! The Capitol Complex is closed to the public due to COVID-19. All meetings will be held virtually online. View procedures and guidelines for remote public comment

Download Zipped Amended WordPerfect HB0148.ZIP
[Introduced][Status][Bill Documents][Fiscal Note][Bills Directory]

H.B. 148

This document includes House Committee Amendments incorporated into the bill on Wed, Jan 31, 2007 at 11:09 AM by ddonat. --> This document includes House Committee Amendments (CORRECTED) incorporated into the bill on Wed, Jan 31, 2007 at 1:41 PM by ddonat. -->              1     

EDUCATION VOUCHERS

             2     
2007 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Stephen H. Urquhart

             5     
Senate Sponsor: Curtis S. Bramble

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill creates a program to award scholarships to students to attend a private school.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    specifies criteria for qualifying for a scholarship;
             13          .    specifies criteria for private schools to enroll scholarship students;
             14          .    specifies the amount, timing, and form of scholarship payments;
             15          .    requires the State Board of Education to make rules;
             16          .    gives the State Board of Education enforcement authority;
             17          .    requires the Legislature to annually appropriate money from the General Fund for
             18      scholarship payments; H. and .H
             19          .    allows a school district to retain in enrollment a student that transfers to a private
             20      school for a period of five years, with a deduction equal to the average scholarship
             21      amount H. [ ; and
             22          .    allows the State Board of Education to transfer unused scholarship monies to the
             23      Minimum School Program
] .H
.
             24      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             25          This bill appropriates:
             26          .    as on ongoing appropriation subject to future budget constraints, $100,000 from the
             27      General Fund for fiscal year 2006-07 to the State Board of Education.


             28      Other Special Clauses:
             29          None
             30      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             31      ENACTS:
             32          53A-1a-801, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             33          53A-1a-802, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             34          53A-1a-803, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             35          53A-1a-804, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             36          53A-1a-805, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             37          53A-1a-806, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38          53A-1a-807, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             39          53A-1a-808, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             40          53A-1a-809, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             41          53A-1a-810, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             42          53A-1a-811, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             43      H. [ 53A-1a-812, Utah Code Annotated 1953 ] .H
             44     
             45      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             46          Section 1. Section 53A-1a-801 is enacted to read:
             47     
Part 8. Parent Choice in Education Act

             48          53A-1a-801. Title.
             49          This part is known as the "Parent Choice in Education Act."
             50          Section 2. Section 53A-1a-802 is enacted to read:
             51          53A-1a-802. Findings and purpose.
             52          The Legislature finds that:
             53          (1) parents are presumed best informed to make decisions for their children, including
             54      the educational setting that will best serve their children's interests and educational needs;
             55          (2) the establishment of this choice in education program is justified on the basis of
             56      funding the educational needs of school-age children as determined by their parents;
             57          (3) school-age children are the primary beneficiaries of the choice in education
             58      program authorized in this part, and any benefit to private schools, whether sectarian or secular,


             59      is indirect and incidental;
             60          (4) the choice in education program authorized by this part is available to the parents of
             61      school-age children, solely on the basis of income level for the year immediately preceding the
             62      year for which a scholarship is sought, and not on the basis of sex, race, religion, national
             63      origin, or any other criteria; and
             64          (5) the choice in education program authorized in this part is:
             65          (a) enacted for the valid secular purpose of tailoring a child's education to that child's
             66      specific needs as determined by the parent;
             67          (b) neutral with respect to religion; and
             68          (c) limited in its assistance to a parent, who may choose to use the scholarship to offset
             69      tuition or fees charged by a private school, either sectarian or secular, in which enrollment of
             70      the parent's child is sought, solely as a result of the parent's genuine and independent private
             71      choices.
             72          Section 3. Section 53A-1a-803 is enacted to read:
             73          53A-1a-803. Definitions.
             74          As used in this part:
             75          (1) "Board" means the State Board of Education.
             76          (2) "Eligible private school" means a private school that meets the requirements of
             77      Section 53A-1a-805 .
             78          (3) "Income eligibility guideline" means the maximum annual income allowed to
             79      qualify for reduced price meals for the applicable household size as published by the U.S.
             80      Department of Agriculture by notice in the Federal Register.
             81          (4) "Parent" includes a legal guardian.
             82          (5) "Scholarship student" means a student who receives a scholarship under this part.
             83          (6) "Tuition" means amounts charged for attending a private school, excluding fees for
             84      extracurricular activities or transportation to the private school.
             85          Section 4. Section 53A-1a-804 is enacted to read:
             86          53A-1a-804. Scholarship program created -- Qualifications -- Application.
             87          (1) The Parent Choice in Education Program is created to award scholarships to
             88      students to attend a private school.
             89          (2) To qualify for a scholarship under this part:


