HB1685 (2006)

Establishing a special needs scholarship program.


Status: HOUSE: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE (Details)
Length: 1188 words.

Revisions of this bill in our system:

 HouseSenate
Public hearing:2006-01-31 00:00:00 (unscheduled)
Executive session:(unscheduled)(unscheduled)
Floor vote:2006-02-15 00:00:00(unscheduled)

HB 1685-FN – AS INTRODUCED

2006 SESSION

06-2540

04/01

HOUSE BILL 1685-FN

AN ACT establishing a special needs scholarship program.

SPONSORS: Rep. Hunt, Ches 7

COMMITTEE: Education

ANALYSIS

This bill establishes a special needs scholarship program which permits an eligible child with educational disabilities to attend a private school in his or her resident district or another school district.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

06-2540

04/01

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six

AN ACT establishing a special needs scholarship program.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Subdivision; Special Needs Scholarship Program. Amend RSA 186-C by inserting after section 28 the following new subdivision:

Special Needs Scholarship Program

186-C:29 Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department of education.

II. “Department” means the department of education.

III. “Eligible child” means any educationally disabled child, as defined under RSA 186-C:2, I, attending a public elementary or secondary school in this state who has an individualized education plan pursuant to RSA 186-C:7.

IV. “Parent” means a parent, guardian, custodian, or other person with authority to act on behalf of the child.

V. “Participating school” means a private or nonpublic elementary or secondary school that complies with RSA 186-C:34 and relevant federal statutes governing public schools and which has notified the department of its intent to participate in the program.

VI. “Program” means the special needs scholarship program.

VII. “Resident school district” means the public school district in which the child resides.

VIII. “Scholarship” means all state and federal funds available to provide programs and services to an eligible child.

186-C:30 Program Participation.

I. The parent of an eligible child who is dissatisfied with the child’s progress may apply for a scholarship to the department if the child has been accepted for admission at a participating school and the parent has complied with the application procedures established by the department.

II. The commissioner shall inform the resident school district that an eligible child has requested a scholarship. The resident school district shall, within 5 business days, provide the department with a copy of the child’s most recent individualized education plan.

III. Upon receipt of the eligible child’s request for a scholarship, the commissioner shall review the individualized education plan to determine the amount of the scholarship and, within 30 days of review, notify in writing the eligible child’s parent of the amount of the scholarship.

IV. The commissioner shall inform the state treasurer of the amount each eligible child is entitled to receive under the program. The state treasurer shall issue a check in the name of the parent who shall indorse such check and present it to the participating school. A parent shall use scholarship funds only for the child’s educational expenses at the participating school.

V. The amount of the scholarship shall be the lesser of the cost of educational programs and services required under the child’s individualized educational plan or the participating school’s estimated costs for meeting the child’s individualized education plan.

VI. A child participating in the program shall be counted in the average daily membership in residence of his or her resident school district. The amount of the scholarship shall be subtracted from equitable education grants payable to the child’s resident school district.

VII. A child’s parent may remove the child from the participating school or place the child in another participating school or in a public school at any time.

186-C:31 Responsibilities of the Resident School District.

I. A resident school district shall annually notify the parents of an eligible child of the availability of the program and offer that child’s parent an opportunity to enroll the child in a participating school of their choice.

II. The resident school district shall furnish a participating school that has admitted an eligible child with a copy of the child’s school records as permitted by state and federal law.

III. The resident school district shall provide transportation for an eligible child to and from the participating school under circumstances that comply with RSA 189:6, RSA 189:6-a, and RSA 189:6-b. The resident school district shall receive state transportation aid for each child so transported.

IV. If the parent of an eligible child participating in the program requests that the child take the statewide assessments under RSA 193-C, the resident school district shall provide the parent with the locations and times of such assessments if they are not offered at the child’s participating school.

186-C:32 Responsibilities of the Department of Education.

I. The department shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, regarding program application deadlines, procedures, and relevant program forms.

