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REFERENDUM GROUP DELIVERS MORE THAN 100,000 SIGNATURES HALTING SB1431 VOUCHER EXPANSION

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MEDIA ADVISORY For Immediate Release

Date: Monday, August 7, 2017


REFERENDUM GROUP DELIVERS MORE THAN 100,000 SIGNATURES
HALTING SB1431 VOUCHER EXPANSION FROM TAKING EFFECT

Phoenix, AZ - On Tuesday, August 8 at 1:45 p.m., the grassroots group Save our Schools Arizona will deliver more than 100,000 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State successfully halting SB1431 from taking effect and referring it to the November 2018 ballot for Arizona voters to decide.

At 1:45 p.m., a school bus will deliver the petitions to the Executive Tower North Loading area of the Arizona State Capitol.

Immediately following the delivery, Save our Schools Arizona will deliver remarks about the process of collecting signatures, a precise final count, and their next steps.

Background

In fewer than 90 days, more than 2,500 regular Arizona voters fanned across the state collecting signatures at libraries, coffee shops, parks, and shopping centers. They worked day after day in 120 degree heat, through monsoon storms and around jobs, families, illness and family deaths.

Signatures were collected by Arizona citizens ranging from newly-registered 18 year olds to 84 year old retired teachers, independents, Republicans and Democrats, teachers, parents, business owners and retirees whose personal history or children's education include neighborhood public schools, public charter schools, private schools and homeschooling.

SB1431 - the voucher expansion bill - was highly controversial throughout the 2017 Legislative Session. Despite unprecedented public opposition, the bill narrowly passed with both Democrats and Republicans voting against it. Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law, promptly earning him praise from the Goldwater Institute and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

SB1431 takes tax dollars away from public schools. Ranging from $4,000 to $30,000 per child, per year, "Empowerment Scholarship Account" vouchers can be used to subsidize religious, private, or parochial schooling as well as homeschooling and any other expenses a family describes as "educational." Despite proven instances of fraud and mis-use in the existing voucher program, virtually no safeguards were added for transparency or accountability. SB1431 also includes no income cap, which allows tax dollars taken out of public schools to be used primarily by affluent families who leave high performing public schools.

For more information about the August 8 delivery and press conference, call or text Dawn Penich-Thacker at 480-734-6904.

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