Representative Maria Syms Releases Statement on ESA Vote

April 7, 2017
Arizona House of Representatives

Representative Maria Syms (R-28) released the following statement regarding her vote in favor of SB 1431. The bill expands the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program and adds more fiscal responsibility, academic accountability, and transparency to the program.

"I am proud to have fought for amendments to SB 1431 to protect our public schools while giving parents a choice," said Rep. Syms. "The bill phases in expansion and puts a firm cap on the current program’s unlimited expansion, and it gives the Arizona Department of Education the tools it needs to make the program transparent and accountable to the public."

"SB 1431 puts educational choices where they belong: in the hands of parents and students. By empowering parents and creating more opportunities for students, Arizona kids can find the schools that best fit their needs. I applaud the Legislature for taking action and thank Governor Ducey for signing it into law."

Major components of the bill include:

  • Phased-in expansion of ESA opportunities to all Arizona public school students.

  • Requirement that ESA students in grades 3-12 annually take an assessment that measures their educational proficiencies.

  • Requirement that the Arizona Department of Education openly disclose all expenditures made as part of the ESA program.

  • Opportunities for all income levels by extending additional resources to families 250% or below the federal poverty level.

  • Continued limitations on enrollment in the program to allow for reasonable and predictable growth.