A state law which gives tax dollars to private and parochial schools to educate youngsters is illegal, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled today.
The justices, in a unanimous opinion, called the programs established by the Legislaturen in 2006 "a well-intentioned effort'' to assist students with special needs.
"But we are bound by our constitution,'' wrote Justice Michael Ryan. He said there is no way that the program can be reconciled with a specific constitutional ban against appropriating public funds in aid to private and parochial schools.
The decision is a significant defeat for legislators who had crafted the very small program in 2006 to test the legal waters. They had hoped a contrary ruling would pave the way for them to propose a full-blown voucher program, with every parent in the state entitled to use state tax money to send their children to any school they want.