             90          (a) the student's custodial parent or legal guardian shall reside within Utah;
             91          (b) the student shall be at least five years of age before September 2 of the year in
             92      which admission to a private school is sought and under 19 years of age on the last day of the
             93      school year as determined by the private school, or, if the individual has not graduated from
             94      high school, will be under 22 years of age on the last day of the school year as determined by
             95      the private school;
             96          (c) the student shall meet one or more of the following criteria:
             97          (i) the student was born after September 1, 2001;
             98          (ii) the student was enrolled as a full-time student in a Utah public school on January 1,
             99      2007;
             100          (iii) the individual was not a Utah resident on January 1, 2007; or
             101          (iv) the student's parents had an annual income less than or equal to 100% of the
             102      income eligibility guideline in the calendar year immediately preceding the school year for
             103      which a scholarship is sought; and
             104          (d) the student may not be a recipient of a scholarship awarded under Chapter 1a, Part
             105      7, Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs Act.
             106          (3) (a) To receive a scholarship, the parent of a student shall submit an application for
             107      the scholarship to the board by the June 1 preceding the school year for which a scholarship is
             108      sought, except the deadline for submitting an application for the 2007-08 school years is
             108a      July H. [ 1 ] 15 .H ,
             109      2007. Along with the application, the student's parent shall submit documentation verifying
             110      income as required by board rule.
             111          (b) The board may waive the application deadline.
             112          (4) The board shall award scholarships by the July 1 preceding the school year for
             113      which a scholarship is sought, except the deadline for awarding scholarships for the 2007-08
             114      school year is August H. [ 1 ] 15 .H , 2007.
             115          (5) (a) The scholarship application form shall contain the following statement:
             116          "I acknowledge that:
             117          (1) A private school may not provide the same level of services that are provided in a
             118      public school.
             119          (2) The private school in which I have chosen to enroll my child has disclosed to me
             120      the teaching credentials of the school's teachers and the school's accreditation status.


             121          (3) I will assume full financial responsibility for the education of my scholarship
             122      student if I accept this scholarship.
             123          (4) Acceptance of this scholarship has the same effect as a parental refusal to consent
             124      to services pursuant to Section 614(a)(1) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20
             125      U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq."
             126          (b) Upon acceptance of the scholarship, the parent assumes full financial responsibility
             127      for the education of the scholarship student for the period in which the student receives the
             128      scholarship.
             129          (c) Acceptance of a scholarship has the same effect as a parental refusal to consent to
             130      services pursuant to Section 614(a)(1) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20
             131      U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.
             132          (6) A student's parent, at any time, may remove the student from a private school and
             133      place the student in another eligible private school and retain the scholarship.
             134          Section 5. Section 53A-1a-805 is enacted to read:
             135          53A-1a-805. Eligible private schools.
             136          (1) To be eligible to enroll a scholarship student, a private school shall:
             137          (a) have a physical location in Utah where the scholarship students attend classes and
             138      have direct contact with the school's teachers;
             139          (b) contract with an independent certified public accountant to perform the agreed upon
             140      procedures specified in Subsection (2) and produce a report of the results which shall be
             141      submitted to the board at the times specified in Subsection (2);
             142          (c) comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000d;
             143          (d) meet state and local health and safety laws and codes;
             144          (e) disclose to the parent of each prospective student, before the student is enrolled, the
             145      special education services that will be provided to the student, if any, including the cost of
             146      those services;
             147          (f) (i) annually assess the achievement of each student by administering:
             148          (A) a norm-referenced test scored by an independent party that provides a comparison
             149      of the student's performance to other students on a national basis; or
             150          (B) an alternative assessment of the student's achievement, if the student:
             151          (I) has a disability or limited English proficiency; and


