Empower MS Applauds House Education Committee for Passage of The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act

Legislation would help parents best meet the needs of their children


FEBRUARY 3, 2015


GRANT CALLEN 601-316-6905

[email protected]

RIDGELAND, MISSISSIPPI – This afternoon Grant Callen, President of Empower Mississippi, thanked Representative Carolyn Crawford and legislative leaders for passage of House Bill 394 in the House Education Committee.

“I want to thank Representative Carolyn Crawford, a mother of a student with special needs, for her tireless efforts in advancing The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act in the Mississippi House today. Our growing coalition of parents, advocates, and community leaders are grateful for the support of legislative leaders, particularly House Speaker Gunn and Education Chairman Moore, for advancing HB 394. We ask that both the Mississippi House and Senate continue to advance HB 394 and Senator Nancy Collins’ SB 2695, in order that Mississippi’s students with special needs can finally have the educational options that they deserve.”

HB 394 and SB 2695 would create “education scholarship accounts” that allow parents of students with special needs to direct their children’s funding to the schools, courses, programs, and services that best meet the needs of their children.

Facts about The Special Needs Act:

· This is a pilot program open to 500 students in year one and 500 new students each year after.
· Students with an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) within the past 18 months will be eligible to apply for an Education Scholarship Account (ESA).
· Each account will be funded at approximately $6,500 per child per year and could be spent on approved educational expenses like private school tuition, educational therapy, and tutoring.
· Parents will sign a compliance agreement for proper use of funds and each account will be audited.
· Participating private schools must be accredited, tutors and therapists must be licensed or certified.

More information is at www.SpecialNeedsBill.com.