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Special Needs Scholarships - Funding and Procedures
DAR File No.: 28138
Filed: 08/15/2005, 11:07
Received by: NL
The purpose of this new rule is to outline responsibilities for parents/students, public schools, school districts or charter schools, and eligible private schools that accept scholarships from special needs students and the State Board of Education in providing choice for parents of special needs students who choose to have their children served in private schools, and in providing accountability for the citizenry in the administration and distribution of the scholarship funds.
This new rule provides for parent/guardian responsibilities, school district or charter school responsibilities, State Board of Education responsibilities, responsibility of private schools that receive special needs scholarships, and for retroactive scholarship payments.
Section 53A-1a-707 and Subsection 53A-1a-706(5)(b)
There is no anticipated cost or savings to state budget. The Legislature provided funding for the scholarship and costs to administer the scholarship in H.B. 249 and S.B. 3 from the 2005 Legislative General Session. The amount of funding is adequate to cover eligible applicants. (DAR NOTE: H.B. 249 (2005) is found at UT L 2005 Ch 35, and was effective 05/02/2005.) S.B. 3 (2005) is found at UT L 2005 Ch 309, and was effective 03/22/2005.)
There will be costs to school districts and charter schools for additional personnel to participate on assessment teams and to assist with cross-checking special needs scholarship students' enrollment information as requested by the State Board of Education. Any costs associated with those assignments will need to be absorbed by the school districts or charter schools because no funding was provided for this purpose. Costs of participation by school district and charter school personnel in assessment teams is too variable and speculative to estimate.
There should not be costs for parents/guardians to apply for the scholarship on behalf of their students. Private schools may have additional personnel costs for preparation and submission of scholarship applications, and under some circumstances, for the evaluation, instruction, and assessment of students with disabilities, and for compliance with health and safety laws.
There should not be costs for parents/guardians to apply for the scholarship on behalf of their students. Private schools may have additional personnel costs for preparation and submission of scholarship applications, and under some circumstances, for the evaluation, instruction, and assessment of students with disabilities, and for compliance with health and safety laws. There could be costs for some private schools to comply with health and safety laws and codes. Costs would be speculative.
I have reviewed this rule and I see no fiscal impact on businesses. Patti Harrington, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Carol Lear at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7835, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com
Carol Lear, Coordinator School Law and Legislation
R277. Education, Administration.
R277-602. Special Needs Scholarships - Funding and
assessment" for purposes of this rule means a formal testing procedure
carried out under prescribed and uniform conditions that measures students'
academic progress, consistent with Section 53A-1a-705(1)(f).
"Assessment team" means the individuals designated under
C. "Audit of
a private school" for purposes of this rule means a financial audit
provided by an independent certified public accountant, as provided under
"Board" means the Utah State Board of Education.
"Days" means school days unless specifically designated
otherwise in this rule.
"Disclosure to parents" for purposes of this rule means the
express acknowledgments and acceptance required under Section 53A-1a-704(5) as
part of parent application available
through schools districts.
student" for purposes of this rule means:
(1) the student's
parent resides in Utah;
(2) the student
has a disability as designated in 53A-1a-704(2)(b); and
(3) the student
is school age.
student also means that the student was enrolled in a public school in the
school year prior to the school year in which the student will be enrolled in a
private school, has an IEP and has obtained acceptance for admission to an
eligible private school; and
requirement to be enrolled in a public school in the year prior and have an IEP
does not apply if:
(a) the student
is enrolled or has obtained acceptance for admission to an eligible private
school that specializes in serving students with disabilities; and
(b) an assessment
team is able to readily determine with reasonable certainty that the student
has a disability and would qualify for special education services if enrolled
in a public school and the appropriate level of special education services
which should be provided to the student at the specialized private school.
"Enrollment" for purposes of this rule means that the student
has completed the school enrollment process, the school maintains required
student enrollment information and documentation of age eligibility, the
student is scheduled to receive services at the school, the student attends
regularly, and has been accepted consistent with R277-419 and the student's
soundness of a private school" for purposes of this rule means that the
school has provided to the USOE the information required under Section
53A-1a-705(1)(b) that includes:
(1) a copy of the
audit completed in the school's initial year that the school accepts
scholarship audit and opinion letter consistent with Section 53A-1a-705(1)(b)
as defined by AICPA standards;
(2) a letter from
a certified public accountant stating that the private school:
(a) is insured
consistent with R277-602-1J; and
sufficient funds to maintain operations for the full school year.
"Individual education program (IEP)" means a written statement
for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in
accordance with Board Special Education Rules and Part B of the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
"Insured" for purposes of this rule means that the school has
provided a certificate of insurance for accident and liability insurance in the
amount of $1 million, $2 million aggregate, and proof of property and auto
coverage. Property coverage should
include coverage for employees working with funds of the school. The insurance
company providing coverage to the school should have a Best rating of at least
an A-, and be at least a Category VI company in size.
"Northwest accredited special purpose school" means a school
accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools that is public,
nonpublic, proprietary or nonprofit.
