The Legislative PEER Committee released its report titled 2020 Statutory Review of Mississippi’s Education Scholarship Account Program.
According to the report, in Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) disbursed only 71% ($5.5 million) of education scholarship funds available, while 29% ($2.2 million) lapsed and was returned to the State Treasury.
The ESA program’s net added expense to the state for FY 2019 and FY 2020 was approximately $1 million and $2.1 million, respectively.
MDE has addressed some of the issues identified in PEER’s 2018 ESA report (e.g., implementation of formal policies and procedures for the ESA program); however, some issues have not been rectified (e.g., issues regarding reimbursements).
MDE did not require parents to submit documentation after three years of program enrollment showing that their child continues to have a disability. As a result, MDE allowed 117 students to continue participating in the program in FYs 2019 and 2020 who were not eligible according to state law.
PEER’s survey indicated high levels of satisfaction with the program by both parents and students.
Senate Bill 2594 (2020 Regular Session) made changes to ESA student and nonpublic school eligibility and revised several aspects of the program’s administration.
You can read the full report below.