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What's Going On Right Now

TIME FOR ACTION: Save our School Choice

As you likely have heard, Governor Hobbs released her budget proposal earlier this year. Several of her points are summarized here:

  • Implements a requirement that students receiving an ESA must have previously attended a public school for at least 100 days at any point during their K-12 education.
  • Repeals Universal ESA beginning in fiscal year 2025.
  • Repeals the entire Student Tuition Organization (STO) income tax credit beginning in tax year 2025.  

For over 25 years, School Tuition Organizations (STOs) have helped thousands of students attend a private school of their choice because of the Private School Tax Credit Laws – Governor Hobbs wants to take this away from them! Many of these students would never have had the opportunity to receive a private school education if it were not for the scholarships they received from the STOs.

We believe that EVERY student deserves to be in a learning environment that best meets their needs so they can succeed and parents are the ones who should make those decisions, whether that is public school or private school.

How to Take Action:

  • Write or call your Legislators and urge them to oppose the proposed changes to the ESA and STO programs. Share your personal stories – they really do make a difference. If you do not know who your legislator is for your zip code, you can find it here.
  • When you go to the ballot box in November, make sure you know where the candidates stand on the issue of School Choice. If Parental Choice and student success is important to you, please vote for candidates that support School Choice.

STAY is a member of the Arizona School Tuition Organization Association (ASTOA) who promotes and defends Arizona’s private school choice programs and the thousands of families that depend on them by educating the community and by providing mentorship, resources, and critical support to Arizona’s STOs.

Our voices need to be heard and we need to come together to support school choice so parents can continue to decide what is the best academic environment for their students. 

For more information visit SAVE SCHOOL CHOICE here.


SEE YOUR DONATIONS HARD AT WORK in our community through Environmental Stewardship:

Fueled by the support of generous corporations who fund STAY, like you, these young environmentalists collected trash, planted 15 trees, and created lasting memories. Your contributions made it possible for them to be part of something truly special.

The trees they planted will stand tall for years to come, providing shade, oxygen, and habitat for wildlife. Each sapling represents hope for a greener future, a legacy that will outlast us all.

Thank you for continuing to support students in Yuma with your tax credit donations so they can continue to flourish in our community!


New Report: Private Schools Keep Tuition Low as Arizona ESAs Cover Up to 100% of Cost

Just days after Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced a plan to toss tens of thousands of families off the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program, a new Goldwater Institute report finds that universal ESAs have successfully made private education affordable to all families, regardless of income.

Indeed, contrary to the narrative of Gov. Hobbs and her acolytes—who have proposed a government takeover of tuition rates after accusing Arizona private schools of “price gouging” families—new findings reveal that the state’s private school providers have kept tuition rates far lower than the cost of public school per pupil. Additionally, ESAs now cover nearly 100% of tuition at the majority of private schools throughout the state. Among other findings, moreover, private school tuition rates have risen less amid ESA expansion than have the costs to taxpayers of public schools—all as explored in the new report:  Universal Opportunity: How Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) Defied Critics and Unleashed Affordable Private Education for All, Part I.

Indeed, through an analysis of over 160 private schools operating before and after the 2022 expansion of Arizona’s ESA program, this report offers the first direct, substantive analysis of the impact of universal ESA eligibility on the affordability of private education. Specifically, among its key findings, this report documents the following:

  • The typical ESA award covers nearly 100% of tuition at the majority of private elementary and middle schools in Arizona. The baseline ESA award level of $7,000+ per child compares to the median elementary and middle school tuition rate of $7,400 as of 2023-2024.
  • Private schools in Arizona did not significantly increase their tuition rates in response to the universal ESA expansion. After accounting for the U.S. inflation rate over the same period, median private school tuition rates rose yearly between 0.25% and 1.25% (depending on grade level) in real terms over the course of the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years. Compared to the Phoenix metro area inflation rate, median private school tuition rates actually declined in real terms over the same period.
  • Tuition rates at Arizona private schools rose less than per-pupil spending at Arizona public schools in response to universal ESA expansion. Despite claims that ESAs would trigger dramatic tuition inflation among private schools, it is public schools that have continued to raise the costs of education most rapidly. Comparing pre- and post-universal ESA expansion, the median private elementary and middle school tuition increase over two years ($1,050) is significantly less than the officially projected increase ($1,500) in per-pupil spending on Arizona public schools over the same period.
  • Universal ESA expansion dramatically increased the affordability of private education for middle class and lower-income families. For each newly eligible ESA participant, a family can now receive over $7,000 of annual award funding to put toward private education, compared to a national inflation-driven increase in Arizona private school tuition of just $1,050 over the past two years.
  • ESAs and private education remain significantly less costly to state taxpayers than the public school system at all grade school levels. The typical ESA award (over $7,000) and the median private elementary and middle school tuition rates ($7,400) are several thousand dollars less than taxpayers’ per-pupil spending on Arizona public schools (over $14,000).
  • Various private schools explicitly advertise their tuition rates as less than the state’s baseline ESA award amount, ensuring parents have additional ESA funds to put toward extra tutoring, transportation, or other supplementary uses for their children.
  • Universal ESAs have already led to the establishment of new high-quality educational offerings, including multiple new campuses operated by one of the state’s highest academically performing public K-12 charter networks, Great Hearts.

