Tip of the Week


October 14th, 2016

Year-Round Applications and 100-Day Eligibility

Although applications are now accepted year-round, students must still meet the 100-day requirement. Per A.R.S. § 15-2401(7)(b), students must have attended an Arizona public or charter school for the first 100 days of the prior school year, or student must have received an School Tuition Organization (STO) for Displaced and Disabled or Lexie’s Law and had 90 membership days or one semester of enrollment before receiving an ESA scholarship.

For online school requirements please see A.R.S. § 15-2401 (7)(b)(i).

The 100 days cannot be reached by combining days for the current and past school year. The 100 days requirement does not apply to incoming kindergarteners, active military, or students with legal guardians killed in the line of duty (military).

  • Example 1: You are applying for (2017-2018) ESA funding for your student, who currently attends public school, and the 100th day of the current school year occurs on 01/21/2017. – Student meets the 100 day requirement for funding during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Example 2:You are applying for the current school year (2016-2017) ESA funding for your student and the student did not attend public school the prior year(2015-2016). The student is currently enrolled in public school and has met/will meet the 100 day requirement for the current school year. This student would not meet the 100 day requirement for (2016-2017) ESA funds, but will meet the requirement for 2017-2018 ESA funding. Student must have attended public school for the first 100 days of the prior school year to qualify.
  • Example 3: Student attended public school from 02/01/2016-05/30/2016 and then attended public school again from 08/02/2016-11/15/2016. In this case, the 100 day requirement is not met for the prior year; thus the student is not eligible to receive 2016-2017 ESA funds. Student must have attended public school for the first 100 days of the prior school year to qualify.
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September 9th, 2016

Quarter 1 Expense Reports

We have been busy receiving Quarter 1 expense reports!

Please keep in mind, that if your student only attends private school, filling out the Private School Only paperwork reduces your report to two pages. Even if your student has a disability, if your only expenses are private school (and private school related), it is encouraged to use the Private School Only form.

For those who make multiple payments per quarter for tutors, educational therapists, etc., please make separate entries for each time the card was swiped. The new online system is designed to work with bank data and date ranges are not compatible. The Department will be manually entering Quarter 1 expense reports into the system and will require a specific date for each individual payment.

Posted in Expense Reports, Tip of the Week | Tagged |
September 7th, 2016

PayPal

When using PayPal, select Pay or Send Money at the top of the screen, followed by Pay for goods or services:
paypal2

Do not select Send money to Friends and Family since that is a method of transferring money to friends and family, when in actuality, the ESA funds are used for purchasing a service.

This will be added to the handbook in the coming weeks under the next revision.

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August 12th, 2016

Credentials – Policy change

In effort to streamline processes and minimize the delay of services to your child, ESA will no longer require parent(s)/legal guardian(s)to submit credentials for pre-approvals for therapists, tutors, and paraprofessionals.

Please review the following revised statue for additional guidance:

    Arizona Revised Statue §15-2402 Section 4, Part C and Part D, ESA funds can be spent on a “qualified student” for:
    (c) Educational therapies or services from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider, including licensed or accredited paraprofessionals or educational aides, if the qualified student meets any of the criteria specified in section 15-2401, paragraph 6, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii) or (iii) as determined by a school district or by an independent third party pursuant to section 15-2403, subsection I.
    (d) Tutoring or teaching services provided by an individual or facility accredited by a state, regional or national accrediting organization.

Parents will be accountable for ensuring that the service provider complies with statute, as stated above, to confirm they have the appropriate credentials for their services and that they are educational.

The ESA Handbook is currently being updated to reflect this change; the revised version will be published on the website in the coming weeks.
Please note a copy of the credentials will be requested during submission of your expense reports to related expenses.

If you have any questions or need support, please do not hesitate to contact the ESA Team .

Posted in Approved Expenses, Credentials, Therapy, Tip of the Week, Tutors | Tagged , , , , |
August 12th, 2016

Curriculum – What is Accepted

In effort to streamline processes and minimize the delay of services to your child, ESA will no longer require parent(s)/legal guardian(s)to submit curriculum for pre-approvals.

