Arizona Voters Oppose Universal Vouchers & Demand Increased K-12 Funding
According to a new, comprehensive poll of likely Arizona voters conducted by Stand for Children Arizona, Arizona voters are increasingly rejecting unaccountable private school vouchers and seeing the need for increased K-12 funding for local public schools that accept and serve all children.
Majority of AZ Voters Oppose Private School Vouchers
After hearing about the lack of safety measures, such as background checks for teachers, use of vouchers on non-educational expenses, and lack of accreditation of private schools, 60% of polled Arizona voters say they oppose the ESA voucher program, with 48% in strong opposition. This underscores what we already know — Arizona voters don’t want their taxpayer dollars going to unaccountable voucher schemes.
AZ Voters Demand ESA Voucher Reform
When asked what types of reforms to the ESA voucher program would be most effective in improving stability and oversight, 84% of Arizona voters (including 81% of Republicans, 86% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents) think the ESA voucher scheme needs reform. Only 7% of Arizona voters say no reforms are needed. Indeed, across party lines Arizona voters are demanding financial transparency, child safety, and academic accountability for this opaque, unaccountable program.
According to the poll, 65% of voters say they would vote for a ballot measure to reform the ESA voucher program by increasing oversight and financial transparency, improving accountability, and limiting the program to students in need.
Arizona Voters See “Great Need” for Increased Funding for K-12 Public Schools
Arizonans continue to understand that there is a great need for additional funding for local public schools, and continue to give the legislature a failing grade when it comes to supporting our public schools and 1 million public school students.
73% of Arizona voters say that there is continued need for K-12 funding, with 55% indicating a “great need.” Lawmakers should heed this warning, and should see that the false claims they’ve made around “historic investments” are (rightfully) not being heard or trusted by voters. Arizona continues to rank 49th in the US in K-12 funding.
56% of Arizona voters give the Republican-run Arizona State Legislature a failing grade when it comes to supporting public schools, with only 11% of voters giving these leaders an “A” or “B” rating. Arizona voters want additional funding, and they know that majority lawmakers are not meeting their promises to lift Arizona schools out of its ranking of 49th in the nation in K-12 spending. Arizona voters understand that increased funding equals increased resources, more extracurriculars, smaller class sizes, and better pay for teachers and staff — all of which lead to improved academic outcomes.
This poll underscores what those of us who talk to voters across the state already know: Arizona voters are furious at state leaders who refuse to invest in local public schools and instead prioritize private school voucher schemes that threaten to shut down public schools and bankrupt our state. It is high time that Arizona elected officials heed their voters’ wishes, or in November 2024 Arizona will finally elect a new legislature that will prioritize public education.