The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 54th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 55th Legislature, 1st Regular Session, which convenes in January 2021.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
15-2403. Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts; administration; appeals; audit; rules; policy handbook
A. The treasurer may contract with private financial management firms to manage Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts.
B. The department shall conduct or contract for annual audits of Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts to ensure compliance with section 15-2402, subsection B, paragraph 4. The department shall also conduct or contract for random, quarterly and annual audits of Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts as needed to ensure compliance with section 15-2402, subsection B, paragraph 4.
C. The department may remove any parent or qualified student from eligibility for an Arizona empowerment scholarship account if the parent or qualified student fails to comply with the terms of the contract or applicable laws, rules or orders or knowingly misuses monies or knowingly fails to comply with the terms of the contract with intent to defraud and shall notify the treasurer. The department shall notify the treasurer to suspend the account of a parent or qualified student and shall notify the parent or qualified student in writing that the account has been suspended and that no further transactions will be allowed or disbursements made. The notification shall specify the reason for the suspension and state that the parent or qualified student has ten days, not including weekends, to respond and take corrective action. If the parent or qualified student refuses or fails to contact the department, furnish any information or make any report that may be required for reinstatement within the ten-day period, the department may remove the parent or qualified student pursuant to this subsection.
D. A parent may appeal to the state board of education any administrative decision the department makes pursuant to this article, including determinations of allowable expenses, removal from the program or enrollment eligibility. The department shall notify the parent in writing that the parent may appeal any administrative decision under this article and the process by which the parent may appeal at the same time the department notifies the parent of an administrative decision under this article. The state board of education shall establish an appeals process, and the department shall post this information on the department's website in the same location as the policy handbook developed pursuant to subsection J of this section.
E. The state board of education may refer cases of substantial misuse of monies to the attorney general for the purpose of collection or for the purpose of a criminal investigation if the state board of education obtains evidence of fraudulent use of an account.
F. The department shall make quarterly transfers of the amount calculated pursuant to section 15-2402, subsection C to the treasurer for deposit in the Arizona empowerment scholarship account of each qualified student, except the department may make transfers according to another transfer schedule if the department determines a transfer schedule other than quarterly transfers is necessary to operate the Arizona empowerment scholarship account.
G. The department shall accept applications between July 1 and June 30 of each year. The department shall enroll and issue an award letter to eligible applicants within forty-five days after receipt of a completed application and all required documentation. On or before May 30 of each year, the department shall furnish to the joint legislative budget committee an estimate of the amount required to fund Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts for the following fiscal year. The department shall include in its budget request for the following fiscal year the amount estimated pursuant to section 15-2402, subsection C for each qualified student.
H. The state board of education may adopt rules and policies necessary to administer Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts, including rules and policies:
1. For establishing an appeals process pursuant to subsection D of this section.
2. For conducting or contracting for examinations of the use of account monies.
3. For conducting or contracting for random, quarterly and annual reviews of accounts.
4. For establishing or contracting for the establishment of an online anonymous fraud reporting service.
5. For establishing an anonymous telephone hotline for fraud reporting.
6. That require a surety bond or insurance for account holders.
I. The department shall contract with an independent third party for the purposes of determining whether a qualified student is eligible to receive educational therapies or services pursuant to section 15-2402, subsection B, paragraph 4, subdivision (c).
J. On or before July 1 of each year, the department shall develop an applicant and participant handbook that includes information relating to policies and processes of Arizona empowerment scholarship accounts. The policy handbook shall comply with the rules adopted by the state board of education pursuant to this section. the department shall post the handbook on its website.