Arizona Education Savings

Niehaus v. Huppenthal 
Arizona Education Savings

austin-crystal-fox-writing md
IJ client Crystal Fox and her son Austin
Video: Arizona Supreme Court Declares Edu.
Choice Program Constitutional

In 2011, teachers’ unions in Arizona filed a lawsuit seeking to block the nation’s first publicly funded education savings account program, a program that awards qualified parents of children with disabilities Empowerment Scholarships that can be used to pay for a wide variety of educational expenses, including tutoring, home school curriculum, private school tuition and textbooks.  The Institute for Justice, the nation’s leading legal advocate for school choice, intervened in the case on behalf of three parents and their children and successfully defended the Empowerment Scholarship program.  The Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the Empowerment Scholarship program because it gives parents direct control over their child’s education funds and it gives them a wide range of choices of where to spend those funds in order to tailor their child’s educational program to their child’s unique educational needs.  As with all constitutional school choice programs, parents—and not the government—decide the best educational setting for their child.


Essential Background


Backgrounder: Defending Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

Client Photos

Client Video

Latest Release: Case Closed: Arizona Supreme Court Declares Educational Choice Program Constitutional (March 21, 2014)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Response to Petition for Review (November 22, 2013) 

Court of Appeals Decision (October 1, 2013) (pdf)

Launch Release: Institute for Justice Will Defend Arizona’s Education Savings Accounts For Children with Special Needs (September 26, 2011)

IJ Appellate Brief (pdf)

Case Timeline

Lawsuit Filed:


September 26, 2011

Court Filed:


Maricopa County Superior Court

Current Court:

Arizona Court of Appeals victory on October 1, 2013
Supreme Court denied review on March 21, 2014



Case completed with a victory for educational choice!

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: IJ Earns Victory for School Choice in Arizona (October 1, 2013)


Release: Court Upholds Arizona’s Ground-Breaking Education Savings Accounts for Children with Special Needs (January 26, 2012)


Release: IJ Moves to Intervene on Behalf of Parents To Defend Arizona’s New School Choice Program (September 27, 2011)


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