             152          (II) would be exempt from taking a nationally norm-referenced achievement test if
             153      enrolled in a Utah public school;
             154          (ii) report the test results to the student's parents; and
             155          (iii) upon request, make test results available to other persons, in a manner that does
             156      not reveal the identity of any student;
             157          (g) employ or contract with teachers who:
             158          (i) hold baccalaureate or higher degrees; or
             159          (ii) have special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to provide
             160      instruction in the subjects taught;
             161          (h) provide to parents the teaching credentials of the school's teachers; and
             162          (i) provide, upon request to any person, a statement indicating which, if any,
             163      organizations have accredited the private school.
             164          (2) (a) The agreed upon procedures to be performed pursuant to Subsection (1)(b) are
             165      as follows:
             166          (i) (A) determine that working capital is at least 80% of average quarterly expenditures
             167      by taking total expenditures for a year and dividing it by four and then dividing average
             168      quarterly expenditures into working capital; and
             169          (B) for a school in the first year of operations, use the estimated budget to estimate
             170      average quarterly expenditures;
             171          (ii) (A) determine that scholarship payments are accounted for separately and
             172      reconciled to student records; and
             173          (B) for the first year of operations, determine that procedures are in place for this
             174      accounting; and
             175          (iii) (A) determine that expenditure of scholarship funds have been made for education
             176      expenses and is consistent with other tuition expenditures; and
             177          (B) for the first year of operations, determine that procedures are in place for this
             178      accounting.
             179          (b) (i) The independent certified public accountant's report on the agreed upon
             180      procedures specified in Subsection (2)(a) shall be submitted to the board when the private
             181      school applies to accept scholarship students and every four years thereafter, except as
             182      provided in Subsection (2)(b)(ii).


             183          (ii) The board may, by rule, delay the date when the independent certified public
             184      accountant's report shall be submitted for private schools applying to accept scholarship
             185      students in the 2007-08 school year.
             186          (3) The following are not eligible to enroll scholarship students:
             187          (a) a school with an enrollment of fewer than 40 students;
             188          (b) a school that operates in a residence; or
             189          (c) a residential treatment facility licensed by the state.
             190          (4) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (4)(b), a private school intending to enroll
             191      scholarship students shall submit an application to the board by April 1 of the school year
             192      preceding the school year in which it intends to enroll scholarship students.
             193          (b) A private school intending to enroll scholarship students in the 2007-08 school year
             194      shall submit an application by June 15, 2007.
             195          (5) The board shall:
             196          (a) approve a private school's application to enroll scholarship students if the private
             197      school meets the eligibility requirements of this section; and
             198          (b) make available to the public a list of the eligible private schools:
             199          (i) for the 2008-09 school year and each school year thereafter, by the April 30
             200      preceding the school year; and
             201          (ii) for the 2007-08 school year, by July 1, 2007.
             202          Section 6. Section 53A-1a-806 is enacted to read:
             203          53A-1a-806. Scholarship payments.
             204          (1) (a) Scholarships shall be awarded by the board subject to the availability of money
             205      appropriated by the Legislature for that purpose.
             206          (b) The Legislature shall annually appropriate money to the board from the General
             207      Fund to make scholarship payments for all students projected to apply for scholarships.
             208          (c) (i) If monies are not available to pay for all scholarships requested, the scholarships
             209      shall be allocated on a random basis except that preference shall be given to students who
             210      received scholarships in the previous year.
             211          (ii) If monies are insufficient in a school year to pay for all the continuing scholarships:
             212          (A) new scholarships may not be awarded during that school year;
             213          (B) the monies available for scholarships shall be prorated among the eligible students


