The nearly nine-month battle between public school advocates and voucher proponents over the controversial school voucher program had a price tag of around $8.4 million, according to campaign reports released today.

Hefty chunks of the funding came from Patrick Byrne, CEO of, who backed the the pro-voucher Parents for Choice in Education, and members of the Byrne family.

Opponents, including Utahns for Public Schools, an anti-voucher coalition, received much of their funding from the National Education organization.

The voucher law that the Legislature passed earlier this year would have provided Utah families with a private-school tuition voucher ranging from $500 to $3,000 per student attending a private school, based on parents' income. HB148 also appropriated $9.2 million to offset any financial impact that school districts might experience for five years after a student leaves and goes to a private school.

But voucher opponents — Utahns for Public Schools, which included the Utah PTA, Utah Education Association and the NAACP — didn't like the idea of shifting public money to private schools.

In March, the group successfully filed for a referendum to let voters either repeal or keep the voucher program. In the months following, campaign officials spent millions on advertising as well as enlisting grass-roots volunteer efforts to get their message out.

And on Nov. 6, after nearly nine months of fierce campaigning, Utahns voted down the law by 62 percent.

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