MS governor signs bill to help special-needs students

Thursday, April 30, 2015
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Mississippi has become the third state to implement an education savings account program after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the legislation into law.

Surrounded by parents and students on April 16, Gov. Bryant signed the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act, which creates a program to help students with special needs.

kindergarten classKrista Carney with the American Federation of Children says children with autism and cerebral palsy are among those who can receive a scholarship to "customize their education" for their own needs.

The Clarion-Ledger newspaper reported there are approximately 66,000 public school students with disabilities in Mississippi. The state ranks last in the nation for their graduation rate, at 22.5 percent.

Mississippi legislators deferred action on the Opportunity Scholarship Act until next year.

Carney is hopeful it can be passed in that session after legislators "see the power of school choice." 

Students qualifying for an ESA will receive $6,500 dollar scholarships. The program will be available to 500 students in the first year then expand. 

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