Posted by on May 26, 2023 5:01 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Arizona Gov. Hobbs says predecessor misappropriated $50M

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) said her predecessor, Republican Doug Ducey, misappropriated $50 million that the federal government provided to the state through the American Rescue Plan. 

Hobbs said in a release on Friday that Ducey made the grant to the state treasurer in the final hours of his administration to fund all-day kindergarten for student recipients of empowerment scholarship accounts, which allows for parents to use the money they would pay in taxes for education to send their student to the school that they choose. 

But the memo notes that the state only funds half-day kindergarten for students in public school. Axios reported that the money was supposed to be used for the next three academic years, but was not provided to the state Department of Education. 

“Illegally giving $50 million to private schools while failing to properly invest in public education is just one egregious example of the previous administration’s blatant disregard for public school students,” Hobbs said. “I will always fight to protect our public schools and work to give every Arizona student the education they deserve.”

“Today, we averted a violation of federal law and the State Constitution,” she added. “In my administration, we are committed to deploying federal funds lawfully and equitably.”

The release also states that the grant violates multiple state constitutional provisions, including ones on equal protection, a gift clause and maintenance of “a general and uniform” public school system. It claimed that the grant also violates the American Rescue Plan because it does not address educational disparities as the grant agreement claims. 

The office said it is exploring alternatives for a legal use of the funds. 

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, into law in March 2021 to provide funding for direct $1,400 payments to most Americans, vaccine distribution, school reopenings, upgraded unemployment benefits and state and local governments.

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