Kentucky Legislators Introduce New School Choice Option for Special Needs Students
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This week, Kentucky Senate Education Committee Chair Mike Wilson and Representative Addia Wuchner filed SB 273 and HB 620, respectively, which will create Individualized Education Accounts for students with special needs. These accounts, also known as Education Savings Accounts, would allow students to use state funds already designated for their education to attend private school; receive tutoring, therapy and support services at home; or build a customized education from these options and more.
“Education Savings Accounts empower parents with the opportunity to choose the best education for their children. That opportunity is especially important for parents of students with special needs in Kentucky public schools, where nearly one in three students with special needs do not graduate. This is a bold step forward for the Kentucky education system and a win for students,” said ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Director J. Alex Kelly.
“We commend Chair Wilson and Representative Wuchner for their commitment to the children of Kentucky.”
Background on Education Savings Accounts:
- Education Savings Accounts (also commonly referred to as Education Scholarship Accounts or ESAs) are an innovative way to bring customization to the education system.
- ESAs allow parents to direct their child’s funding to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice – including tuition and fees, curriculum materials, tutoring, online learning, dual enrollment, and licensed services such as therapy for students with disabilities.
- Parents are able to save unused funds for higher education expenses – creating an incentive for parents to judge all education service expenses not only on quality but also on cost.
- ESAs create a personal approach to education, where the ultimate goal is maximizing each child’s natural learning abilities.
*According to data released by the U.S. Department of Education showing high school graduation rates for the 2013-14 school year, 71 percent of students with special needs in Kentucky graduate from high school.