The Arizona Supreme Court has decided to rule on whether the state’s school voucher programs are unconstitutional.
An Arizona Court of Appeals has already held that the voucher programs – one for developmentally disabled children and another for foster children – are unconstitutional because they divert public funding to religious and other private schools in violation of the state constitution.
Arizona created these programs in 2006, and funding was limited to no more than $2.5 million.
Attorney Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice, who is representing families of children receiving the vouchers, said the programs benefit families, not private religious organizations, and are constitutional.
The Arizona Education Association and the American Civil Liberties Union argue the programs take funding away from public schools and aid religious schools that discriminate.
The Division II Court of Appeals in Tucson held that the vouchers are unconstitutional.
“Only by ignoring the plain text of the Arizona Constitution prohibiting state aid to private schools could we find the aid represented by the payment of tuition fees to such schools in this case constitutional,” wrote Judge Garye L. Vasquez in Cain v. Horne.