Phoenix, AZ – Governor Jan Brewer signed late Monday HB 2622, a critical piece of legislation that will expand the state’s groundbreaking education savings account program to over 100,000 newly eligible children, effectively doubling the program’s reach.
Arizona Governor Signs Education Savings Account Expansion Bill
Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), the legislation expands the education savings account program eligibility to three new groups: children currently enrolled in “D” and “F” schools, children of active-duty military parents, and children who have been adopted out of Arizona’s foster system or who are in the process of a finalized adoption.
Conceived of by the Goldwater Institute in 2005, the pilot education savings account program was first approved by Governor Brewer and the Arizona Legislature in 2011 for families of special-needs children whose educational needs were not met by traditional public schooling.
Participating families receive 90 percent of the funds the state would have spent on them in traditional public schools. They may use that money for private school tuition, books, licensed therapists, or online learning programs. Money left in the account after the child finishes high school can be saved for college expenses.
In its first year, over 150 Arizona families of special-needs children took advantage of the program, and enthusiasm for education savings accounts is growing.
“Thanks to this program’s expansion, more students in Arizona will be able to customize their education—something we could have only dreamed of just five years ago. We’re not talking about just choosing a different school, but a complete school experience specifically designed for each student,” said Jonathan Butcher, Education Director for the Goldwater Institute. “This is the future of education in the U.S.”
The Goldwater Institute worked with legislators, the Governor’s office, and other key stakeholders to draft and secure passage of HB 2622. Legislators throughout the country are exploring using Arizona’s education savings account model to create similar programs in their states. Bills modeled on Arizona’s have been introduced in Utah, Florida, and Iowa.
The program’s expanded eligibility will take full effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Families of children wishing to apply for education savings accounts will be able to do so this fall.
The Goldwater Institute protects America’s greatest inheritance – the liberty and economic freedom of the individual – by holding government accountable and standing up for regular taxpayers just like you. Learn more about the Education Savings Account program here.
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