Group rallies to defend signatures halting school voucher law

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About 100 people who support "Save Our Schools Arizona" showed up at the Arizona State Capitol Saturday. This is the group that, just this week, presented more than 100,000 signatures, halting the school voucher program in our state. They say those signatures are now being questioned.

"I can't believe I have to come out here and defend our public schools from being defunded," said Candice Eisenfelde. She said she helped gather signatures for parent's group Save Our Schools Arizona to block a new law that would expand controversial school vouchers, allowing more parents to send their kids to private schools using taxpayer money.

[Original story: New Arizona school voucher law on hold for now]

"It is outrageous to me that our public lawmakers believe that they can they can resolve this problem by privatizing public education," Eisenfelde said. "That's the wrong way to go."

They got enough signatures to halt the law and send it to voters next year.

"Those schools are going to have less and less funding and they're just degrading and eroding our public education from within," she said.

Eisenfelde and about 100 other volunteers gathered at the capitol to defend those signatures, which they say are now being called into question by attorneys for the American Federation for Children.

"I'm a parent of two children that attend public school in the east Valley," said Sarah Meaney. She said she worked with Save Our Schools over the summer, collecting signatures.

"It's a program that's going to affect 95 percent of the children in Arizona, so voters deserve to cast their vote," Meaney said.

Political experts say, based on past campaigns, about 30 percent of the signatures could be tossed out due to errors. It's unknown whether they'll come up short or not. 

"Parents and teachers and community members need to pay attention to what's happening at the Legislature to make sure we are voting in people that are for the people of Arizona," Meaney said. 

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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