Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Louisiana Enacts Statewide Expansion of Scholarship Program

Gov. Bobby Jindal prepares to sign House Bill 976 today in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal today signed into law House Bill 976, representing a major step in his bold education reform agenda—and a lifeline for thousands of families in the Bayou State.  The legislation expands the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEE) Program to students all across the state from low- and middle-income families who are attending failing public schools.

The legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support in both chambers, will expand eligibility to as many as 380,000 children statewide.  Families with a household income of less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for the program is their children attends a school rated “C,” “D,” or “F” by the state.

The SSEE Program was created in 2007 for students from low-income families in Orleans Parish attending failing schools.  In the 2011-12 school year, more than 1,848 students received scholarships.

Click here to read more about the history of AFC's role in bringing school choice to Louisiana families.

House Bill 976 Provisions:

Student Eligibility:
  • Family incomes cannot exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline ($55,875 for a family of four in 2011)
  • Entering Kindergarten or enrolled in a school which received a letter grade of “C,” “D,” or “F” in the most recent school year.
  • Students attending “D” or “F” rated schools, siblings of participating students, students enrolled in the Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development Program  receive preference
 School Requirements
  • Be approved by the state to participate
  • Comply with state nondiscrimination and health and safety requirements
  • Administer the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program and Integrated Education Assessment Program exams to scholarship recipients
  • Submit independent financial audit to the state
  • Report rate that scholarship recipients finish the highest grade level, retention rates, and parental satisfaction
  • Schools in existence for less than two years must have less than 20 percent of student enrollment on scholarships
  • Public schools must be rated “A” or “B”
 Scholarship Cap
  • Whichever is less
    • State and local per-pupil funding
    • Tuition, fees, and costs associated with testing
  • The state is tasked with developing additional criteria for participation in the program, including an accountability system.
- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

1 comment:

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