Arizona Department of Education—Department Oversees Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program Spending, but Should Strengthen its Oversight and Continue to Improve Other Aspects of Program Administration
The Arizona Department of Education (Department)—Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program (Program) provides state education monies to parents to pay for the educational expenses of their children who are not attending public schools and who meet statutory eligibility criteria. Statute also prescribes the educational expenditures that parents can make. The Department has established processes for distributing program monies and helping to ensure these monies are spent as required by statute but should further strengthen oversight of program spending. In addition, the Legislature should consider establishing a work group to determine if statutory changes are needed to further ensure appropriate spending of program monies. The Department should also continue to improve its eligibility determination process, complete its development and implementation of policies and procedures for safeguarding sensitive and personally identifiable information, and use its newly implemented information technology system to better manage program data.