Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program School Information Session
Special Needs Scholarship Program • Florida’s McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program in 1999 was first Special Needs Scholarship. • Scholarship students were bullied far less • Scholarship recipients saw their class sizes drop dramatically, from 25 students per class in public schools to 13 students per class in choice schools. • Scholarship programs expanding nationwide • Now available in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Ohio
Advocates worked for 6 years to create a special needs scholarship for student in Ohio Parent advocates meet with Jon Husted and Jimmy Stewart
Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Passed in June 2011 Named for Jon Peterson • Special education advocate and former state representative • Parent of daughter with special needs • Also helped create Autism Scholarship
Special Needs Scholarship Program • Scholarships are limited to 5% of the students with IEPs in the state (234,000) • An estimated of 11,700 scholarships could be awarded. • Roughly 7,000 students in private schools are on Service Plans now. • Currently 1,544 students were able to apply for the scholarship on the first window. • We don’t anticipate a lottery the first year
Special Needs Scholarship Program • First state scholarship in Ohio funded at the same level as public school students for categories 1-4 • Scholarship cap is at $20,000 which limits equity for students with disabilities in categories 5 and 6
Annual application periods #1 February 1 - April 15: • For scholarships to begin in the next school year (First semester between July 1 and December 31) #2 Mid-year window: October 1st (TBD) - November 15th • For scholarships to begin between January 1 and June 30 (Second semester)
Which students are eligible? • Students that have a finalized IEP from their public school district • Students starting in kindergarten through high school graduation (or age 21) • Students that are attending public school OR private school
“But private school students don’t have IEPs!” • Current private school students who want to use the scholarship need an IEP from their home school district • Home school district has 30 days to create an IEP for the student once request is made • Home school district may chose to convert current service plan/504, OR reevaluate the student to create a new IEP OR use an old IEP • Districts can evaluate a student and create an IEP that does not require services. In this case, the student is not eligible for the scholarship. • IEP must be requested by the time of application (April 15), but doesn’t have to be finalized until June 30
Scholarship Funding for Special Needs • Funding comes from student’s home district • Checks are sent to the provider/school for parent sign-off • Parents are responsible for “budgeting” their scholarship among their choice of providers • If tuition is higher than scholarship, parent pays the additional amount • Funding covers tuition and fees: Create a menu of fees for each service option you plan to provide
Requirements for private schools • Schools must have a licensed special educator on staff • Oversee the services for scholarship recipients • Can be part-time or full-time • Can be shared by other private-schools
Services that can be Covered • Services do not have to be on the IEP in order to be covered by the scholarship • Not all services listed on the student’s IEP have to be provided
Options for parents to find the services they need • Private schools: Direct hire of therapists • Private schools: Subcontracting services • Non-school private providers: approved by ODE Note: Schools can serve a coordinating role, but ultimately up to the parent
Administrative Components • Submit quarterly progress reports for each scholarship recipient • Administer all state assessments (OAAs and OGT) to scholarship recipients • Participate in annual IEP maintenance meetings and process
Application Info • Application process for parents is done through the approved provider or school. • Online monitoring process allows district, parent, and school to be on the same page.
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #1 Check with your school’s accrediting body to see what resources they have available
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #2 Decide on the particular types of student needs you want to concentrate on and the types of services you want to provide
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #3 Make sure you have a licensed special educator person on staff part-time or full time.
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #4 Decide which services you want to provide in-house and which services you want to subcontract • Subcontracted services can be provided on-site or off-site • Develop a fee structure for services
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #5 Survey parents of current students with special needs to see which private therapists and service providers they would like you to hire and/or subcontract with • Contact the therapists/service providers to see if they would like to work with you
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #6 Register as JP Scholarship provider with ODE any time of the year. Currently there are 170 providers State wide that have been approved.
How do I prepare to participate in the scholarship? #7 Begin advertising the scholarship to your families and community School Choice Ohio can share flyers and outreach ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do I contact with questions? • Ohio Department of Education ODE administers all state scholarships Peterson.Scholarship@ode.state.oh.us • School Choice Ohio Outreach ideas/tools Cheryl Bowshier email@example.com