House Engrossed Senate Bill
State of Arizona
First Regular Session
SENATE BILL 1363
amending sections 15‑2401 and 15‑2402, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to arizona empowerment scholarship accounts.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 15-2401, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. "Curriculum" means a complete course of study for a particular content area or grade level, including any supplemental materials required by the curriculum.
2. "Department" means the department of education.
3. "Eligible postsecondary institution" means a community college as defined in section 15‑1401, a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents or an accredited private postsecondary institution.
4. "Parent" means a resident of this state who is the parent or legal guardian of a qualified student.
5. "Qualified school" means a nongovernmental primary or secondary school or a preschool for handicapped students that is located in this state and that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin.
6. "Qualified student" means a resident of this state who:
(a) Is, or if the child is currently eligible to attend kindergarten, the department determines would be, any of the following:
(i) Identified as having a disability under section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973 (29 United States Code section 794).
(ii) Identified by a school district as a child with a disability as defined in section 15‑761.
(iii) A child with a disability who is eligible to receive services from a school district under section 15‑763.
(iv) Attending a school or school district that has been assigned a letter grade of D or F pursuant to section 15‑241.
(v) A previous recipient of a scholarship issued pursuant to section 15‑891 or this section.
(vi) A child of a parent who is a member of the armed forces of the United States and who is on active duty.
(vii) A child with a guardian who is a member of the armed forces of the United States and who is on active duty.
(viii) A child who is a ward of the juvenile court and who is residing with a prospective permanent placement pursuant to section 8-862 and the case plan is adoption or permanent guardianship.
(ix) A child who was a ward of the juvenile court and who achieved permanency through adoption or permanent guardianship.
(b) And who did meets any of the following requirements:
(i) Attended a governmental primary or secondary school as a full-time student as defined in section 15‑901 for at least the first one hundred days of the prior fiscal year and who transferred from a governmental primary or secondary school under a contract to participate in an empowerment scholarship account.
(ii) Previously participated in the empowerment scholarship account program.
(iii) Received a scholarship under section 43‑1505 and who continues to attend a qualified school.
(iv) Was eligible for an Arizona scholarship for pupils with disabilities and received monies from a school tuition organization pursuant to section 43‑1505 or received an Arizona scholarship for pupils with disabilities but did not receive monies from a school tuition organization pursuant to section 43‑1505 and who continues to attend a qualified school.
(v) Has not previously attended a governmental primary or secondary school but is currently eligible to enroll in a kindergarten program in a school district or charter school in this state.
7. "Treasurer" means the office of the state treasurer.
Sec. 2. Section 15-2402, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
15-2402. Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts; funds
A. Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts are established to provide options for the education of students in this state.
B. To enroll a qualified student for an empowerment scholarship account, the parent of the qualified student must sign an agreement to do all of the following:
1. Provide an education for the qualified student in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science.
2. Not enroll the qualified student in a school district or charter school and release the school district from all obligations to educate the qualified student. This paragraph does not relieve the school district or charter school that the qualified student previously attended from the obligation to conduct an evaluation pursuant to section 15‑766.
3. Not accept a scholarship from a school tuition organization pursuant to title 43 concurrently with an empowerment scholarship account for the qualified student in the same year a parent signs the agreement pursuant to this section.
4. Use the money deposited in the qualified student's Arizona empowerment scholarship account only for the following expenses of the qualified student:
(a) Tuition or fees at a qualified school.
(b) Textbooks required by a qualified school.
(c) Educational therapies or services for the qualified student from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider, including licensed or accredited paraprofessionals or educational aides.
(d) Tutoring services provided by a tutor accredited by a state, regional or national accrediting organization.
(f) Tuition or fees for a nonpublic online learning program.
(g) Fees for a nationally standardized norm-referenced achievement test, advanced placement examinations or any exams related to college or university admission.
(h) Contributions to a qualified tuition program established pursuant to 26 United States Code section 529 for the benefit of the qualified student.
