Arizona Court Rules School Voucher Programs Unconstitutional

A state appeals court says two relatively new state school voucher programs are unconstitutional.

The programs were designed to provide money to let foster and disabled children attend private schools.

The 3-0 ruling Thursday by a Court of Appeals panel in Tucson reverses a trial judge's decision that said the voucher programs were legal. They were passed at the urging of supporters of so-called "school choice" initiatives.

A lawyer for supporters of the programs says they'll appeal the ruling.

Challengers contend the programs enacted by the Legislature in 2006 violate state constitutional prohibitions against public funding for private and religious schools. They also argue the programs undermine the state's public school system by diverting needed money.