Education Choice Victory

June 9, 2009 by  

Students with disabilities will again have access to the education that best meets their needs  —  Thanks to Governor Brewer’s call for a Special Session to fasttrack legislation rescuing about 500 students with disabilities whose education options were ruled unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court in March. 

Center for Arizona Policy reports in part: Last week Governor Jan Brewer signed Lexie’s Law, creating a new corporate tax credit to provide scholarships for students with special needs to attend schools of their parents’ choosing. “This is a good day to celebrate as we do good things for these children,” said Governor Brewer as she signed the bill.

The bill will take effect at the end of August, just in time for school starting in the fall. Because of this new program, students with disabilities and in foster care will be able to receive scholarships through donations from corporations and insurance companies.

The Institute for Justice reports the corporate tax credit scholarships will save the State of Arizona an estimated $57.2 million over the life of the program, or an average of $11.4 million annually. This means the state could educate many more students at a private school than what the state would have spent had they remained in the public school system.

Additionally, the bill gives current students the ability to stay in the schools they currently attend, and parents with limited options will now have enhanced options in sending their child to a school that best fits their child’s educational needs.

Democrats have instead decided to take a vulnerable population and use them as political pawns to attack Republicans for a budget crisis due largely to the last several Democratic budgets that obligated the state to permanent spending the state could never afford.
Not only should we be finding ways to save the state money as in the case of HB 2001, but we should also look to find ways to enact good policy, another benefit of HB 2001. Unfortunately this program is capped at $5 million when there are approximately 120,000 students who could potentially qualify for and benefit from this program.

See the Arizona House Republican website for more: http://www.azhouserepublicans.com/files/category-education.html

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