Georgia Senate House Education

Pending bill Opinion Blog

The ‘Georgia Personalized Educatonal Plan Act.’

House Bill HB 60:

The proposed House bill HB 60: will be a Scolarship ESA, voucher program under the review of the Georgia Student finance Comission. The proposed voucher program would redirect funds from schools to the Voucher program. This bill would qualify students if their local school are not open 100% of instruction in person. 

The bill would allow qualifying parents to choose this option by appliying for the education plan. The proposed bill calls for the Georgia student finance  Commision to stablish certaing requirements for the participating Schools and service providers including develop Testing Measssurements, rules and regulatory guidelines.

At glance this bill has some ratifications that must be Noted; specially for parents of individuals with disabilities. Parents need to be clear in what are the regulatory requirements for participatingand what rigths may be waiving for their children in chossing this option.

Important points to Bill HB 60:

-The proposed Bill will redirect funds from participating students to private schools.

This will cause disporpotionality in funding for Schools. Funds  differ from state to state, and they are often extremely complex. Most commonly, the federal government contributes  for a portion of the total school budget. Funds are  (primarily raised through local property taxes) and state contributions and sales taxes). The average amount of money provided per pupil varies greatly from one distric to another. The method of distributing is based in variables such student population, student demografics. Funding that is supplemental state and federal funds, marked for specific needs such as special education or compensatory services to schools with a concentration of poverty, or to meet state-dictated priorities. This complexity often leads to significant variation from district to district in the percentage of funding received from federal, state, and local sources the divertion of funds will affect the wide disparities in the level of support for educational programs.

 The bill also offers no assurances that students will receive an apropiate education in the private School sector. As the private schools are not held to the same  State standarts  as public schools. At glance the scholarship program would be vulnerable to fraud due to accontability measures. It would possible create a wider educational gap for struguling students.

The bill assigns the Student finance Commission to oversee the program. The comission will create an aplication process that will be open for a period of time for students wanting to participate refer to section c 20-2B-5.

It is important to note the bill has percentage allowances requirements for school districts in the amount of students that will qualify periodically to participate.

Code 20-2B-3 the bill Would qualify students by the following ;

-Parent or parents reside in the State of Georgia.

-The student is part of a family whos income is below 200 % the  Federal poverty Level, and is enrolled in a Ga, public School.

-The program includes children that have been in foster care and have been adopted and enrooled in School imediately prior to adoption.

– student has a IEP written in accordance to federal law.

Students with a 504 plan,  has a formal diagnosis  from a licence physician or psychologist. The bill outlines the conditions that would qualify. Refer to 20-2B-3 of the bill.

A student who’s parent is active duty Military service members stationed in Georgia withing the previous year.

School participation rquirements will be outlined by the Georgia student finance Commission.

The guide lines outlined by the legislative proposal will allow private Schools to participate. the commission will qualify the School is the schools program complies with the requirements allined by the commission.

The bill outlines private school’s non public, postsecondary intitutions, a branch of the Technical college system of Georgia, or independent private College or university. The commission propposes audits, and monitoring of funds appropiations, if students widraws chosen school, school will have to refund funds to the commisssion. The Georgia student finance commission will develop annual Testing for participating students.

The commisssion would then required the parent to sign a binding agreedment.

If parent chosses for student to participate; parent would be required to assume full responsibility in assuring students receives the apropiate “Educational program.”

-The parent promisses to provided education in a least the subjects of Mathematicts, reading, grammar, social studies and science.

-Parent will not enroll student in a local school system, local  charter school, or state charter school while participating in program.

-To use funds only for qualifying educational expences for the participating students. The commission will create a parent account that will be monitored, the proposes also to audit participating accounts.

-Parent will assume full finantial responsibility  including trasportation to and from the participating school or service provider.

-Students participating in the program wiil continue to be eligible to participate until retuning to public school, graduation from High school , reaches age of 20 special education students 21.

Proceed with Caution!

For parents of Children with disabiltities; it is important that parents understand the program. It is of most importantce to Note private schools do not have to abide to the same regulatory Federal and state guidelines guidelines and expectactions that public schools must follow.

It will be the parent, private school”s responsibility to implement the apropiate Educational plan, supports to provided education and services to student’s with dissabilities.

For participating students with a disability, acceptance of and account shall have the same effect as a parental refusal to consent to services.

Individual with disabilities Act 20 U.s.c Section 1400, et seq.

This equals as parents refussing to agree to services that emphasizes special education and relate services designed to meet the unique needs of the individual and prepare them for further education, employment and independent Living   free appropriate public education  and the supports nedded to achive it.

This will afect the aplication of IDEA regulatory proctections parents, children have in private schools in poviding education for students with a disabilities.

Parent also will be waiving importan parental rigths to educational Accommodations. Under section 504 of the federal Reabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.A Section 701, et seq.

Under section 504 the Child with a disability may receive acommodations and modifications that are not avaliable to non-disable children. All children with a disabilities who receive special education and relate services under IDEA are entlitled to these accommodations, modifications and services.

The bill does provided guidance in assuring  the private schools employ or contract with hight-quality educators that are certifified it does not specify as what certifications are required. The bill does specify a bachelors degree but in the same paragraph uses language such Or has experience teaching for a minimun of three years. The bill does offer the opportunity for parents to inquire in regards to the educators credentials that teach in the private school.

Code 20- 2B-5

What is covered under the program funds deposited in behalf of qualifiying student and which can be used to cover educational expenses such.

Trasportation no more than $500 a month

Funds granted will equal the equivalent cost of the educational program that would have been provided to the student in the students Public Sschool. Amounts will be calculate for fees for maintainance of account, appropiate weigths and reductions, ajustements  Code 20-2-161

Note: any extra cost will be responsibility of parent.

Quartely payments to the participant student.

Payments will cover the tuition fees, needed text books at participating school. See prior note of reductions and ajustments. Parent would cover extra cost.

Tuition fees for non-public online learning program.

Payment for Theraphy’s such as speech, ocupational and physichological services.

There is a cap on the amount of the qualifiying funds.

Summary

It is important to note the impact the program will have in the funding of public school systems.The divertion of funds will afect many areas. While the program provides opportunity to participate for individuals that may see the private educational seting as a better choice of a program there is many areas of this bill that required further discussion. The cost of the program is projected at $448 million per year and it would divert $45 million away from public schools the program offers no garanties for the familys and students specially for students with disabilities.

For parents taking time to inquire the quality of the chosen private School-is key for success.

As noted in the out line of the program caution is sugested, for students with disabilities. Participation in the program requires for parents to waive some important protections and rigths that IDEA afforts to individuals with diasabilities.

To learn more detailed information included in Bill  HB60  Georgia Scholarship Act;  including Status of bill check Ga Legiscan.com

This article is intendent to provide information in development of discussion in the current proposed bills affecting Education.

Eduforspecialneeds.com

Notice:

(i)The opinions of this Document are not mean to be Advice/ the information is believe to be accurate and it has been provided for informational purposes only.

 (ii) Document may contain public information that is not exempt from disclosure

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