Journalists’ Roundtable: Governor concerned about universal school vouchers

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another Journalists’ Roundtable. Joining us for a look at the week’s top stories: Camryn Sanchez of Arizona Capitol Times, Ray Stern of The Arizona Republic and azcentral and Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

Top stories this week include:

  • School voucher estimated costs
  • Mayes warns voucher recipients
  • Head of voucher program resigns
  • Prop-400 future
  • Finchem wants back in legislature
  • Dems vs. GOP in fundraising
  • Hobbs second least liked governor in U.S.

School voucher estimated costs

Howie Fischer: “This is growing like topsy here. Everybody has an idea of what this is going to cost. This is all because of the fact that having created universal vouchers, we’re not only making the vouchers available to all public school students who are already there, which is a bit of an additional cost, but we’re making it available to… we don’t know how many thousands of students who are already in parochial schools being paid for by their parents. And now they get $7,200 and change on average for their vouchers.”

The latest estimated cost of school vouchers is $943 million. While the legislature adopted a budget that was $5 to $6 million, the Governor estimated a number higher than that, which was closer to Tom Horne’s numbers. This results in close to a $320 million shortfall.

Ray Stern: “That would be a problem if that happened. Obviously, they’re going to have to find a place to take that money from. But there’s some doubt about whether it’s going to really reach that high this year. Basically, the school year is about to start, and the numbers are about 62,000 right now. But they’ve only been going up by say a couple thousand per week over the last few weeks. So if you project out, there’s going to have to be some big spurt that’s going to have to take us a long way down that road toward 100,000.”

Camryn Sanchez, Arizona Capitol Times;
Ray Stern, The Arizona Republic and azcentral;
Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Services

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