PHOENIX (CN) – The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that two state-funded voucher programs benefiting foster children and disabled students are unconstitutional. The programs allowed Arizona to pay tuition at private schools for a number of disabled children and children in foster care whose families could not afford it and that did not want their children to attend the public school in their district.
The court said the programs violate the Constitution because they “transfer state funds directly from the state treasury to private schools.” The programs create an unequal education system by providing private and parochial schools with tax dollars, the court said. $2.5 million was set aside for each of the two programs that were enacted by the Arizona Legislature in 2006.
The court stated that although the voucher programs “appear to be a well-intentioned effort to assist two distinct student populations with special needs,” the Constitution bans the use of tax dollars for the support of private schools.