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Phoenix, Arizona (April 15, 2011) – State and national school choice organizations today called on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to reverse her opposition to legislation that would allow thousands of children from poor and working-class families to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice.
On Tuesday, Brewer vetoed legislation that would have expanded the state’s two scholarship tax credit programs while saving tax dollars and stimulating the economy.
The organizations — including the American Federation for Children, the Alliance for School Choice, the Foundation for Educational Choice, the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and the Education Breakthrough Network — called on Brewer to reach an agreement with state legislators to expand the state’s highly popular Corporate and Individual School Tuition Organization Tax Credit Programs. Brewer vetoed legislation that would have lifted the donation cap on the corporate program and expanded its base of funding. The vetoed legislation would have also benefited Arizona taxpayers by increasing the amount of their tax credit for STO contributions in the individual program.
“We are deeply disappointed that a leader who has consistently championed school choice would now deny scholarships to thousands of children,” said John Schilling, the Chief Operating Officer of the American Federation for Children and a former Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Arizona Department of Education.
The organizations praised Brewer’s decision to sign into law an Education Savings Account bill for children with special needs — but said that her veto of scholarship tax credit program expansion legislation ignores the growing demand for school choice in the state.
“School Tuition Organizations across the state have waiting lists that number thousands of students,” said Schilling. “The futures of children in Arizona require that Governor Brewer reconsider her decision and work with the legislature to continue the positive trajectory of education reform in the state.”
As of this school year, 3,636 children benefit from the Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax Credit Program, and 27,476 children benefit from the Individual School Tuition Organization Tax