency measure. Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) said, “This measure was a pro-education bill that helps the most vulnerable among us – disabled kids and kids in foster care.”
This legislation addresses current and eligible students in the voucher program signed by Gov. Napolitano in 2006 but deemed unconstitutional in March 2009 by the Arizona Supreme Court.
House Bill 2001 will go into effect 90 days after the close of special session. This will allow students to avoid being yanked from their current schools to go back to the public schools that do not meet their educational needs and would cost the state more money.
For more information, contact:
Becky Blackburn, Communications
Arizona House of Representatives
Office: (602) 926-3233
Laura Devany, Communications Advisor
Arizona Senate Republican Caucus
Office: (602) 926-3972