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Military family plans to sue Arizona Department of Education

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — A military family plans to sue the Arizona Department of Education, saying it failed to deposit money into their Empowerment Scholarship Account on time.

The family filed a notice of claim that states they had to spend money to cover their son’s educational services for the second quarter of this school year, because the ESA account was not funded on the timeline guaranteed by their contract.

The family is seeking just under $2,000 to settle the claim.

Daniel Suhr, an attorney representing the family, said more than 120 Arizona families face the same situation.

“The department’s failure to follow the law here is causing this huge unnecessary headache,” he said.

Suhr said without the funds, parents can’t pay for things like private school tuition, tutoring services and homeschool expenses.

“That’s the beauty of the program – is it gives parents these choices and that flexibility,” he said. “But it’s all built on the department providing these funds on a timely basis.”

In a statement, the Arizona Department of Education calls the claims “baseless.”

“The individual named in the claim received their second quarter funds on November 5, 2019 – a full week prior to the notice of claim being filed, having been slightly delayed due to expense reporting errors on their end,” the statement reads.

The department added once the errors were corrected on Oct. 29, the expense report was approved and the funding request was sent to the Arizona State Treasurer’s office to process.

The department also pushed back on the claim that dozens of families haven’t received their deposits, saying it “has already released second quarter ESA funds to all qualified students eligible to receive funds for that quarter.”

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