School choice continues to expand across the county. Earlier this week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation to broaden the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program to include the children of active military personnel. The law also makes students who attend failing public schools or school districts or those who have opted out of the state foster care system eligible for ESA. Under the original legislation, only special needs students were only eligible for ESA.
Parents who choose to withdraw their children from a public school district or charter district can receive up to 90 percent of state funding deposited in an ESA. Parents can use the funding for private school tuition, online courses , tutoring services, textbooks and even college expenses. ESA has no income requirements for families. According to the Arizona Department of Education, the average amount for students approved for the scholarship was $13,000.
Last year North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation to allow parents to claim a tax credit of up to $6,000 on the educational expenses of special needs students. The Department of Public Instruction estimates that 120,000 students will be eligible for the credit.