Journalists’ Roundtable: ESA fraud indictments, Heap announces for Recorder, Bill: ranchers can shoot trespassing migrants and more

More from this show

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Journalists’ Roundtable. To discuss this week’s top stories we were joined by Camryn Sanchez of KJZZ Radio, Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services and Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic & azcentral.com.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • ESA Fraud Indictments
  • Heap Announces for Recorder
  • Bill: Ranchers Can Shoot Trespassing Migrants
  • Bill: Keep Trump on Ballot
  • Bills: “Arizona Invasion Act”

ESA Fraud Indictments:

Camryn Sanchez: “This is the state voucher program for people who have kids and want to send them to private schools or home schools, and the attorney general announced this week that five people were indicted for abusing the program, and what she calls “ghost children”, basically billing for kids who don’t exist so you can pay for stuff.”

Howie Fischer: “Remember, the people who were involved with this, the three key people, were employees of the department of education- who were in charge of reviewing applications, deciding, “Yup, you got a real child there, tell you what, I’m going to send you some money for a place that a nonexistent child is not going”. So, this comes down to a lot of internal issues there.”

Laurie Roberts: “I believe the whistle was blown by a credit union that found some red flags and raised them. Tom Horne (Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction) says that he found some of the other cases, but what sounds like the most egregious cases- the woman with the triplets and the ten kids- there was nothing in the controls that triggered any sort of warning.”

Sanchez: “Well maybe some families do need the money to take their triplets to the snowbowl, but I also want to note how much money we’re talking about here. The average ESA is around seven thousand dollars, but it depends on the student. So, if you have multiple kids, that’s several thousand dollars. And if the kid has certain needs- like if they have a disability for example, that amount usually goes up, and that was the case with several of these claims.

Camryn Sanchez, KJZZ; Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Services; Laurie Roberts, Arizona Republic & azcentral.com

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