Grand Canyon Institute looks at how a school voucher expansion program could impact Arizona

The Arizona-based nonpartisan think tank looked at recent data from the joint legislative budget committee.
The Arizona-based nonpartisan think tank looked at recent data from the joint legislative budget committee.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:45 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - “How will the ESA expansion impact school choice?” and “How much will the ESA expansion cost taxpayers?”

Those are a few of the big questions the Grand Canyon Institute is trying to answer. Last month the non-partisan, independent think tank put together a report using a recent study done by the joint legislative budget committee to find out what could happen in the next few years once the school voucher expansion program takes effect in Arizona. It’s an issue with strong opinions on both side of the aisle.

READ MORE: Opponents of Arizona school voucher expansion fail to gather enough signatures.

This is the law that allows every parent in Arizona to use public money to pay for private school, homeschooling, and more. Assistant Research Director Maxwell Goshert says one of the most important issues for him is considering what impact will this have on students and their education. He says that in states that have large statewide expansions, generally the academic outcomes are not favorable--especially in math.

Goshert says Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana also expanded their voucher programs. “And what the researchers found was that it did have lower academic outcomes,” he said. “And that was likely because you had a sudden flood of students, a sudden expansion of students who are going to be attending private schools. And the private school infrastructure just was not set up to be responsive to a sudden increase like that.”

He thinks Arizona private schools will see a 39% rise in demand. Read the group’s full report here.

As of Friday afternoon, the Arizona Department of Education said it had received more than 12,149 applications under the universal category. About 76% of those applicants do not have a prior record of public school attendance. The deadline to apply for retroactive first quarter funding was extended to October 15th after the department says it saw “a high volume of parents” trying to apply by the original deadline last Friday. Here is where parents can find more information about applying.