ESA opponents have suggested that children should be restricted to government-operated schooling options unless their families can independently buy their way out of them. Failing that, ESA opponents have sought to bring private school providers under the control of the state—subject to the same artificial barriers to quality erected by teachers unions and their allies that have kept America’s educational achievement stagnant for decades.

But now, thanks to the growth of universal school choice in Arizona and across the nation, students and their families have access to high-quality, private education without the financial barriers they have faced for so long.

January 22, 2024



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Protecting School Choice Options

Dear STAY and other STO Families, Alumni, Students, and Supporters, 

As many of you know, Governor Hobbs’ budget proposal for the upcoming 2024-2025 fiscal year could potentially eliminate Tax Credits and ESA Funding. This would be devastating to many, many families in our communities who rely on STO credits and ESA funding to provide school choice for their student(s).

You can help give these students a voice, who rely on Arizona school choice opportunities. Because, when the children in our communities thrive, we all win.

We urge you to do the following to keep School Choice available for all students:

  1. Sign this petition: Advocate for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and STOs
  2. Write or call (602-542-4331) Governor Hobbs to share your personal story and ask her to reconsider her proposed changes.  Explain what opportunities School Choice has provided for your student and how that was made possible by using either the ESA or Tax Credits. 
  3. Write or call your Legislators in District 23 & 25 and urge them to oppose changes to the ESA and STO programs: 
  1. Representative Mariana Sandoval (602) 926-3740
  2. Representative Michele Peña (602) 926-3696
  3. Senator Brian Fernandez  (602) 926-3098
  4. Representative Sine Kerr  (602) 926-5955
  5. Representative Timothy Dunn  602-926-4139
  6. Representative Micheal Carbone  602-926-4038 

Parents should have the right to choose how their child is educated without the cost of tuition being a barrier. Thank you for supporting School Choice in Yuma and the students that we serve at STAY!

Will Katie Hobbs Take Down Arizona’s Expanded School Choice Program?


The governor wants to roll it back, but she doesn’t have the votes.

EMMA CAMP | 1.23.2023 1:00 PM

Arizona’s newly sworn-in governor has repeatedly said that she wants to reverse the state’s expansion of its school-choice program, arguing that Arizona should instead increase funding to public schools. But the program seems safe for now.

In July, Arizona expanded its Education Savings Account (ESA) system, creating the largest school choice program in the nation. Any child who opts out of public school will receive around $7,000 per year to use toward private-school tuition, a homeschooling curriculum, tutoring, or other expenses. Previously, this funding had been available only for students who met certain requirements, such as having a disability, attending a low-performing school, or living on an Indian reservation.

“This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools,” then-Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted after he signed the plan into law. “Arizona is cemented as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them.”

Hobbs doesn’t have the same warm feelings. “This voucher system we are under now doesn’t provide real choice in educational opportunity for most families,” Hobbs claimed in an October PBS interview. “It diverts resources from public schools.” In her recent State of the State address, she even argued that ESAs “will likely bankrupt the state.”

In fact, the Common Sense Institute has argued compellingly that the program will save money. While the state spends more than $12,000 per student in public schools, a typical ESA award is jus $7,000 for non-disabled students. The savings gained from reduced attendance at public schools means that “policymakers can still expect net aggregate statewide education cost savings of over $274 million,” the institute concludes.

“Opponents claim that ESAs ‘siphon’ or steal money from a student’s local public school each time a child opts for an ESA,” writes Matt Beienburg, director of education policy at the Goldwater Institute. “But in reality, under the ESA program, funding simply follows the student, just like it already does for charter and district schools via the state’s ‘open enrollment’ system.” Beienburg argues that “the financial impact to a child’s local school is virtually identical.”

In any event, Hobbs doesn’t have the votes to repeal the measure. Her budget plan defunds the program, but Republicans narrowly control the Arizona legislature and they have made it clear that they won’t accept that. (House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci recently included attacks on school choice in a list of ideas he declared “non-starters.”) Hobbs can’t even use her line-item veto powers to defund the progran, because it is—to quote Jason Bedrick and Corey DeAngelis, writing last week in The Wall Street Journal—”funded by formula tied to money for public schools.”

That may be better not just for students but for Hobbs’ political fortunes. “A Morning Consult tracking poll this month found 67% of Arizonans and 77% of parents with school-aged children support ESAs,” Bedrick and DeAngelis note. “Enrollment has surged to 45,000 from 10,000 since the expansion. Even Ms. Hobbs should think twice before alienating these constituents.”

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