Arizona K-12 Budget Boosts School Choice Programs

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds Arizona legislators in the Senate and House for their passage of a state budget including key improvements to the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program, Arizona’s charter schools, open enrollment, and Lexie’s Law Tax Credit program.

Statement from Steve Smith, Arizona State Director, American Federation for Children:

“We’re pleased that Arizona continues to be a national school choice leader by passing a budget with several key improvements to crucial programs. Highlights include much-needed changes to the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, significant advancements to help continue to grow our great charter schools, more clarity and transparency in the open enrollment program, and increasing the cap for the Lexie’s Law special needs tax credit program. Although significant gains were made in the budget, it is disappointing that three Republican State Representatives, and every Democrat, voted to block low-income families from accessing Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, which would have been the largest expansion of school choice in Arizona history.”

2021 Arizona State Budget School Choice Wins:

  • Quicker access into the program for ESA families by modifying the old “100 Day Rule”
  • Allows low-income students attending failing public schools to switch to the ESA program immediately
  • New funding for charter school transportation which will allow more students to get to their charter schools with easier access
  • More dollars for Results Based Funding for high-performing charter schools allowing them to serve more students
  • Increased transparency in Arizona’s Open Enrollment system
  • Adds $1 million to the Lexi’s Law Tuition Tax Credit program serving children with special needs