Fact: Education choice programs can be designed with transparency and accountability measures in place so that parents are accountable for their expenditures.
“In reality, there are several ways that education choice programs can be structured to prevent abuse. A program can require annual audits of accounts and enable the state attorney general to investigate allegations of fraud regarding scholarship funds. Proper use of funding could also be ensured by contracting with a neutral third-party vendor to administer and monitor the accounts. Online platforms like ClassWallet, the financial management platform used to administer Arizona’s ESA program, can be used to ensure that parents select only from a list of pre-approved services, products, and providers.
A study of Arizona’s ESA program, the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program, found that while some misspending was identified, it amounted to only 1% of the $60 million spent. . . . In addition, the study revealed that most of these unapproved uses were the result of innocent parental error. In these cases, parents mistakenly thought the expenditures were approved, and the money was recoverable.
Misspending of taxpayer dollars should never be tolerated. But the experience of education choice programs across the country shows that intentional abuse can be prevented through legislative safeguards and that innocent misspending can be recouped and resolved.”
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