MDE approvals for special needs scholarships pass halfway mark - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

MDE approvals for special needs scholarships pass halfway mark

JACKSON, MS -

This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Education. 

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced today that 235 families have qualified for an Education Scholarship Account (ESA) that will provide funding to parents of students with disabilities who want to withdraw from public school to seek educational services elsewhere.

Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed for eligibility until the annual enrollment limit of 434 is reached. Parents of students with disabilities are encouraged to apply. As of August 12, 199 scholarships are still available.

The MDE began taking applications July 1 for the scholarship program created through the 2015 Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act.

To participate in the program:

the applicant must be a Mississippi resident;

the student must have had an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) from a public school within the last 18 months; and

the parent must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of participation.

Since July 1, the MDE has received 342 applications. Two applications were withdrawn, and 105 applications were denied. The majority of the denials were because students didn’t have official IEPs issued by a school district. Per federal law, only a public school can issue an IEP.

Parents will be reimbursed for expenses quarterly after submission of a reimbursement request with proper documentation of expenses incurred.  Funds can also be paid quarterly directly to an educational service provider if approved by the parent.

The total amount of each ESA for 2015-2016 is $6,500.

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