School Finance has received several questions about the impact of student enrollment and withdrawal on Empowerment Scholarship Account program eligibility. A few questions that have come up are how long it takes before the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is notified of student withdrawal from a public school, what is the process for notification of withdrawal, and what happens if a student that has been awarded an Empowerment Scholarship Account enrolls in public school. Please read the information below and feel free to pass this information on to registrars and others who may need this information, including parents who are requesting information about their child’s withdrawal.
The most common question that we have received is when ADE will be notified of student withdrawal from public school. Any time a student withdraws from a school, there will be a delay between when the withdrawal occurs and when that information is submitted to ADE. Each school district and charter records student data, including withdrawals, in their own Student Information System (SIS) and these systems can be set-up to submit data to ADE at different intervals. ARS 15-1042 specifies that a school district or charter is only required to submit student data to ADE electronically once every twenty school days, though in practice most districts and charter submit data more often. Regardless of the interval at which a school district or charter chooses to submit data, there will always be at least a day or two delay between when data is entered at a school and when it appears in ADE systems.
Please note: Districts and charters do not submit paper records of withdrawal to ADE. The information about the withdrawal is submitted through the district or charter Student Information System.
We have also received questions about students that have been awarded Empowerment Scholarship Accounts utilizing services from public schools. The ESA Parent Handbook explains scenarios in which an ESA student may enroll in public school and also the impact of improper enrollment. We suggest that district and charter staff encourage parents to work directly with the ADE ESA team as specific questions come up.
For more information about the Empowerment Scholarship Account program please visit the Empowerment Scholarship Account program website.