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EXPOSED: AZ School Districts Use Tax Dollars to Oppose School Choice

September 1, 2022

Arizona school districts are poised to violate state law next week when they use taxpayer dollars to send representatives to a politically motivated meeting where attendees will be encouraged to help overturn Arizona’s new universal school reform. This week, the Goldwater Institute asked the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to investigate this illegal behavior and put a stop to it.

Arizona law clearly prohibits school districts from using district money or resources, such as personnel, to influence the outcomes of elections—including ballot initiatives and efforts to place measures on the ballot. Nevertheless, public school district employees will be attending the Arizona School Boards Association’s (ASBA) “Law Conference” to be held September 7-9. The meeting will include programming put on by “Friends of the ASBA,” a group that unabashedly opposes school choice and will be working at the conference to gather signatures on a petition to overturn the universal school choice reform via ballot referendum.

Earlier this year, the Goldwater Institute worked to expand eligibility for the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program—a groundbreaking approach to school choice that the Goldwater Institute created more than a decade ago—to every family in the state. This first-in-the-nation reform will empower all families to customize their child’s education experience to best meet their needs. But entrenched government special interests who feel threatened by parental empowerment and choice want to use taxpayer dollars to stop universal ESAs from becoming a reality—in violation of state law.

Arizonans should be appalled to learn that school districts are using taxpayer resources to have district employees participate in an event clearly geared toward a political objective. That’s why the Goldwater Institute is taking action to expose this illegal activity and request that the Attorney General’s Office enforce the law.

All Arizona families should be free to make educational choices for their children without having the government work against them by rigidly defending a status quo that protects bureaucrats and government unions. And entrenched governmental interests in education should certainly not be permitted  to use hard-earned taxpayer dollars to maintain this status quo and deprive parents of educational freedom.

You can read the Goldwater Institute’s letter to the Attorney General’s Office here.

Scott Day Freeman is a Senior Attorney at the Goldwater Institute.



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