Parents now have school Choice!
Education Savings Account Program
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed the most "monumental" education savings account program in the United States.
"This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools. Today, we’re unlocking a whole new world of opportunity for them and their parents," Ducey said. "With this legislation, Arizona cements itself as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them … This is truly a win for all K-12 students."
The Arizona State House and Senate passed Bill 2853 for the expansion of education savings accounts to have universal eligibility. Arizona, the first state in the nation to pass education scholarship accounts, expands the program to all 1.1 million K-12 students in the state.
What does this new law mean?
It means that parents can receive up to $6,400 to send their children to any school of their choice or to receive that money to home school their children. It means that parents of children currently at OCS who have read the available science and who are not willing to take the risk of placing their child in a school where they will be exposed to dangerous levels of Radio Frequency Radiation will be empowered to choose any school they like and will not be limited by the cost other school options might entail.
Charter schools are tuition free public schools that were established to provide additional choices to families for learning environments that would improve student achievement (A.R.S. § 15-181). Most public charter schools are operated independent of local school districts by either non-profit or for-profit entities, although school districts may also sponsor charter schools. Since 1995, the number of charter schools in Arizona has grown to over 500 and charter school student enrollment has grown well over 150,000 students, accounting for 14% of the student population in Arizona in FY 2014.
If you would like to send your child to a private school, scholarship assistance may be available to you through one of the many school tuition organizations (STOs) in Arizona. STOs use individual and corporate contributions to provide scholarships to families in Arizona to use for private school tuition for grades K-12. Many of these scholarships are based on financial need, and each scholarship organization has a separate application process. Scholarships are also available for preschool children attending a preschool for handicapped children from contributions made for individual tax credits. Individuals and corporations in Arizona can take a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to STOs.
Homeschooling has existed in its present form since the mid 1980's and is defined as "a school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian or other person who has custody of the child for instruction provided in the child's home" A.R.S. 15 § 802 (F).
Arizona law allows for a child being instructed at home who resides within the attendance area of a public school to be allowed to participate in interscholastic activities A.R.S. 15 § 802.01. Homeschooled students are welcomed at Arizona's institutes of higher education and are eligible for merit-based scholarships.
If a parent decides to homeschool, the first step is to file an Affidavit of Intent to Home School along with a birth certificate with the County School Superintendent. Support for homeschooling can be found through the statewide organization Arizona Families for Home Education. The Home School Legal Defense Association also provides national information.