Arizona voters weigh Hoffman, Horne in school superintendent race – The Arizona Republic

Arizona voters will choose a state superintendent of public instruction in Tuesday’s election. 
On the ballot are two candidates who have held the position previously, but who are offering voters starkly different paths for education leadership. 
Incumbent Democrat Kathy Hoffman steered Arizona schools through the first turbulent years of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has used federal relief funds to bring more counselors to schools and invest in rural broadband access and has promised to expand kindergarten access and mental health resources for students. 
“We must have elected leaders who view education spending as an investment and not an expense,” Hoffman’s campaign biography said. 
Election Day coverage: Live voting updatesArizona election results
Tom Horne, who is running for his third term as superintendent of public instruction, promises a focus on school discipline, meat-and-potatoes instruction in reading and math, and a hotline to report teachings about race and history that may be problematic. 
“Students cannot learn if classrooms are not orderly,” Horne’s campaign website said.
The next superintendent will oversee a school system expected to experience a major funding drop-off when federal relief dollars run out. They’ll also be in charge of overseeing Arizona’s recently and vastly expanded school voucher program and managing a mental health crisis among youth.
Hoffman vs. Horne: 5 takeaways from Arizona schools chief debate
But the extent to which either of these state superintendent candidates can execute their promises in the role, which is more of an administrative than policy-making position, will also depend on who is elected as governor and into the state legislature. 
Governor candidates Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs view public education very differently. Democrat Hobbs supports repealing the new universal school voucher program and putting more public dollars into public schools. Republican Lake wants all education funding tied to students, not schools, which could send even more public money to private schools.
Yana Kunichoff is a reporter on The Arizona Republic’s K-12 education team. You can join the Republic’s Facebook page here, and reach Yana at or follow her on Twitter @yanazure
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