             214      who received scholarships in the previous year; and
             215          (C) the board shall request a supplemental appropriation from the Legislature to make
             216      full scholarship payments as provided in Subsection (4) or (5).
             217          (2) (a) Scholarships shall be awarded based upon the income of a scholarship student's
             218      parents in the calendar year immediately preceding the school year for which a scholarship is
             219      sought.
             220          (b) (i) The board shall make rules specifying how the income of a prospective
             221      scholarship student's parents shall be determined.
             222          (ii) The rules shall provide that the scholarship shall be based upon parental income as
             223      follows:
             224          (A) if the parents are married, the income of both parents;
             225          (B) if a parent is widowed, the income of the widowed parent;
             226          (C) if a parent is widowed and has remarried, the income of the parent and stepparent;
             227          (D) if the parents are divorced, the income of the parent with whom the scholarship
             228      student resided for the greatest amount of time during the past 12 months;
             229          (E) if the parents are divorced and the scholarship student resided with each parent an
             230      equal amount of time, the income of the parent who provided more financial support during the
             231      past 12 months;
             232          (F) if the divorced parent with whom the scholarship student resided for the greatest
             233      amount of time or who provided the greatest financial support has remarried, the income of the
             234      parent and stepparent; and
             235          (G) if the scholarship student resides with a guardian, the income of the guardian,
             236      unless the guardian's income is exempt by board rule.
             237          (iii) The rules shall provide that:
             238          (A) if a parent filed federal or state income tax forms, income shall be based upon
             239      adjusted gross income as listed on the income tax forms;
             240          (B) if a parent was exempt from filing federal and state income tax forms, income shall
             241      be based on income earned from work; and
             242          (C) a parent shall submit documentation verifying income.
             243          (3) (a) The board shall compare the income of a scholarship student's parents to the
             244      maximum annual incomes listed in the income eligibility guideline as defined in Section


             245      53A-1a-803 to set the scholarship amount.
             246          (b) In determining scholarship amounts, the board shall use:
             247          (i) the income eligibility guideline in effect for the school year immediately preceding
             248      the school year for which a scholarship is sought; and
             249          (ii) the scholarship student's household size as the applicable household size for the
             250      purpose of determining maximum annual income under the income eligibility guideline.
             251          (4) Full-year scholarships shall be awarded in the amounts shown in the following
             252      table, or for the amount of tuition for a full year, whichever is less.
             253      If the annual income of a scholarship
             254      student's parents is:                    The full-year scholarship amount is:
             255      Less than or equal to 100% of the
             256          income eligibility guideline                    $3,000
             257      Greater than 100% but less than or equal
             258           to 125% of the income eligibility guideline            $2,750
             259      Greater than 125% but less than or equal to
             260          150% of the income eligibility guideline            $2,500
             261      Greater than 150% but less than or equal to
             262          175% of the income eligibility guideline            $2,250
             263      Greater than 175% but less than or equal to
             264          200% of the income eligibility guideline            $2,000
             265      Greater than 200% but less than or equal to
             266          225% of the income eligibility guideline            $1,750
             267      Greater than 225% but less than or equal to
             268          250% of the income eligibility guideline            $1,000
             269      Greater than 250% of the income eligibility guideline        $500
             270          (5) The full-year scholarship amounts shown in the table in Subsection (4) apply to
             271      scholarships for all grades except kindergarten. The full-year scholarship amount for
             272      kindergarten shall be .55 times the amounts shown in the table in Subsection (4).
             273          (6) The board shall annually increase the full-year scholarship amounts shown in the
             274      table in Subsection (4) by the same percentage annual increase in the value of the weighted
             275      pupil unit established in Section 53A-17a-103 .


             276          (7) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (7)(b), upon review and receipt of
             277      documentation that verifies a student's admission to, or continuing enrollment and attendance
             278      at, a private school, the board shall make scholarship payments in four equal amounts no later
             279      than September 1, November 1, February 1, and April 15 of each school year in which a
             280      scholarship is in force.
             281          (b) In accordance with board rule, the board shall make a scholarship payment before
             282      the first quarterly payment of the school year, if a private school requires partial payment of
             283      tuition before the start of the school year to reserve space for a student admitted to the school.
             284          (8) A parent of a scholarship student and the student's private school shall notify the
             285      board if the student does not have continuing enrollment and attendance at the private school.
             286          (9) Before scholarship payments are made, the board shall cross-check enrollment lists
             287      of scholarship students, school districts, and youth in custody to ensure that scholarship
             288      payments are not erroneously made.
             289          (10) (a) Scholarship payments shall be made by the board by individual warrant made
             290      payable to the student's parent and mailed by the board to the private school. The parent shall
             291      restrictively endorse the warrant to the private school for deposit into the account of the private
             292      school.
             293          (b) A person, on behalf of a private school, may not accept a power of attorney from a
             294      parent to sign a warrant referred to in Subsection (10)(a), and a parent of a scholarship student
             295      may not give a power of attorney designating a person, on behalf of a private school, as the
             296      parent's attorney in fact.
             297          Section 7. Section 53A-1a-807 is enacted to read:
             298          53A-1a-807. Mitigation monies.
             299          (1) As provided in this section, a school district shall receive monies to mitigate
             300      potential impacts due to the unplanned reduction in revenues resulting from the transfer of
             301      scholarship students from the district to a private school.
             302          (2) A school district shall retain in enrollment for purposes of receiving funds under
             303      the minimum school program each scholarship student that:
             304          (a) transfers from the school district to a private school; and
             305          (b) resides within the boundaries of the school district.
             306          (3) Each transferred scholarship student meeting the criteria of Subsection (2) shall be


