If any business owner saw 450% growth in one of the company’s products or programs during a 15-month period, they would be ecstatic. And it’s safe to say that whatever that program was doing must be working. But for Governor Katie Hobbs and her allies in the teachers’ unions, who have never been known for their math skills, it’s a completely different story when it comes to the ESA program.

Back in July 2022, when then-Governor Doug Ducey signed universal school choice expansion into Arizona law, 13,400 students were enrolled in the ESA program. That number has now grown—as of January 16, 2024—to an astounding 73,415 students—a near 450% growth. Clearly, the program is in high demand, and it is definitely working. But after signing the Republican budget bill last year, without any cap or restrictions on ESAs, Hobbs is now trying to push a barrage of regulations that would effectively dismantle the popular program.

Earlier this month, our current governor announced her plan for the ESA program. And despite the fact that Hobbs is a product of private schools herself, her proposed changes will turn private schools into de-facto public schools and cause children to lose their scholarships, forcing them out of their current school.

Among the regulations promoted by Hobbs and the teachers’ unions is a requirement to attend public school for at least 100 days in order to qualify for the ESA program. So, let’s get this straight. Parents who already know that they do not want to send their children to public school—or that the public school won’t be able to meet their child’s needs—will have to send their kids to a public school for an arbitrary number of days in order to participate in the ESA program. That’s interesting, given the fact that there is no such requirement for families who want to switch school districts or move to a public charter school. Why should students who want to attend private school, just like our governor did, be treated any differently? Maybe it’s because Hobbs and the teachers’ unions are desperate to do anything they can to boost the declining enrollment in our state’s public schools?

Another of Hobbs’ proposals requires manual reviews of purchases over $500. This likely came from a false expenditure claim by Save Our Schools Arizona, who lied in a viral post on X that the Arizona Department of Education approved a reimbursement for a $500 Lego set. The fact is that under the current Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, every single ESA purchase is already reviewed. If Hobbs wants to look at anyone for frivolous spending, perhaps she should start with her friend and former Democrat Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman whose tenure was ripe with approving odd expenses.

But perhaps the most absurd change Hobbs and the teachers’ unions want to make is to prohibit so-called “price gouging” by implementing price controls on private schools. This is absolutely hilarious considering the fact that for decades, teachers’ unions have pushed for billions more to be poured into public schools, which they got, and Arizona taxpayers are now giving district schools more money than ever before, at nearly $15,000 per student—more than double the cost of ESAs. Not once did Hobbs or any teachers’ union raise the concerns of price inflation associated with dumping more money into the system even though Arizona always seems to be another billion dollars away from “fully funding” education. And yet now that Arizona has universal ESAs, they decide we need price controls, but only for private schools. It’s hard to tell which is worse, their greed or their hypocrisy.

The reality is that ESAs strengthen ALL schools because competition delivers the best product—leading to better students, families, and communities. That’s why the program has become so popular—and why Hobbs knows she has to hide behind a flood of regulations rather than pushing for a repeal or cap on it. Now, it’s up to Arizona lawmakers to make sure her plan for ESAs is dead on arrival.

Please SUPPORT and DEFEND School Choice in Arizona

Arizona is the battleground for school choice in our country, and Katie Hobbs—together with the teachers’ unions—would like nothing more than to undo all the progress that has been made.

Will you reach out to your legislator and let them know you support ESAs and school choice, and consider it a top voting issue?