The school has been designated by Northwest as a school that meets the
special educational needs of students under unique circumstances. Generally, such schools offer a limited array
of educational services and may not adhere to the state's common school
compulsory attendance laws or graduation requirements.
school that specializes in serving students with disabilities" means the
(1) has a student
population of at least 80 percent students with identified disabilities under
Section 53A-1a-704(2); or
(2) is a
Northwest accredited special purpose school that serves students with
(3)(a) employs or
contracts with special education teachers who have a Utah educator license with
special education area of concentration.
The teachers are responsible for the evaluation, programming,
instruction, and assessment of students with disabilities; and
(b) employs or
contracts with licensed related service providers who are responsible for
evaluation, programming, instruction, and assessment of students with
(c) the special
education teachers and related service providers deliver services within the
caseload guidelines in the Utah State Board of Education approved Special
"USOE" means the Utah State Office of Education.
"Warrant" means payment by check to a private school.
R277-602-2. Authority and Purpose.
A. This rule is
authorized by Utah Constitution Article X, Section 3 which vests general
control and supervision of the public school system under the Board, Section
53A-1a-706(5)(b) which provides for Board rules to establish timelines for
payments to private schools, Section 53A-3-410(6)(b)(i)(c) which provides for
criminal background checks for employees and volunteers, Section 53A-1a-707
which provides for Board rules about eligibility of students for scholarships
and the application process for students to participate in the scholarship
program, and by Section 53A-1-401(3) which allows the Board to adopt rules in
accordance with its responsibilities.
B. The purpose of
this rule is to outline responsibilities for parents/students, public schools,
school districts or charter schools, and eligible private schools that accept
scholarships from special needs students and the State Board of Education in
providing choice for parents of special needs students who choose to have their
children served in private schools and in providing accountability for the
citizenry in the administration and distribution of the scholarship funds.
R277-602-3. Parent/Guardian Responsibilities.
A. If the student
is enrolled in a public school or was enrolled in a public school in the year
previous to the year in which the scholarship is sought, the parent/guardian
shall submit an application, available from the USOE or online at www.usoe.org,
to the school district or charter school within which the parent/guardian
(1) The parent
shall complete all required information on the application.
intentional falsification, misinformation, or incomplete information provided
on the application may result in the cancellation of the scholarship to the
student and non-payment to the private school.
B. If the student
was not enrolled in a public school in the year previous to the year in which
the scholarship is sought, but was enrolled in a private school that
specializes in serving students with disabilities, the parent/guardian shall
submit an application to the school district in which the private school is
geographical located (school district responsible for child find under IDEA,
Sec. 612(a)(3)). The parent/guardian
of student's enrollment in an eligible private school as defined under Section
following an assessment team's evaluation that a student would qualify for
special education services and the level of services for which the student
would be eligible if enrolled in a public school.
completion of the application, parents of students eligible under R277-602-3A
or B above shall provide by July 1, or later as allowed by the Board, prior to
the year in which admission is sought, the application form together with the
following documentation to the student's enrollment district that received the
that the parent/guardian is a resident of the state of Utah;
that the student is at least five years of age, consistent with Section
that the student is not more than 21 years of age and has not graduated from
high school consistent with Section 53A-15-301(1)(a);
that the student has satisfied R277-602-3A or B above;
that the student has official acceptance at an eligible private school, as
defined under Section 53A-1a-705;
signature on acknowledgments and refusal to consent to services on the application
form consistent with Section 53A-1a-704;
in writing in the second and third year to indicate continued enrollment.
D. A special
needs scholarship shall be effective for three years subject to renewal under
E. The parent
shall, consistent with Section 53A-1a-706(8), endorse the warrant received by
the private school from the USOE no more than 15 school days after the private
school's receipt of the warrant.
F. The parent
shall notify the Board in writing within five days if:
(1) the student
does not continue in enrollment in an eligible private school for any reason
including parent/student choice, suspension or expulsion of the student; or
(2) the student
misses more than 10 consecutive days at which point the Board may modify the
payment to the private school consistent with R277-419-1J.
G. The parent
shall cooperate and respond within 10 days to an enrollment cross-checking
request from the Board.
R277-602-4. School District or Charter School Responsibilities.
A. The school
district or charter school that receives the student's scholarship application
consistent with Section 53A-1a-704(4) shall forward applications to the Board
no more than 10 days following receipt of the application.
B. The school
district or charter school that received the student's scholarship application
applications from students/parents;
enrollment of the student seeking a scholarship in previous school year within
a reasonable time following contact by the Board;
(3) verify the
existence of the student's IEP and level of service to the USOE within a
personnel to participate on an assessment team to determine:
(a) if a student
who was previously enrolled in a private school that specializes in serving
students with disabilities would qualify for special education services if
enrolled in a public school and the appropriate level of special education
services which should be provided to the child for purposes of determining the
scholarship amount consistent with Section 53A-1a-706(2);
(b) if a student
previously receiving a special needs scholarship is entitled to receive the
scholarship during the subsequent eligibility period.
