Now that the Utah Supreme Court has ruled, Utahns will go to the polls in November to vote on Citizens State Referendum 1, which seeks to repeal a new law allowing parents to receive government vouchers for private school tuition. The vouchers range from $500-$3,000 based on income.
"When people are ready to vote they are now going to get a pamphlet ahead of time that explains the questions on the ballot," said Leah Barker, spokesperson for Parents for Choice in Education. The deadline day for the arguments was extended until Friday by the Supreme Court.
Those in favor of vouchers say the public schools work well, but that some students fall through the cracks and should be able to access the school that fits their needs, regardless of income. Also, for every child who uses a scholarship, money will be sent to the public school district where he or she would have attended.
Those against vouchers say Utah schools are leaders in student performance even though they rank last in the country in per-student funding and cannot afford to subsidize existing private schools. Legislative re-searchers project vouchers would cost taxpayers more than $400 million over the next 13 years, and after five years public school funding will drop to reflect transfers to private schools.
"The state law requires that both sides, pro and con, have their arguments written with a certain length on the official state pamphlets, stating the issue and what both voting for and voting against vouchers will do," said State Representative Paul Neuenschwander. "They will be coming out with the 'pro' standing for being against vouchers and the 'con' being in favor of them."
Both sides for and against vouchers now have until July 13 to write their rebuttals, which will be included in the voter information guide. To read a summary of the arguments both for and against vouchers, visit www.elections.