Are parents taking advantage of the AZ ESA voucher program?

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Critics of Arizona’s ESA voucher program now say parents are taking advantage of the program.

A year into the universal expansion of school vouchers in the state, parents are still exploring ways to personalize their children’s education with state money. There are now more than 69,500 students in the program, according to the most recent Department of Education data. Skis, snowboards and dog training classes are among the purchases that parents have made.

Marisol Garcia, President of the Arizona Education Association, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss what has been going on with the program.

“I think the reason why they try to call it savings accounts or scholarships is that it creates a specialized education system,” Garcia said. “We all know that our country was built on an educated populous.”

Garcia said parents can choose to take the money and give it to a private school and offset. Many are close to $15,000 a year. Homeschooling is another option for kids.

The money comes directly from taxpayers, and only 18 people are paid to oversee the program. Garcia said this is not nearly enough.

According to Garcia, there is no data to support the idea the program is actually helping families.

“Today, Chicago ended their program because they have no data to support that this is helping students with opportunities,” Garcia said.

Garcia is hoping to take away the voucher program in the future and refund public schools.

Marisol Garcia, President of the Arizona Education Association

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