II. No liability shall arise on the part of the department or the state based on the award or use of a special needs scholarship.

186-C:33 Responsibilities of Parents and Children.

I. Any child participating in the program shall comply with the participating school’s policies and rules.

II. Participation in the program shall constitute a private placement for purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

186-C:34 Requirements for a Participating School. A participating school shall:

I. Not discriminate or violate individual civil rights in any manner prohibited by law. A participating school shall not discriminate against any educationally-disabled pupil.

II. Comply with all applicable state and federal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

III. Provide instruction for at least the number of days required by state law. A participating school shall comply with compulsory attendance laws as provided in RSA 189:1, 189:1-a, and 193:1. Innovative scheduling resulting in at least that number of attendance hours required under RSA 189:1, 189:1-a, and 193:1 and current state board attendance rules shall be encouraged.

IV. File a surety bond with the department, payable to the state, prior to the start of the school year in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of scholarships that the participating school expects to receive during the school year.

V. File with the department, prior to the start of the school year, financial information that demonstrates the school has financial resources which are at least equal to amount of scholarships that the participating school expects to receive during the school year.

VI. Submit written reports quarterly detailing the child’s progress on his or her individualized education plan.

186-C:35 Participating School Autonomy. Except as provided in RSA 186-C:34, the department shall not regulate a participating school.

186-C:36 Legislative Oversight Committee.

I. There is hereby established a joint legislative oversight committee. The committee shall include 3 senators appointed by the president of the senate, 3 members of the house appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, and one member of the state board appointed by the chairperson of the state board who shall serve as a nonvoting member in an advisory capacity. The committee shall jointly meet at least once a year and shall monitor the effect of this subdivision in the following areas:

(a) The level of the child’s satisfaction with the program.

(b) The level of parental satisfaction with the program.

(c) The percentage of participating children who exhibited behavioral problems at their resident school district compared to the percentage exhibiting behavioral problems at their participating school.

(d) The class size in a participating child’s resident school district as compared with their participating school.

(e) The fiscal impact to the state and resident school districts of the program.

II. The committee shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairpersons of the house and senate education committees on November 1 of each year.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect July 1, 2006.

LBAO

06-2540

12/13/05

HB 1685-FN - FISCAL NOTE

AN ACT establishing a special needs scholarship program.

FISCAL IMPACT:

      The Department of Education states this bill will increase state general fund expenditures by $108,670 in FY 2007, $113,415 in FY 2008, $118,441 in FY 2009, and $123,608 in FY 2010. This bill will have an indeterminable fiscal impact on local revenue and expenditures in FY 2007 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on state and county revenue or county expenditures.

METHODOLOGY:

    The Department states this bill would provide scholarships which would permit an eligible child with educational disabilities to attend a private elementary or secondary school. The amount of the scholarships would be the lesser of the cost of education programs and services required under the student’s individualized educational plan (IEP), or the participating school’s estimated costs for meeting the child’s individualized education plan. The bill requires that a student participating in the program shall be counted in the average daily membership in residence of his or her resident school district, and the amount of the scholarship shall be subtracted from equitable education grants payable to the child’s resident school district. The Department states as of December 1, 2004 there were 31,675 special education students who would be eligible to participate in this program with an average cost for special education expenditures of $11,400 per child. The Department states transportation costs for eligible students could increase due to the additional distance to the participating schools. The Department states they would need an Educational Consultant I position (Labor Grade 26) to review IEP’s, and a Program Specialist II position (Labor Grade 21) to review funding requests and process scholarships. Assuming positions are hired at the minimum salary of their respective labor grade, annual step increases, and benefits at 44% of salary, position costs would total $108,670 in FY 2007, $113,415 in FY 2008, $118,441 in FY 2009, and $123,608 in FY 2010. The Department is unable to determine the exact fiscal impact at this time since it does not know how many private schools will participate in the program, and is unable to estimate a cost of an IEP since IEP’s are designed differently for each student.