Studies show that school choice voucher programs save states money. Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Account program, in particular, is expected to save the state about $500 million in education expenses this year while costing only $377 million. Statewide public school enrollment has declined by 31,000 since the ESA program began and is currently 70,000 below budget projections, as Corey DeAngelis and Jason Bedrick pointed out the other day in the Wall Street Journal.
Gov. Katie Hobbs (D-AZ), however, has argued recently, including in an interview and her State of the State address, that this program is going to "bankrupt" her state. She argues that the absolute cost is not the issue in question:
"Many of these students that are applying for and receiving these vouchers are in districts that aren't getting the per-pupil funding from the state. They're just relying on the property tax base," Hobbs said. "It's not hitting the bottom line of their school districts at all, but it's pulling money out of the entire system ... the school system that roughly 80% of families and students still continue to choose in Arizona. ... The public district school system is being robbed of those resources. And that is creating an unequal playing field where those resources aren't going to the schools that need it the most."
If I read this correctly, her contention is that so many of the students choosing vouchers come from school districts that take no state money, which means that ...