Horne’s office approves nearly 25,000 overdue ESA requests from parents

Published by The Bee News

January 11, 2023

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PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Education has approved 24,366 delayed requests from parents seeking to participate in the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Approval was also given for payments to schools and tutors who were owed a total of $22,234,151.48 going back to the second fiscal quarter of 2022.

The department also paid more than 1,500 tutors who had gone months without a paycheck and paid a small school that had explored getting a bank loan to cover expenses because their state payments had been delayed.

“When I took office, the commitment I made is that the Arizona Department of Education is a service organization committed to raising academic outcomes and empowering parents. On my first day on the job, I demonstrated my resolve to fulfill that mission. Delays and inefficiencies of this kind are unacceptable and won’t be repeated,” Superintendent Tom Horne said.

The department is also announcing that the ESA customer service phone lines at 602-364-1969 are now staffed every business day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as opposed to the previously limited schedule of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The department is also preparing to hire more staff out of the state legislature’s specific appropriation for ESAs to fill positions and serve customers more rapidly.

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