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The Latest: Lawmakers push rescue of Navajo kids’ voucher

May 24, 2019
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 file photo, Kathy Hoffman, a Democratic superintendent of public education, poses for a portrait in Phoenix. Arizona lawmakers are moving to allow a handful of children from the Navajo reservation to continue using school vouchers at a Christian school in New Mexico. Emergency legislation approved in a House committee Thursday, May 23, 2019, gives seven children another year to use their Empowerment Scholarship Account for private-school tuition in another state, though the law requires vouchers be used at Arizona schools. Hoffman said the legislation is a good compromise that gives the affected families time to figure out their next steps while respecting the will of voters, who voted last year to reject an expansion of the voucher program. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 file photo, Kathy Hoffman, a Democratic superintendent of public education, poses for a portrait in Phoenix. Arizona lawmakers are moving to allow a handful of children from the Navajo reservation to continue using school vouchers at a Christian school in New Mexico. Emergency legislation approved in a House committee Thursday, May 23, 2019, gives seven children another year to use their Empowerment Scholarship Account for private-school tuition in another state, though the law requires vouchers be used at Arizona schools. Hoffman said the legislation is a good compromise that gives the affected families time to figure out their next steps while respecting the will of voters, who voted last year to reject an expansion of the voucher program. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on legislation allowing Navajo Nation children to attend a private New Mexico school using state vouchers (all times local):

6 p.m.

The Arizona House has given preliminary approval to a bill allowing a handful of Navajo Nation children to continue using school vouchers at a Christian school in New Mexico.

The House advanced the emergency legislation in a voice vote on Thursday, setting up formal approval that could come at any time. The Senate is also preparing to debate the measure.

The legislation gives seven children another year to use their Empowerment Scholarship Account out of state even though state law requires the vouchers to be used at Arizona schools.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman says the legislation will allow the children to stay another year in their school without expanding the voucher program.

The school-choice advocacy group American Federation for Children called the children victims of an overbearing government.

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3:40 p.m.

Arizona lawmakers are moving to allow a handful of children from the Navajo reservation to continue using school vouchers at a Christian school in New Mexico.

Emergency legislation approved in a House committee Thursday gives seven children another year to use their Empowerment Scholarship Account out of state even though the law requires vouchers be used at Arizona schools.

The plight of the Navajo children rocketed to lawmakers’ attention when the school-choice advocacy group American Federation for Children released a video over the weekend. It showed parents blasting the Arizona Department of Education for letters demanding they repay the money illegally spent out of state.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman says her staff discovered the vouchers were being used in New Mexico during a routine audit.

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