C. Special needs
scholarship students shall not be enrolled in public or charter schools for
dual enrollment or extracurricular activities, consistent with the
parents'/guardians' assumption of full responsibility for students' services
under Section 53A-1a-704(5).
districts or charter schools shall cooperate with the Board in cross-checking
special needs scholarship student enrollment information, as requested by the
R277-602-5. State Board of Education Responsibilities.
A. The Board
shall provide applications annually, containing acknowledgments required under
Section 53A-1a-704(5), for parents seeking a special needs scholarship online,
at the Board offices, at school
district or charter school offices, and at charter schools no later than April
1 prior to the school year in which admission is sought (applications for the
2005-06 school year shall be available no later than June 15).
B. The Board
shall provide a determination that a private school meets the eligibility
requirements of Section 53A-1a-705 as soon as possible but no more than 30 days
after the private school submits an application and completed documentation of
eligibility. The Board may:
reasonable timelines within the application for satisfaction of private school
(2) issue letters
of warning, require the school to take corrective action within a time frame
set by the Board, suspend the school from the program consistent with Section
53A-1a-708, or impose such other penalties as the Board determines appropriate
under the circumstances.
appropriate consequences or penalties for private schools that:
(a) fail to
provide affidavits under Section 53A-1a-708;
(b) fail to administer assessments, fail to report
assessments to parents or fail to report assessments to assessment team under
(c) fail to
employ teachers with credentials required under Section 53A-1a-705(g);
(d) fail to
provide to parents relevant credentials of teachers under Section
(e) fail to
require completed criminal background checks under Section 53A-3-410(2) and
take appropriate action consistent with information received.
complaints and hold administrative hearings, as appropriate, and consistent
C. The Board
shall make a list of eligible private schools updated annually and available no
later than May 30 (June 25 for 2005-2006 school year.
about approved scholarships and availability and level of funding shall be
provided to scholarship applicant parents/guardians no later than July 30 of
E. The Board
shall mail scholarships directly to private schools as soon as reasonably
possible consistent with Section 53A-1a-706(8).
F. For the
2005-06 school year, payments shall begin September 1 to private schools.
G. Beginning with
the 2006-07 school year, the Board may begin scholarship payments to eligible
private schools no earlier than July 1 but before payment dates established by
Section 53A-1a-706(5)(a) if the parent/guardian negotiates a payment date with
the USOE, provides reasonable advance notice to the USOE and assumes
responsibility for transmission of the payment from the USOE to the private
H. If an annual
legislative appropriation is inadequate to cover all scholarship applicants and
documented levels of service, the Board shall establish by rule a lottery
system for determining the scholarship recipients, with preference provided for
under Section 53A-1a-(1).
I. The Board
shall verify and cross-check with school districts or charter school special
needs scholarship student enrollment information consistent with Section 53A-1a-706(7).
R277-602-6. Responsibilities of Private Schools that
Receive Special Needs Scholarships.
schools shall submit applications and by May 1 (June 15 by 2005-06 school year)
and satisfy eligibility requirements within 10 days preceding the school year of eligibility to receive special needs
scholarships consistent with Section 53A-1a-705.
and appropriate documentation from private schools for eligibility to receive special needs scholarship students
shall be provided to the USOE consistent with Section 53A-1a-705(3).
schools shall satisfy criminal background check requirements for employees and
volunteers consistent with Section 53A-3-410.
schools that seek to enroll special needs scholarship students shall, in
concert with the parent seeking a special needs scholarship for a student,
initiate the assessment team meetings required under Sections 53A-1a-704(3) and
shall be scheduled at times and locations mutually acceptable to private
schools, applicant parents and participating public school personnel.
private school and public school personnel shall maintain documentation of the
meetings and the decisions made for the students.
regarding required assessment team meetings, including documentation of
meetings for students denied scholarships or services and students admitted
into private schools and their levels of service, shall be maintained
confidentially by the private and public schools, except the information shall
be provided for purposes of audit or verification of services upon request by the USOE.
schools receiving scholarship payments under this rule shall provide complete
student records in a timely manner to other private schools or public schools
requesting student records if parents have transferred students under Section
schools shall notify the Board within five days if:
(2) the student
misses more than 10 consecutive days of school.
schools shall satisfy health and safety laws and codes under Section 53A-1a-705(1)(d)
(1) the adoption
of emergency preparedness response plans that include training for school
personnel and parent notification for fire drills, natural disasters, and
school safety emergencies and
with R392-200, Design, Construction, Operation, Sanitation, and Safety of
R277-602-7. Retroactive Scholarship Payments.
scholarship payments shall be made to parents consistent with eligibility
criteria for private schools, private schools specializing in serving students
with disabilities, eligible students as outlined in R277-602 for the 2004-2005
school year as provided under Section 53A-1a-706(9)(a).
scholarship payments shall be made to parents submitting required documentation
no later than September 1, 2005.
KEY: special needs students,
Art X Sec 3
For questions regarding the content or application
of this rule, please contact Carol Lear at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7835, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the
Division of Administrative Rules (801-538-3764).
Please Note: The Division of Administrative Rules is NOT
able to answer questions about the content or application of these administrative
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