Hobbs’ Claim That Ducey Administration Misappropriated Funds to Kindergarteners Criticized by Arizona Republicans and Education Advocates

Several leaders and education advocates are denouncing Governor Katie Hobbs’ reversal of funding Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for kindergarten. Hobbs reversed the grant of $50 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act last week, which previous Governor Doug Ducey awarded for private school students to use.

Hobbs said in a statement that Ducey made the transfer “despite the fact that the State funds only half-day kindergarten for public school students.” However, State Representative Matt Gress (R-Phoenix), who served in the Ducey administration prior to becoming a legislator, said on the James T. Harris Show, “95 percent of public district and charter schools offer full day kindergarten using public tax dollars. So Governor Ducey saw this as a matter of fairness to provide full-day K to as many Arizona kids as possible. … It would have helped over 4,000 kindergarteners next school year.”

He added, “Governor Hobbs isn’t right, and I had a chance to look at the letter from her budget director, my successor. And her action is clearly unlawful. There is a contract in place, it’s legal, it’s binding, and my determination is that the grants need to go to the parents.”

Hobbs claimed the funding was illegal, and that it “violates multiple constitutional provisions, including on equal protection, the gift clause, and maintenance of a general and uniform public school system.” She said the transfer came while the state is “failing to properly invest in public education,” but she just signed a budget that satisfied herself with education funding. Spending on education has increased greatly around the country due to COVID-19 relief funds.

Kari Lake tweeted, “.@katiehobbs just declared war on school choice in Arizona. In under a year, our ESA program has produced historic results for Arizona families. Hobbs wants to strip that funding away & redistribute it to her radical cronies.”

Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times

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