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H.B. 425 Enrolled

             1     

CARSON SMITH SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

             2     
AMENDMENTS

             3     
2009 GENERAL SESSION

             4     
STATE OF UTAH

             5     
Chief Sponsor: Merlynn T. Newbold

             6     
Senate Sponsor: Curtis S. Bramble

             7     
             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill modifies provisions of the Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with
             11      Special Needs Act.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    modifies certain notice requirements for a school district, school within a school
             15      district, or charter school that has an enrolled student who has an IEP;
             16          .    requires an approved eligible private school that changes ownership to reapply to
             17      the State Board of Education and demonstrate that it continues to meet the
             18      eligibility requirements of the program; and
             19          .    makes technical corrections.
             20      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             21          None
             22      Other Special Clauses:
             23          None
             24      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             25      AMENDS:
             26          53A-1a-704, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2006, Chapter 200
             27          53A-1a-705, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2006, Chapter 200
             28     
             29      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:


             30          Section 1. Section 53A-1a-704 is amended to read:
             31           53A-1a-704. Scholarship program created -- Qualifications.
             32          (1) The Carson Smith Scholarship Program is created to award scholarships to
             33      students with disabilities to attend a private school.
             34          (2) To qualify for a scholarship:
             35          (a) the student's custodial parent or legal guardian shall reside within Utah;
             36          (b) the student shall have one or more of the following disabilities:
             37          (i) mental retardation;
             38          (ii) a hearing impairment;
             39          (iii) a speech or language impairment;
             40          (iv) a visual impairment;
             41          (v) a serious emotional disturbance;
             42          (vi) an orthopedic impairment;
             43          (vii) autism;
             44          (viii) traumatic brain injury;
             45          (ix) other health impairment;
             46          (x) specific learning disabilities; or
             47          (xi) a developmental delay, provided the student is at least five years of age, pursuant
             48      to Subsection (2)(c), and is younger than eight years of age;
             49          (c) the student shall be at least five years of age before September 2 of the year in
             50      which admission to a private school is sought and under 19 years of age on the last day of the
             51      school year as determined by the private school, or, if the individual has not graduated from
             52      high school, will be under 22 years of age on the last day of the school year as determined by
             53      the private school; and
             54          (d) except as provided in Subsection (3), the student shall:
             55          (i) be enrolled in a Utah public school in the school year prior to the school year the
             56      student will be enrolled in a private school;
             57          (ii) have an IEP; and


             58          (iii) have obtained acceptance for admission to an eligible private school.
             59          (3) The requirements of Subsection (2)(d) do not apply in the following
             60      circumstances:
             61          (a) the student is enrolled or has obtained acceptance for admission to an eligible
             62      private school that has previously served students with disabilities; and
             63          (b) an assessment team is able to readily determine with reasonable certainty:
             64          (i) that the student has a disability listed in Subsection (2)(b) and would qualify for
             65      special education services, if enrolled in a public school; and
             66          (ii) for the purpose of establishing the scholarship amount, the appropriate level of
             67      special education services which should be provided to the student.
             68          (4) (a) To receive a scholarship, the parent of a student shall submit an application for
             69      the scholarship to the school district within which the student is enrolled:
             70          (i) at least 60 days before the date of the first scholarship payment; and
             71          (ii) that contains an acknowledgment by the parent that the selected school is qualified
             72      and capable of providing the level of special education services required for the student.
             73          (b) The board may waive the 60-day application deadline.
             74          (5) (a) The scholarship application form shall contain the following statement:
             75          "I acknowledge that:
             76          (1) A private school may not provide the same level of special education services that
             77      are provided in a public school;
             78          (2) I will assume full financial responsibility for the education of my scholarship
             79      student if I accept this scholarship;
             80          (3) Acceptance of this scholarship has the same effect as a parental refusal to consent
             81      to services pursuant to Section 614(a)(1) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20
             82      U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.; and
             83          (4) My child may return to a public school at any time."
             84          (b) Upon acceptance of the scholarship, the parent assumes full financial
             85      responsibility for the education of the scholarship student.


