GET the FACTS on ESAs: Senate Bill 1431:
1. The AZ legislature supports education no matter where it takes place. It supports district schools, charter schools, online schools, private schools and homeschooling.
2. ESAs allow parents to choose the best education for their child because all children don’t learn the same.
3. Phases in eligibility to all students over 4 years.
4. However, caps enrollment growth at ½ of 1% of the 1.1 million public students or about 5,500 students/year through 2022 and beginning in FY2023 caps ESA enrollment at the 2021-2022 school year level.
5. The parent receives 90-100% of what the school they moved from got from the state and then the parent can use that money for a list of educational options, including private school.
6. The state’s non-partisan budget committee estimates my ESA legislation will save the state general fund $1.6M in FY18, $2.9M in FY19, $3.5M in FY20, and $3.4M in FY21. These savings can be used for other state priorities, including increased funding to public schools.
7. Provides more money for low-income students. If a student’s family makes 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $60k for a family of 4) or below, the student receives funding at 100% of what the school they moved from receives from the state general fund. If the student’s family earns more than 250%, the student receives 90%.
8. Provides Academic Accountability: ESA students are required to take a nationally recognized norm-referenced or similar test. Private Schools that test and have at least 50 ESA students need to make available to the public the schools test results
9. Provides Fiscal Accountability:
-Requires ADE to create an ESA Open Checkbook to provide transparency on ALL expenditures.
-Requires the state treasurer to contract with a private financial management firm to manage ESA accounts.
-Creates new administrative efficiencies and guidelines to prevent fraud.
10. ESA money can be used for various educational options including online school, tutoring, and private school. Median cost for private elementary school in AZ = $5,500/year, thus families of all income levels can use ESAs.
11. ESA students in grades 1-12 need to have switched from a public school, thus students already attending a private school cannot get ESA money.
12. Students are prohibited from using both ESAs and STOs.