In a recent op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal entitled “School Choice Saves Arizona Money,” the authors Jason Bedrick and Corey DeAngelis accurately highlight three essential points about the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program: ESAs save the state money, cost less per student compared to public schools, and cost a fraction of what the state spends on education overall.

The article underlines that the introduction of universal ESAs has led to a significant number of students transitioning from the public school system to other forms of education. This results in cost savings for the state. As the authors note:

“Many of the students that are enrolling now are coming from the public school system, which in the end saves the state money.”

The typical ESA award is about half of the $14,000 cost of educating a student in a district public school, and parents get to choose which educational option best suits their family’s needs. The authors state:

“With an ESA, parents can use a portion of their child’s state education funds – typically about $8000 a year – to pay for private-school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, online courses, home-school curricula, special-needs therapy and other expenses… Arizona public schools spend about $14,000 per pupil, or $1.4 billion for 100,000 students.”

The authors also correctly identify that the cost of universal ESAs is a tiny fraction of Arizona’s total expenditures:

“That $900 million is barely 2% of the total Arizona state spending of the $80.5 billion in 2022.”

You can read the entire article from the Wall Street Journal here.

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