ESA Overview: SB1431/HB2394:
- Provides another option for parents to choose the best education for their child.
- Phases in eligibility to all students over 4 years.
- However, enrollment growth is capped at ½% of the 1.1 million public students or about 5,500 students/year.
- total spent per student in public district school = $9,529/yr.
- ESA for a non-special needs student = $5,600/student/year
- 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.
- 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.
- ESA students are required to take a nationally recognized norm-reference test.
- If a student moves from a district school to a charter school, it costs the state general fund $600/student more than if the student uses an ESA.
- If a student moves from a charter school to an ESA it saves the state general fund $600/student/year.
- Every time a student moves from a district school to use an ESA it saves $585/student in override $ immediately and $981/student/year in bond $ over time.
- ADE checks to make sure money is being used properly. Senator Smith’s legislation, SB1281, increases fiscal accountability even further.
By Senator Debbie Lesko