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Introduced Legislation Offers Empowerment Scholarships to All Students

31 January 2017   Mike Philipsen
Senator Lesko introduces bill giving every Arizona student more options for their K-12 education

(Phoenix, State Capitol) ---Today Senator Debbie Lesko introduced SB 1431, to bring better educational opportunities for Arizona students. It will expand these options to more children and enable their parents to choose the school and education that is best for their child.

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) allow money to follow the student, rather than the school, which might not be the best fit for the child. The ESA program began five years ago, and includes children with disabilities, foster and adopted children, children from failing schools, active duty military families and children living on tribal lands. When today's bill is signed into law, all Arizona children will be eligible to apply for a scholarship.

Senator Lesko says this is about educational choice. "This allows parents to use it for the best education their child can get. The traditional district schools oppose ESAs, just like they have opposed charter schools for two decades. They don't want the competition. Luckily, our Governor and Republicans in the Legislature don't focus on protecting a monopoly, but instead on what is best for the child."

SB 1431 phases-in ESA eligibility over four years for every child who attends a district or charter school. It begins in grades K,1,6 and 9 in the first year, because those are customary entry points for elementary, middle and high school.

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