By The Associated Press

Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that will allow students to pay for a private education using public funds.

The Arizona Republic reports more children are now eligible for a state program where parents of disabled students can receive a debit card to pay for educational expenses, including private-school tuition.

The legislation, which Brewer enacted Monday, extends the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to children attending schools that have received a poor grade from the state.

Supporters say the statute will give students more education choices. Critics say the legislation essentially creates a school voucher system, leaving public schools with few resources. More than 30,000 students currently participate in all four of Arizona's private school choice programs.

Families will be able to apply for the expanded accounts this fall.