‘Smoking deal’lands paid circulators for anti-voucher group – Arizona Capitol Times – Arizona News

‘Smoking deal’lands paid circulators for anti-voucher group – Arizona Capitol Times – Arizona News

Foes of taxpayer funded school vouchers are now using paid circulators to boost the chances that voters get the last word on the legislatively approved expansion of the program.

Dawn Penich-Thacker, one of the organizers of the referendum drive, acknowledged Monday that Save Our Schools had planned to try to gather the 75,321 valid signatures needed by Aug. 8 purely with volunteers. They want to quash legislation that would make vouchers of state dollars available to parent of all students to send their children to private or parochial schools.

She insisted they were on target to do that. But Penich-Thacker told Capitol Media Services the group has found itself with some unexpected money.

“We’ve had volunteers saying, ‘I can’t give more hours but I’d love to donate if you’re going to be hiring,’ ” she said.

And there’s something else: It’s apparently a relative bargain right now to find people willing to seek out petition signers.

Last week the organizers of two separate petition drives over changes in laws governing the initiative process announced they were suspending their use of paid circulators. Campaign manager Joe Yuhas said the cost of a lawsuit to try to have one of those changes voided by a judge had pretty much drained available dollars.

Penich-Thacker said that left a lot of people who had been working on those petitions and counting on the income in a lurch. And she said they were more than willing to make themselves available — at a relative bargain.

“We got a smoking deal,” she said. Penich-Thacker said the extra dollars will not only ensure that they get the minimum number of signatures necessary but also a…

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