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H.B. 425

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


             90      for a student; or
             91          (ii) constitute a waiver or admission by the state.
             92          (6) (a) A scholarship shall remain in force for three years.
             93          (b) A scholarship shall be extended for an additional three years, if:
             94          (i) the student is evaluated by an assessment team; and
             95          (ii) the assessment team determines that the student would qualify for special education
             96      services, if enrolled in a public school.
             97          (c) The assessment team shall determine the appropriate level of special education
             98      services which should be provided to the student for the purpose of setting the scholarship
             99      amount.
             100          (d) A scholarship shall be extended for successive three-year periods as provided in
             101      Subsections (6)(a) and (b):
             102          (i) until the student graduates from high school; or
             103          (ii) if the student does not graduate from high school, until the student is age 22.
             104          (7) A student's parent, at any time, may remove the student from a private school and
             105      place the student in another eligible private school and retain the scholarship.
             106          (8) A scholarship student may not participate in a dual enrollment program pursuant to
             107      Section 53A-11-102.5 .
             108          (9) The parents or guardians of a scholarship student have the authority to choose the
             109      private school that will best serve the interests and educational needs of that student, which
             110      may be a sectarian or nonsectarian school, and to direct the scholarship resources available for
             111      that student solely as a result of their genuine and independent private choices.
             112          (10) (a) [Each] A school district [and] or charter school shall notify in writing the
             113      parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school district or charter school who have an
             114      IEP of the availability of a scholarship to attend a private school through the Carson Smith
             115      Scholarship Program.
             116          (b) The notice described under Subsection (10)(a) shall:
             117          (i) be provided no later than 30 days after the student initially qualifies for an IEP;
             118          (ii) be provided annually no later than February 1 to all students who have an IEP; and
             119          (iii) include the address of the Internet website maintained by the board that provides
             120      prospective applicants with detailed program information and application forms for the Carson


             121      Smith Scholarship Program.
             122          (c) A school district, school within a school district, or charter school that has an
             123      enrolled student who has an IEP shall post the address of the Internet website maintained by the
             124      board that provides prospective applicants with detailed program information and application
             125      forms for the Carson Smith Scholarship Program on the school district's or school's website, if
             126      the school district or school has one.
             127          Section 2. Section 53A-1a-705 is amended to read:
             128           53A-1a-705. Eligible private schools.
             129          (1) To be eligible to enroll a scholarship student, a private school shall:
             130          (a) have a physical location in Utah where the scholarship students attend classes and
             131      have direct contact with the school's teachers;
             132          (b) (i) (A) obtain an audit and report from a licensed independent certified public
             133      accountant that conforms with the following requirements:
             134          (I) the audit shall be performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing
             135      standards;
             136          (II) the financial statements shall be presented in accordance with generally accepted
             137      accounting principles; and
             138          (III) the audited financial statements shall be as of a period within the last 12 months;
             139      or
             140          (B) contract with a licensed independent certified public accountant to perform an
             141      agreed upon procedure as follows:
             142          (I) the agreed upon procedure shall be to determine that the private school has adequate
             143      working capital to maintain operations for the first full year; and
             144          (II) working capital shall be calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current
             145      assets; and
             146          (ii) submit the audit report or report of the agreed upon procedure to the board when
             147      the private school applies to accept scholarship students;
             148          (c) comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000d;
             149          (d) meet state and local health and safety laws and codes;
             150          (e) disclose to the parent of each prospective student, before the student is enrolled, the
             151      special education services that will be provided to the student, including the cost of those


             152      services;
             153          (f) (i) administer an annual assessment of each scholarship student's academic
             154      progress;
             155          (ii) report the results of the assessment to the student's parent; and
             156          (iii) make the results available to the assessment team evaluating the student pursuant
             157      to Subsection 53A-1a-704 (6);
             158          (g) employ or contract with teachers who:
             159          (i) hold baccalaureate or higher degrees;
             160          (ii) have at least three years of teaching experience in public or private schools; or
             161          (iii) have the necessary special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to
             162      provide instruction:
             163          (A) in the subjects taught; and
             164          (B) to the special needs students taught; and
             165          (h) provide to parents the relevant credentials of the teachers who will be teaching their
             166      students.
             167          (2) A private school is not eligible to enroll scholarship students if:
             168          (a) the audit report submitted under Subsection (1)(b) contains a going concern
             169      explanatory paragraph; or
             170          (b) the report of the agreed upon procedure submitted under Subsection (1)(b) shows
             171      that the private school does not have adequate working capital to maintain operations for the
             172      first full year, as determined under Subsection (1)(b).
             173          (3) A home school is not eligible to enroll scholarship students.
             174          (4) Residential treatment facilities licensed by the state are not eligible to enroll
             175      scholarship students.
             176          (5) A private school intending to enroll scholarship students shall submit an application
             177      to the board by May 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which it intends to enroll
             178      scholarship students.
             179          (6) The board shall:
             180          (a) approve a private school's application to enroll scholarship students, if the private
             181      school meets the eligibility requirements of this section; and
             182          (b) make available to the public a list of the eligible private schools.


             183          (7) An approved eligible private school that changes ownership shall submit a new
             184      application to the board and demonstrate that it continues to meet the eligibility requirements
             185      of this section.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-11-09 4:19 PM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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