AZ Supreme Court to decide fate of school voucher programs

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PHOENIX - The fate of state school voucher programs for hundreds of foster and disabled children attending private schools now lies with the Arizona Supreme Court.

The court on Tuesday heard arguments from lawyers for supporters and opponents of the two programs that were authorized in 2006, then took the case under advisement for a ruling later.

The programs had been upheld by a trial judge in 2007, but the Court of Appeals ruled in May that they violate the Arizona Constitution's ban on state aid to private schools.

Another issue in the case is whether the programs trip on a constitutional ban on using state money to support religion.

Supporters contend the programs are needed to help meet students' educational needs. Opponents say they undermine state support for public schools.