(AP) - A new court ruling says Arizona's school voucher program for students with disabilities is constitutional.

The ruling released Thursday rejects arguments by opponents of the program that it violates state constitutional prohibitions on using public money to support religious or private schools.

Judge Maria del Mar Verdin (ver-deen) of Maricopa County Superior Court agreed with program supporters that the program is constitutional because it gives discretion to parents on how to spend the money.

Verdin says that means the so-called Empowerment Account Program is not directing where the money goes.

A lawyer for the challengers says they'll appeal the ruling to the state Court of Appeals.

The challengers include groups representing school district boards, teachers and school business officials.

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