(i) Tuition or fees at an eligible postsecondary institution.
(j) Textbooks required by an eligible postsecondary institution.
(k) Fees for management of the empowerment scholarship account by firms selected by the treasurer.
(l) Services provided by a public school, including individual classes and extracurricular programs.
5. Not file an affidavit of intent to homeschool pursuant to section 15‑802, subsection B, paragraph 2 or 3.
6. Not use monies deposited in the qualified student's account for any of the following:
(a) Computer hardware or other technological devices.
(b) Transportation of the pupil.
(c) Consumable educational supplies, including paper, pens or markers.
C. In exchange for the parent's agreement pursuant to subsection B of this section, the department shall transfer from the monies that would otherwise be allocated to a recipient's prior school district, or if the child is currently eligible to attend kindergarten, the monies that the department determines would otherwise be allocated to a recipient's expected school district of attendance, to the treasurer for deposit into an Arizona empowerment scholarship account an amount that is equivalent to ninety per cent of the sum of the base support level and additional assistance prescribed in section 15‑943 sections 15‑185 and 15-943 for that particular student if that student were attending a charter school. The department may retain up to five per cent of the sum of the base support level and additional assistance prescribed in section 15‑943 sections 15‑185 and 15-943 for each student with an empowerment scholarship account for deposit in the department of education empowerment scholarship account fund established in subsection D of this section, out of which the department shall transfer one per cent of the sum of the base support level and additional assistance prescribed in section 15‑943 sections 15‑185 and 15-943 for each student with an empowerment scholarship account to the state treasurer for deposit in the state treasurer empowerment scholarship account fund established in subsection E of this section.
D. The department of education empowerment scholarship account fund is established consisting of monies retained by the department pursuant to subsection C of this section. The department shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund are subject to legislative appropriation. Monies in the fund shall be used for the department's costs in administering empowerment scholarship accounts under this chapter. Monies in the fund are exempt from the provisions of section 35‑190 relating to lapsing of appropriations. If the number of empowerment scholarship accounts significantly increases after fiscal year 2012‑2013, the department may request an increase in the amount appropriated to the fund in any subsequent fiscal year in the budget estimate submitted pursuant to section 35‑113.
E. The state treasurer empowerment scholarship account fund is established consisting of monies transferred by the department to the state treasurer pursuant to subsection C of this section. The state treasurer shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund shall be used for the state treasurer's costs in administering the empowerment scholarship accounts under this chapter. If the number of empowerment scholarship accounts significantly increases after fiscal year 2013‑2014, the state treasurer may request an increase in the amount appropriated to the fund in any subsequent fiscal year in the budget estimate submitted pursuant to section 35‑113. Monies in the fund are subject to legislative appropriation. Monies in the fund are exempt from the provisions of section 35‑190 relating to lapsing of appropriations.
F. A parent must renew the qualified student's empowerment scholarship account on an annual basis. Notwithstanding any changes to the student's multidisciplinary evaluation team plan, a student who has previously qualified for an empowerment scholarship account shall remain eligible to apply for renewal until the student finishes high school.
G. A signed agreement under this section constitutes school attendance required by section 15‑802.
H. A qualified school or a provider of services purchased pursuant to subsection B, paragraph 4 of this section may not share, refund or rebate any Arizona empowerment scholarship account monies with the parent or qualified student in any manner.
I. On the qualified student's graduation from a postsecondary institution or after any period of four consecutive years after high school graduation in which the student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution, the qualified student's Arizona empowerment scholarship account shall be closed and any remaining funds shall be returned to the state.
J. Monies received pursuant to this article do not constitute taxable income to the parent of the qualified student.
Sec. 3. New empowerment scholarship accounts authorized in 2014 through 2019; delayed repeal
A. During 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the number of new empowerment scholarship accounts approved by the department of education each year shall not exceed 0.5 per cent of the total number of pupils enrolled in school districts and charter schools in this state during the previous school year.
B. This section is repealed from and after December 31, 2019.