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Posted: 12:48 PM- A school voucher bill passed the Utah House by a single vote today. It is now expected to sail through the Senate and win the governor's signature.

After weeks of back-room arm-twisting and spirited lobbying on both sides of the issues, supporters managed 38 yes votes to the 37 opposed -- there were no representatives absent. Surprise supporters included Rep. Brad Last, R-St. George, and Rep. Keith Grover, R-Orem - two former public school officials. Both said they had wrestled with a decision.

The pro-voucher Parents for Choice in Education called the vote a victory for Utah children.

"We're thrilled," said Elisa Peterson, executive director of PCE.

Opponents from the state's largest teachers' union said out-of- state money and politics drove the decision more than children's best interests.

"This isn't the way I teach my fifth-graders the system works," said Kim Campbell, president of the Utah Education Association.

HB148 will let parents spend public money on private school tuition. Every Utah family, with the exception of current private school students, would be eligible for a voucher ranging from $500 to $3,000 depending on family income.