Axios Phoenix

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πŸ•Ί Happy Thursday! How about a throwback jam to kick it off?

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: Sunny and 97.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Phoenix member Azin Van Alebeek!

Today's newsletter is 897 words β€” a 3.4-minute read.

1 big thing: School choice choices

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The amount of money going into and coming out of Arizona's tax credit program for private school scholarships declined last fiscal year for the first time since the Great Recession, and the recent expansion of another school choice system could be to blame.

Why it matters: If the numbers mark the beginning of a long-term trend, it could dramatically shrink one of Arizona's marquee school choice programs.

The big picture: Arizona has been at the forefront of school choice for decades, but new data shows two popular programs β€” School Tuition Organizations (STOs) and Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) β€” may be competing for the same students, with the latter chipping away at the former.

Driving the news: The total dollar amounts contributed to STOs and awarded through student scholarships decreased between fiscal years 2022 and 2023, according to a report from the Arizona Department of Revenue. It was the first dip in more than a decade.

  • The drop coincided with a dramatic increase in ESA usage, after the program was expanded to include all students in 2022. Previously, it was available to only certain categories, such as students who are disabled or attending failing schools and Native Americans living on reservations.

What they're saying: "Everybody in the STO world that I've spoken with is telling me a similar story, that ESAs are causing or at least contributing to the reduction in donations," Steve Yarbrough, executive director of the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, tells Axios.

Friction point: Students in many, though not all, situations can get more money from STOs than ESAs. But Kim Kirschner, executive director of Tucson's Institute for Better Education, says there are other reasons a family might favor ESAs.

  • The ESA program is simply easier to use, she says.
  • Yarbrough notes that ESAs can be used for various purposes while STOs can be used only for tuition.

Reality check: State law prohibits students from using both programs.

What's next: Yarbrough says he believes it'll take another year or two to get a clear picture of what will happen with STOs.

Keep reading

2. πŸ’¬ Politicians turn to Spanglish

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Spanglish β€” a mix of English and Spanish β€” is surging in political ads and campaign outreach ahead of November's elections.

Why it matters: Communicating in Spanish is key to wooing Latino voters, who are nearly 15% of the national electorate and who could swing critical races in Arizona and other battleground states.

  • But, increasingly, so is using Spanglish, especially since many young Latinos β€” a rapidly growing demographic β€” are more likely to be English-dominant.

Zoom in: So far this year, the Biden campaign has released two ads in Spanglish, with plans for more.

  • The campaign has spent millions on ads and deploying staff to reach Latino voters for this campaign, according to spokesperson Fabiola Rodriguez.
  • The Democratic National Committee also says it's made a "six figure" investment in digital, print and radio ads targeting Latinos and funded 30 Spanish-language billboards in key battleground states.

The Trump campaign released Spanish ads in 2020 but has yet to spend any cash on them so far this cycle.

  • Instead, the campaign is reaching Latino voters organically and through surrogates such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), says Danielle Alvarez, a Trump campaign spokesperson, adding that Trump has done major interviews with Spanish-language TV stations.

By the numbers: Roughly 63% of Latinos say they speak Spanglish β€” and the share of Latinos who speak Spanish at home has dropped over the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

What they're saying: "Second-generation Latinos in the U.S., at home, while their parents and grandparents are speaking in Spanish, they're speaking in English back to them," says Rodriguez.

  • "We're embracing the fact that our community is evolving and they're not just speaking Spanish, they're speaking a combination of it."

Cringe concern

3. 🐢 Chart du jour: Pet-friendly living

A table showing the percentage of pet-friendly rentals in the largest U.S. cities in 2023. Dallas tops the list with 79%.
Data: Zillow/BARK; Chart: Axios Visuals

More than 70% of Phoenix's Zillow rental listings are pet-friendly, well above the national average of 55%.

Why it matters: Pet owners are increasingly eager to cater their homes to companion animals.

Stunning stat: Twice as many renters filter for pet-friendly listings than for any other amenity on the Zillow website, according to the company.

4. Chips & salsa: Where in the world is Rudy?

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

πŸ‘€ The Arizona Attorney General's Office has been unable to locate Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and serve him with notice that he must appear in court May 21. He's one of 18 people charged in the state's fake electors criminal case. (AZcentral)

πŸ₯Š Phoenix renamed part of Fillmore Street as Michael Carbajal Way to honor the six-time world champion boxer from Arizona. (KJZZ)

⚾ The Chicago Cubs plan to build a 22,000-square-foot pitching lab at their spring training facility in Mesa. It will house four pitching areas, a sprint track and video room. (Phoenix Business Journal)

5. 😎 Weekend events

Kane Brown will perform at Tempe's Boots in the Park event. Photo: Harold Feng/Getty Images

Get your calendar out, it's time to plan your weekend!

🌼 Sunflower Days

Mesa's Vertuccio Farms is hosting an inaugural sunflower festival with flower picking, photo opportunities and a petting zoo. The event starts tomorrow and runs each weekend through June 2.

  • Tickets are $10.

πŸ§ͺ Prom: A Science Soiree

It's prom but for grown-ups. The Arizona Science Center invites you to enjoy a night of silent disco, spiked punch and fairytale-themed activities.

  • General admission is $30.

πŸ‘’ Boots in the Park

Kane Brown headlines Sunday's country festival at Tempe Beach Park. Lee Brice, Tyler Hubbard and Parmalee will also perform.

  • Gates open at 2pm; tickets available from $99.

Two more fun things

πŸ“Ί Jessica started watching "The Man in the High Castle." She thinks she likes it but isn't sure yet.

πŸ“• Jeremy watched a few seasons of "The Man in the High Castle" and liked it for a while, but just couldn't get through it all. The book was great, though.

This newsletter was edited by Hadley Malcolm and copy edited by Jay Bennett.

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