Why Vote Yes on Prop 305?
Every Arizona student should have the options and opportunities to build a bright future. Empowerment Scholarship Accounts help our students meet their unique needs. Prop 305 opens those opportunities to all students.
EDUCATION OPTIONS FOR ALL ARIZONA KIDS
Prop 305 opens educational options to all Arizona students, creating a system that puts kids first.
MORE RESOURCES FOR ARIZONA FAMILIES
Prop 305 gives Arizona families funding to seek alternative educational services for their kids.
STRONGER CLASSROOMS, STRONGER COMMUNITIES
Prop 305 creates strong classrooms and communities by empowering students with options for the best education.
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+ Why ESAs?
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are the most innovative, flexible way for Arizona children to access an effective education that meets their individualized needs. The ESA program has around 4600 students and families that are using the scholarship accounts for tutoring services, educational services or therapies, private school tuition, required school fees – to name just a few possible uses.
+ How are ESAs funded?
Public funds are deposited into an ESA account administered by the Arizona Department of Education and are available for parents to pay for a variety of educational services and products. The funds in the account amount to ninety percent of what the state would have allocated for that student in a district or charter school. Parents access funds in the account with a debit card and are required to submit quarterly expense reports with receipts. Any unapproved expenses must be reimbursed.
+ Who benefits?
All Arizona students, families, and communities. Prop 305 opens education options and opportunities to everyone currently in district or charter school instead of reserving it for a limited few. ESAs have helped families like Marc Ashton’s. Marc’s son, Max, has been blind since birth, but he has tremendous potential. Marc used an Empowerment Scholarship Account to help pay for braille materials to help Max with his schoolwork. Max graduated high school and is now enrolled in college. Every child has great potential, and families can use the accounts to give every child the opportunity for a bright future. Read more stories here!
+ What is the goal?
The goal of Prop 305 is to make every child in Arizona eligible for an Empowerment Scholarship Account.
The bill begins with an expansion to children entering the key transitional years of kindergarten, first grade, sixth grade and ninth grade in 2017-18. Students experience key developmental changes during these school years. In 2018-19, students entering the next school years, respectively (second grade, seventh grade, and tenth grade) are made eligible. In the 2019-2020, student entering the next school years, respectfully (third grade, eighth grade, and eleventh grade) are made eligible. Finally, the fourth year all grade levels will be eligible. Every year after the passage of this legislation, the number of new students using the accounts annually may not exceed a figure equivalent to 0.5 percent of Arizona’s total public school enrollment.
+ How will the expansion work?
This expansion is phased-in over a period of four years so that parents and state officials can adjust as more families make choices about where and how their children learn.
The accounts were originally limited to special needs children, but the program has expanded to children in failing schools, as well as children from active-duty military families, children living on Native American reservations, adopted children, siblings of existing students, and incoming kindergarten students that meet any of these eligibility criteria. This proposed expansion by grade level simplifies the eligibility criteria, making it easier for families to determine their child’s eligibility.
Courts have ruled that education savings accounts are constitutional in Arizona.
A survey of Empowerment Scholarship Account families found the “majority of respondents reported being “very satisfied” with the accounts (71 percent), and 19 percent reported being “satisfied.”
The bill also includes provisions that require Empowerment Scholarship Account students in grades 3-12 to take a national norm referenced test. Students with special needs are exempt from this requirement.
Furthermore, the bill contains provisions for the Arizona Department of Education that require reporting of key statistics on participating students. These provisions protect student identity but allow the legislature and taxpayers to monitor the program and the use of ESA funds.
These implementation provisions also require the agency to solicit public comment before issuing new rules that apply to account participants. The agency must also create a review council that includes participating families to provide feedback and act as a steering committee for account administration.
For more information, check out Analysis by Legislative Council here.