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My Response to an Erroneous Article on ESA Funds

The following is the response I wrote to the Maricopa Monitor in regards to their story on June 25 titled, "Pinal part of Arizona's private school voucher program debate". Just in case you missed it.

Photo by Roman Kraft

I am the principal of Maricopa Christian Academy in beautiful Maricopa, Arizona. This August will be the beginning of our fourth year of providing an excellent education to our community.

Many of the issues espoused by the article do not apply to our school. I will address three Our school is only for wealthy families. Second, being Christian limits who may choose to attend here. And third, even though our tuition of $8100 a year is not covered totally by ESA funds, no student or family is denied admission to our school because they are unable to make up the difference.

None of our families would be considered wealthy. All of our families are either running on two-parent incomes or single mothers supporting their families on one income. Families move to Maricopa, for that matter, all of Pinal County for the opportunity to buy a home that is less than the Valley proper with one-fourth of our families living in the desert homes surrounding Maricopa because housing costs are even less.

The issue of being a “religious” school limiting families who attend here is a contradiction. Before ESA funding only the wealthy could choose to leave a public state school or a public charter school. Families who believe children and their education is the responsibility of the parents had no choice but to daily send them to schools that did not share their values but put restrictions on them to even live and share those values. ESA funds allow families of all incomes to attend schools that support families in the training of their children with similar values.

Private schools like ours do not have equal funding with the public schools. Our ESA funds are set at 90% of the state funding for students in state schools. We do not have the opportunity to call for bond funding, an additional tax on our community. Private schools that receive ESA funds do not receive additional funds for transporting our students to school.

Private schools in Maricopa and Pinal County provide education opportunities while saving the state of Arizona and its taxpayers' money.

The ESA funds are never a guaranteed source of supporting the education of Arizona's children. It is a good idea, I think to be actively involved in monitoring falsehoods being said about it.

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