Arizona Department of Education approves 25,000 overdue ESA requests in 1st week under Horne

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - 5:50pm
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2023 - 9:05am

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Tom Horne
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Tom Horne

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne gave his State of Education address Wednesday afternoon. 

Addressing the Senate Education Committee, Horne repeated his priorities of bringing traditional discipline back to classrooms, improving test scores and having armed police officers in every school.

Turning to the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program, Horne said his office has approved about 25,000 overdue school voucher requests from parents.

“There were 171,000 parents who had applied and who had not heard back, some of them for many months," Horne said. "There were tutors who had serious financial problems because they hadn’t been paid. We had a school that was in the process of applying for a loan because it couldn’t pay its bills.” 

Last year's school voucher expansion bill makes every Arizona student eligible for state funds to attend a private, parochial or home school.

Horne said his office will continue reviewing applications and is offering help over the phone during more hours of the day.

“Before we took office, the phones were open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They’re now open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’re gonna be sure every parent who needs service is gonna get the service and get prompt responses and every supplier who deserves to be paid will be paid promptly," Horne said.

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