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Arizona groups speak out on federal school voucher program proposal

Posted at 5:37 AM, May 22, 2017

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is expected to announce a federal school voucher program Monday.

The president was looking closely at Arizona's own school voucher program. It's called the Empowerment Scholarship Account.

It lets any Arizona student use tax payer funds to pay for private school tuition or other education expenses.

That could be what Secretary DeVos unveils Monday. But sources say it'll most likely be a federal version of Arizona state's tax incentive. 

Arizona was the first state to offer people tax breaks in exchange for donations to private school scholarships, and the government may do the same.

The American Federation for Children officials say this is great because it'll give more choices to parents. Kim Martinez from the AFC says, "They need to have these options. From year to year kids learn differently. One year they may be doing fabulous in their public school. The next year they may need something different like a charter school."

But that could come at the cost of our public schools. The Arizona School Board Association says public money shouldn't go to private schools. Chris Kotterman says, "Parents are free to make the choice to educate their students outside the public school system. That's completely fine with us. But our position is that you should not use public money to accomplish that goal."

Secretary DeVos is expected to unveil the plan in the evening at an event in Indiana.