Please review the following revised statues for additional guidance:

  • Arizona Revised Statue §15-2401(1): “Curriculum means a complete course of study for content areas or grade levels, including any supplemental materials required by the curriculum, approved by the department.”
  • Arizona Revised Statue §15-2402(B)(1): A qualified parent of a qualified student must agree to the following: “use a portion of the empowerment scholarship account monies allocated each quarter to provide an education for the qualified student in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science, unless the empowerment scholarship account is allocated monies according to a transfer schedule other than quarterly transfers pursuant to section 15-2403, subsection F.”

When purchasing curriculum, parents will now be required to follow a three-part curriculum test by applying the steps outlined below.

Part 1: Grade Level Test

  1. Does the curriculum clearly state that it is for a specific grade level/age?
    • Yes: Continue to Part 1, Question 2
    • No: Continue to Part 2, Question 1
  2. Is the curriculum grade appropriate (within 1-2 grade levels of the student)?
    • Yes: Curriculum is likely to meet this requirement. Continue to Part 2 if the curriculum is for a specific content area/subject.
    • No: Curriculum is likely to not meet this requirement.
      • If curriculum falls outside the recommended grade-level range (within 1-2 grade levels student) and you believe it is appropriate for your child due to need, this should not prevent you from purchasing the curriculum.

Part 2: Content Area/Subject Test

  1. Is the curriculum in one of the following core subjects: Reading, Grammar, Mathematics, Social Studies or Science?
    • Yes: Curriculum is likely to meet this requirement. Continue to Part 3 if supplemental materials are required by the curriculum.
    • No: Curriculum may still meet this requirement- please continue to Part 2, Question 2
  2. Is the curriculum for another academic subject, like History or Geography?
    • Yes: Curriculum is likely to meet this requirement. Continue to Part 3 if supplemental materials are required by the curriculum.
    • No: Curriculum may still meet this requirement – please continue to Part 2, Question 3
  3. Is the curriculum for extra-curricular subjects? Please consider the following before purchasing with ESA Funds:
    • Is the curriculum for the extra-curricular activity a school subject?
      • The department allows parents to make decisions on purchasing curriculum for extra-curricular subjects; however we reserve the right to decline them if their cost far exceeds the purchases made for academic curriculum each contract year. A.R.S §15-2402(B)(1)
        • For example, if you spend $1,000 on curriculum during the school year, purchases of core/academic subjects should make up 60%, or $600, of your curriculum purchases. The remaining 40%, or $400, in curriculum purchases could then be for extra-curricular subjects.

Part 3: Required Supplemental Material

Often, curricula may require additional materials. Per A.R.S. §15-2401(1), supplemental materials are approved if explicitly required by the curriculum and not specifically disallowed in ESA statute (A.R.S. §15-2401 through A.R.S. §15-2404).

  1. Does the curriculum explicitly require or recommend the supplemental material?
    • Yes: Supplemental material is likely to meet this requirement. Additional documentation will be required during submission of your quarterly Expense Report. Please refer to the following question.
    • No: Supplemental material may not meet this requirement however, this should not prevent you from buying the material if it bests fits the needs for your child.
  2. Is the purchase of the supplemental materials reasonable? Please consider the following before purchasing with ESA Funds:
    • The cost of the supplemental materials shall be reasonable. We advise parents to obtain 2- 3 quotes prior to purchasing the item to ensure the cost of item itself is within reason.
      • For example: If the curriculum requires a $20.00 microscope and a purchase is made for a $400.00 microscope, the expense will NOT be approved.
    • The cost of the supplemental material should not exceed the cost of the curriculum.
      • For example: If the curriculum costs $500 and requires a telescope as a supplemental material, the purchase of a $5,000 telescope will NOT be approved.

    If you have any questions or need support, please do not hesitate to contact the ESA Team.

Posted in Approved Expenses, Curriculum, Tip of the Week |