             86          (c) Acceptance of a scholarship has the same effect as a parental refusal to consent to
             87      services pursuant to Section 614(a)(1) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20
             88      U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.
             89          (d) The creation of the scholarship program or granting of a scholarship does not:
             90          (i) imply that a public school did not provide a free and appropriate public education
             91      for a student; or
             92          (ii) constitute a waiver or admission by the state.
             93          (6) (a) A scholarship shall remain in force for three years.
             94          (b) A scholarship shall be extended for an additional three years, if:
             95          (i) the student is evaluated by an assessment team; and
             96          (ii) the assessment team determines that the student would qualify for special
             97      education services, if enrolled in a public school.
             98          (c) The assessment team shall determine the appropriate level of special education
             99      services which should be provided to the student for the purpose of setting the scholarship
             100      amount.
             101          (d) A scholarship shall be extended for successive three-year periods as provided in
             102      Subsections (6)(a) and (b):
             103          (i) until the student graduates from high school; or
             104          (ii) if the student does not graduate from high school, until the student is age 22.
             105          (7) A student's parent, at any time, may remove the student from a private school and
             106      place the student in another eligible private school and retain the scholarship.
             107          (8) A scholarship student may not participate in a dual enrollment program pursuant to
             108      Section 53A-11-102.5 .
             109          (9) The parents or guardians of a scholarship student have the authority to choose the
             110      private school that will best serve the interests and educational needs of that student, which
             111      may be a sectarian or nonsectarian school, and to direct the scholarship resources available for
             112      that student solely as a result of their genuine and independent private choices.
             113          (10) (a) [Each] A school district [and] or charter school shall notify in writing the


             114      parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school district or charter school who have an
             115      IEP of the availability of a scholarship to attend a private school through the Carson Smith
             116      Scholarship Program.
             117          (b) The notice described under Subsection (10)(a) shall:
             118          (i) be provided no later than 30 days after the student initially qualifies for an IEP;
             119          (ii) be provided annually no later than February 1 to all students who have an IEP; and
             120          (iii) include the address of the Internet website maintained by the board that provides
             121      prospective applicants with detailed program information and application forms for the Carson
             122      Smith Scholarship Program.
             123          (c) A school district, school within a school district, or charter school that has an
             124      enrolled student who has an IEP shall post the address of the Internet website maintained by
             125      the board that provides prospective applicants with detailed program information and
             126      application forms for the Carson Smith Scholarship Program on the school district's or school's
             127      website, if the school district or school has one.
             128          Section 2. Section 53A-1a-705 is amended to read:
             129           53A-1a-705. Eligible private schools.
             130          (1) To be eligible to enroll a scholarship student, a private school shall:
             131          (a) have a physical location in Utah where the scholarship students attend classes and
             132      have direct contact with the school's teachers;
             133          (b) (i) (A) obtain an audit and report from a licensed independent certified public
             134      accountant that conforms with the following requirements:
             135          (I) the audit shall be performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing
             136      standards;
             137          (II) the financial statements shall be presented in accordance with generally accepted
             138      accounting principles; and
             139          (III) the audited financial statements shall be as of a period within the last 12 months;
             140      or
             141          (B) contract with a licensed independent certified public accountant to perform an


             142      agreed upon procedure as follows:
             143          (I) the agreed upon procedure shall be to determine that the private school has
             144      adequate working capital to maintain operations for the first full year; and
             145          (II) working capital shall be calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current
             146      assets; and
             147          (ii) submit the audit report or report of the agreed upon procedure to the board when
             148      the private school applies to accept scholarship students;
             149          (c) comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000d;
             150          (d) meet state and local health and safety laws and codes;
             151          (e) disclose to the parent of each prospective student, before the student is enrolled,
             152      the special education services that will be provided to the student, including the cost of those
             153      services;
             154          (f) (i) administer an annual assessment of each scholarship student's academic
             155      progress;
             156          (ii) report the results of the assessment to the student's parent; and
             157          (iii) make the results available to the assessment team evaluating the student pursuant
             158      to Subsection 53A-1a-704 (6);
             159          (g) employ or contract with teachers who:
             160          (i) hold baccalaureate or higher degrees;
             161          (ii) have at least three years of teaching experience in public or private schools; or
             162          (iii) have the necessary special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to
             163      provide instruction:
             164          (A) in the subjects taught; and
             165          (B) to the special needs students taught; and
             166          (h) provide to parents the relevant credentials of the teachers who will be teaching
             167      their students.
             168          (2) A private school is not eligible to enroll scholarship students if:
             169          (a) the audit report submitted under Subsection (1)(b) contains a going concern


             170      explanatory paragraph; or
             171          (b) the report of the agreed upon procedure submitted under Subsection (1)(b) shows
             172      that the private school does not have adequate working capital to maintain operations for the
             173      first full year, as determined under Subsection (1)(b).
             174          (3) A home school is not eligible to enroll scholarship students.
             175          (4) Residential treatment facilities licensed by the state are not eligible to enroll
             176      scholarship students.
             177          (5) A private school intending to enroll scholarship students shall submit an
             178      application to the board by May 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which it
             179      intends to enroll scholarship students.
             180          (6) The board shall:
             181          (a) approve a private school's application to enroll scholarship students, if the private
             182      school meets the eligibility requirements of this section; and
             183          (b) make available to the public a list of the eligible private schools.
             184          (7) An approved eligible private school that changes ownership shall submit a new
             185      application to the board and demonstrate that it continues to meet the eligibility requirements
             186      of this section.


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