The sponsor of a House bill that aims to expand the state's school voucher program has introduced an amendment to now allow students from almost all Arizona schools to enroll in the program.
House Bill 2291 if amended could make about 73 percent of Arizona students eligible for the Arizona Empowerment Accounts program. That's about 880,000 students in Arizona who would be able to use public money for a private education. The bill would make students in schools with large low-income populations eligible for the vouchers. Those schools qualify for extra federal aid.
The House was set to give initial approval to Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko's bill on Monday but delayed the debate.
Opponents say the bill could takes taxpayer money from public schools and gives them to private institutions that cannot be held accountable publicly.
Lesko said the state Department of Education expressed concern with the original bill language which would have expanded the program to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, or to those whose family income is 15 percent above the qualification.