             307      retained in enrollment:
             308          (a) for five years following the transfer or until the student would have graduated from
             309      high school if within five years of the date or transfer; or
             310          (b) until the student transfers back to the school district, if the student transfers back to
             311      the school district within five years.
             312          (4) For each year a school district retains in enrollment transferred scholarship students
             313      as provided in this section, the board shall deduct from minimum school program funds
             314      distributed to the school district an amount equal to the number of transferred scholarship
             315      students retained in enrollment times the average scholarship amount for scholarship students
             316      statewide.
             316a           H. (5) The monies deducted from a school district's minimum school program funds as
             316b      provided in Subsection (4) shall be deposited into the Uniform School Fund.
             317           [ Section 8. Section 53A-1a-808 is enacted to read:
             318          53A-1a-808. Transfer of balance.
             319          After awarding the scholarships and budgeting for mitigation monies under this part,
             320      the board shall transfer any remaining balance appropriated for scholarships or mitigation
             321      monies to the kindergarten and grades 1-12 basic programs established under Chapter 17a,
             322      Minimum School Program Act.
] .H
             323          Section H. [ 9 ] 8 .H . Section 53A-1a- H. [ 809 ] 808 .H is enacted to read:
             324          53A-1a- H. [ 809 ] 808 .H . Board to make rules.
             325          (1) In accordance with Title 63, Chapter 46a, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, the
             326      board shall make rules consistent with this part:
             327          (a) establishing the application process for the scholarship program, including
             328      procedures to allow a parent to apply for a scholarship online;
             329          (b) establishing how the income of a scholarship student's parents shall be determined;
             330      and
             331          (c) implementing Section 53A-1a-807 .
             332          (2) By May 15, 2007, the board shall adopt rules establishing:
             333          (a) the application process for private schools and scholarship students; and
             334          (b) how the income of a scholarship student's parents shall be determined.
             335          Section H. [ 10 ] 9 .H . Section 53A-1a- H. [ 810 ] 809 .H is enacted to read:
             336          53A-1a- H. [ 810 ] 809 .H . Enforcement and penalties.
             337          (1) (a) The board shall require private schools to submit signed affidavits assuring the


             338      private school will comply with the requirements of this part.
             339          (b) If a school fails to submit a signed affidavit after having an opportunity to provide
             340      explanations and request delays, the board may:
             341          (i) deny the private school permission to enroll scholarship students; and
             342          (ii) interrupt disbursement of or withhold scholarship payments.
             343          (2) The board may investigate complaints and convene administrative hearings for an
             344      alleged violation of this part.
             345          (3) Upon a finding that this part was violated, the board may:
             346          (a) deny a private school permission to enroll scholarship students;
             347          (b) interrupt disbursement of or withhold scholarship payments; or
             348          (c) issue an order for repayment of scholarship payments fraudulently obtained.
             349          Section H. [ 11 ] 10 .H . Section 53A-1a- H. [ 811 ] 810 .H is enacted to read:
             350          53A-1a- H. [ 811 ] 810 .H . Limitation on regulation of private schools.
             351          Nothing in this part grants additional authority to any state agency or school district to
             352      regulate private schools except as expressly set forth in this part.
             353          Section H. [ 12 ] 11 .H . Section 53A-1a- H. [ 812 ] 811 .H is enacted to read:
             354          53A-1a- H. [ 812 ] 811 .H . Review by legislative auditor general.
             355          The legislative auditor general shall conduct a review and issue a report on the Parent
             356      Choice in Education Program after the conclusion of the 2013-14 school year.
             357          Section H. [ 13 ] 12 .H . Appropriation.
             358          As an ongoing appropriation subject to future budget constraints, $100,000 is
             359      appropriated from the General Fund for fiscal year 2006-07 to the State Board of Education for
             360      the administration of the Parent Choice in Education Act created in Title 53A, Chapter 1a, Part
             361      8.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-4-07 10:59 AM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


[Bill Documents][Bills Directory]