Arizona Supreme Court Strikes Down Two School Choice Programs
PHOENIX - Today the Arizona Supreme Court struck down two school choice programs that were helping Arizona families. The Arizona Scholarships for Pupils with Disabilities Program and the Disabled Pupils Choice Grant Program allowed parents of foster children and parents of children with special needs to send those children to the school that best meets the children's needs.
"This is a terrible result for Arizona students and their parents," said CAP President, Cathi Herrod. "The Arizona Legislature acted to provide meaningful education options for students who have special educational needs. Today's opinion from the Supreme Court ignores the needs of students and penalizes parents for choosing religious schools that meet their children's needs."
Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), along with school choice allies, was instrumental in passing the school choice programs in the Legislature in 2006. In December of last year, CAP attorneys filed a "friend of the court" brief with the Arizona Supreme Court in support of the school choice programs.
The Arizona Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have upheld other school choice programs like these because the private choices of the parents determine which school will receive the tuition money and the ultimate beneficiaries are the students. Today's decision goes against that line of decisions and concludes that the Arizona Constitution provides "a clear prohibition against the use of public funds to aid private or sectarian education."
"The Court's decision ignores the previous rulings that the private choices of parents nullify any constitutional concerns about the use of state money to fund private education," Herrod explained. The case is Cain v. Horne, CV 08-0189. The opinion is available online. CAP's amicus brief is also available online.
CAP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and defending the family by influencing policy, communicating truth, and empowering families to promote timeless values.