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State lawmakers asking for probe following release of improperly redacted document on scholarships

The Arizona Department of Education has a big mess to clean up, after someone in the department put out the names of parents with empowerment scholarship accounts on a spreadsheet.

That paperwork landed in the hands of a group that opposes expanding the voucher program, and it may have violated Federal law.

"Sloppy, shoddy," said State Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R). "I'm not surprised."

It was a records request went awry that got the department in trouble, and lawmakers are laying the mess at the feet of State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman.

"The Superintendent obviously hates the school choice program. and has done a lot of things to obstruct it," said State Sen. Borrelli.

State Sen. Borrelli and State Rep. Mark Finchem are both asking the U.S. attorney's office to find out how the State Department of education released redacted information that included student names, private school information, and email addresses, in addition to qualification factors for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program.

"It's pretty pathetic that it went out without a fight," said State Sen. Borrelli.

The botched release could violate FERPA (Family Educational Rights of Privacy Act), which is meant to protect student information from third parties. The Attorney General's Office called it a serious matter, but isn't sure if they have independent jurisdiction to investigate.

"Just privacy alone under the FERPA laws and the federal statutes, it needs to be thoroughly investigated," said State Sen. Borrelli.