Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday that he has signed a bill enacting the most expansive school choice program in the country.
The Republican governor signed into law H.B. 2853, which drastically expands eligibility for the state's Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program to all students in the state, regardless of income.
Under the provisions in the law, over a million Arizona students will be eligible for more than $6,000 annually in education scholarships that can be used to cover any sort of school-related expense, including private school tuition, school material expenses, and private tutoring.
“This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools. Today, we’re unlocking a whole new world of opportunity for them and their parents,” Ducey said in a statement. “With this legislation, Arizona cements itself as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them. Every family in Arizona should have access to a high-quality education with dedicated teachers. This is truly a win for all K-12 students."
Ducey, a longtime supporter of school choice, had championed school choice in his State of the State address earlier this year, imploring state legislators to "think big and find more ways to get kids into the school of their parents’ choice."
In a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announcing the signing, Ducey said the newly signed law "delivers on [the] vision" he articulated in his address.
"Arizona remains the gold standard for educational freedom," the governor added.
The new law is already facing harsh opposition from teachers unions and public school advocates, who say the law is an attempt to defund public schools.
The political action committee Save our Schools has vowed to collect over 100,000 signatures to force a 2024 ballot initiative to invalidate the program. In 2018, Arizona voters rejected a more limited expansion of the scholarship program.