Horne disputes characterization of ESA program in governor’s memo
PHOENIX - Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has released the following statement in reaction to a governor’s memo regarding the Empowerment Scholarship Program:
Horne stated, “The Arizona Department of Education submitted a report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) on May 30th outlining our estimates for the number of students that will participate in the ESA program by the end of the 2024 Fiscal Year. On May 31st, John Ward and I held a news conference where all aspects of these estimates, including the methodology, were thoroughly discussed and scrutinized by members of the news media. This contradicts the contention that ADE was anything less than transparent in this process.
The projections we released are, ironically, almost exactly the same as those in the governor’s memo. There is a difference of only .008 percent between their numbers and ours. Questioning our methodology and our commitment to integrity in this process is unfair and unnecessary.
ADE is managing the Empowerment Scholarship Account program in accordance with the law. Under my Democrat predecessor, the law was not strictly followed, and ESA funds were used for non-educational purposes. One of my first acts when I took office was to hire John Ward from the Arizona Auditor General as the internal auditor for the Department of Education. He is now the director of the ESA program, and he is as committed as I am to making sure the law is strictly enforced and every penny is spent on valid educational purposes.”
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