Phoenix – For several weeks in a lead up to the new school year, Rep. Finchem has claimed that the Department of Education is intentionally ‘slow walking’ ESA applications – without regard to the fact that the legislature has underfunded the department.
The republican-run legislature has continued to devalue education, children, and the tax-dollars of hard-working Arizonans by underfunding the Department of Education for another year. This year alone the legislature gave the department 1.3 million instead of the 3.84 million the department requires to effectively run its programs.
The lack of funding has led to a backlog of Empowerment Scholarship Account applications with many families unsure of where their children will go to school. As reported by The Republic’s Laurie Roberts “Instead, Finchem and the rest of our leaders gave Hoffman just $1.3 million. Instead of the 18 employees needed to administer the growing ESA program, Hoffman has 10.”
The GOP can’t hide from their lack of leadership, the ongoing crisis is on their hands. Further, it has been well noted that the ESA program has been misused “[…] a state audit last fall found parents have misspent more than $700,000 via their state-issued ESA debit cards […]”
“It’s unconscionable that the majority party at the state legislature refuses to properly fund the Department of Education, which has caused delays in processing applications. Further, thorough oversight of taxpayer-funded ESA’s should be praised by so-called fiscal conservatives – yet Rep. Finchem is supporting a spending spree,” said Murphy Bannerman, ADLCC Communications Director