Arizona has four private school choice programs (educational savings accounts, tax-credit scholarships). The state does have a charter school law, and it also enables public virtual schooling. Open enrollment exists, both for intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice.
Laws and Regulations Governing Private Schools
Both tax credit programs and vouchers are school choice options for Arizona. The Arizona Constitution contains Blaine Amendment language in two separate provisions, but Arizona state courts have interpreted neither expansively. In Kotterman, the Arizona Supreme Court definitively upheld the constitutionality of tuition tax credits.
Given its strong adherence to federal precedent on Establishment Clause issues, the court is also likely to uphold a religiously neutral voucher program. It has already held that the state can contract with a religious organization for public services without improperly aiding the organization’s religious mission. In addition, the Arizona Supreme Court has viewed the “uniformity” language of its education article (Article XI, Section 1) as establishing a floor for adequacy below which districts may not go, but permitting programs that go further.
–Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)
School Choice Programs
Enacted 2012 • Launched 2012
Arizona’s “switcher” tax-credit scholarship program supplements its original individual tax-credit
scholarship program. The switcher program provides a credit on individual income taxes for donations
to School Tuition Organizations (STOs), nonprofits...
Enacted 2011 • Launched 2011
Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program allows parents to withdraw their
children from public, district, or charter schools and receive a portion of their public funding deposited
into an account with defined, but multiple, uses,...
Enacted 2009 • Launched 2009
Arizona allows corporations to receive tax credits for donating to School Tuition Organizations (STOs),
nonprofits that provide private school scholarships to children with special needs and students who
are currently, or have been at any time, part of...
Enacted 2006 • Launched 2006
Arizona provides a credit on corporate income taxes for C-Corporations for donations to School Tuition
Organizations (STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. STOs receiving donations
for this program must award scholarships to...
Enacted 1997 • Launched 1997
Arizona provides a credit on individual income taxes for donations to School Tuition Organizations
(STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. In the 2014 tax year, individual taxpayers
contributing to STOs may claim a...
Is regulatory creep a fate that awaits all school choice programs? With the number of those programs doubling over the past five years, the need for context and understanding is critical.
This report provides a framework for understanding the...
Thousands of families across the country, in states like Florida, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, are using school vouchers to access private schools for their children. Thousands more in other states, like Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Georgia, are choosing...
As parental choice in education takes root in more communities throughout the U.S., education savings accounts (ESAs) have taken on greater importance as the funding mechanism for customized learning. This is especially true in Arizona. The state’s...
Education savings accounts are the way of the future. Under such accounts—managed by parents with state supervision to ensure accountability—parents can use their children’s education funding to choose among public and private schools,...
The recent explosion of educational innovation has focused primarily on creating wholly new models of what a school can be. From KIPP to Carpe Diem, education is entering a revolutionary period driven by the reinvention of the entire school rather than...
This study analyzes and explains Arizona’s school funding system. It finds that Arizona spends between $8,500 and $9,000 on each student in public schools, but students using private-school scholarships funded through the tax code receive only...