Arizona parents kick off 2016 applying for school choice program
By Kim Martinez, AFC National Correspondent
On January 1st, the 3-month application period for Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts began. Although the Arizona Department of Education will accept applications through April 1st, many hopeful parents submitted their child’s information immediately.
For Phoenix mother, Sarah Raybon, her top priority this year is to work on getting an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) for her son Luke, who is 4 years old and will be entering kindergarten next school year.
“I am so grateful to be able to apply for a 2016-2017 Empowerment Scholarship Account,” says Sarah. “As the mom of a child diagnosed with a speech language impairment, I am thrilled that Arizona gives me the ability to choose the best educational environment for my son. I am confident that with this opportunity, Luke is receiving the best start possible and is headed for success.”
Similar to Luke’s situation, the majority of children using ESAs are those who have special needs. ESAs allow parents to choose and pay for a variety of education expenses including private school tuition, tutoring, educational therapies, online curriculum, home schooling and books.
“If Luke receives an ESA, we plan to send him to a private school with a speech/language department,” added Sarah. “He will have therapy five days a week there, rather than the two days that the local school offers.”
With the ability to truly customize and manage their child’s education as well as cater specifically to their special needs, ESAs are a great option for Arizona parents.
ESAs are available to Arizona children who meet one of the following requirements: they have special needs, are currently attending a low-performing school, are in foster or adoptive care, live on the state’s tribal lands or who have an active duty military parent.
This year, the Arizona Department of Education has streamlined the process of applying by accepting applications online. For more information on the ESA program visit azed.gov/esa. Or you can click here to get started with an online application.