An education savings account is an individual student bank account, established by state law, which holds some or all of the public funds that would normally be allocated for the education of the participating student. Generally, the student must meet certain qualifications and the parent or guardian of the student must sign a contract with the state promising to use the funds only for approved activities such as private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring, etc. An authority designated by the state will generally perform audits on the education savings accounts to ensure that funds are not abused.
The Alabama Legislature should pursue ESA legislation that both empowers families to customize their children’s individual education needs while simultaneously increasing per-pupil funding in public schools. Though many states have launched ESA programs targeted toward students with special needs, Alabama should consider a pilot program with a broader approach.