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Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program

Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program

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Published by Paul Fuentes
Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program
Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Paul Fuentes on Oct 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/15/2011

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The Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program Act(Universal Eligibility One Scholarship Amount)
Summary
The Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program Act creates a scholarship program that provides allchildrenthe option to attend the public or private elementary or secondary school of theirparents' choice.
 Model Legislation
Section 1:
Illinois Parental Choice Scholarship Program Act
Section 2: {Definitions}
A)“Program” means the Parental Choice Scholarship Program created in this subchapter.B) “Eligible student” means the student was eligible to attend a public school in the precedingsemester or is starting school in our state for the first time.
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C) “Parent” includes a guardian, custodian or other personwith the authority to act on behalf of the child.D)“Department” means the IllinoisDepartment of Education.
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E) “Resident school district” means the public school district in which the student resides.F) “Participating school” means either a public school outside of the resident school district orany nonpublic school that provides education to elementary and/or secondary students and hasnotified the department of its intention to participate in the program and comply with theprogram’s requirements.
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Section 3: {Basic Elements of the Parental Choice Scholarship Program}
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A)Any eligible student may apply to attend any participating school in the Parental ChoiceScholarship Program.B) Eligible students may attend a participating school until theirgraduation from high school ortheir 21st birthday, whichever comes first.C) Any eligible student will qualify for an annual scholarship in an amount equal to the lesser of:
 
1)theparticipating school’s annual cost per pupil, including both operational and capitalfacility costs; or2)the dollar amount the resident school district would have received to serve and educatethe eligible student from state and local sources had the student enrolled there.
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D)The scholarship is the entitlement of the eligible student under the supervision of thestudent’s parent and not that of any school.E) A participating school may not refund, rebate or share a student’s scholarship with a parent orthe student in any manner. A student’s scholarship may only be used for educational purposes.F) Participating schools that have more eligible students applying than spaces available shall fillthe available spaces by a random selection process, except that participating schools may givepreference to siblings of enrolled students and previously enrolled scholarship students under thissubchapter.
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G)If a student is denied admission to a participating school because it has too few availablespaces, theeligible student may transfer his scholarship to a participating school that has spacesavailable.H)Eligible students shall be counted in the enrollment figures for their resident school districtfor the purposes of calculating state aid to the residentschool district. The funds needed for ascholarship shall be subtracted from the state school aid payable to the student’s resident schooldistrict. Any aid the school district would have received for the student in excess of the fundsneededfor a scholarship will be kept by the state.
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I) The department shall adopt rules consistent with this act regarding:1)the eligibility and participation of non-public schools, including timelines that willmaximize student and public and non-public school participation;2)the calculation and distribution of scholarships to eligible students; and
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3)the application and approval procedures for scholarships for eligible students andparticipating schools.
Section 4: {Accountability Standards for Participating Non-Public Schools}
A)Administrative Accountability Standards. To ensure that students are treated fairly and keptsafe, all participating schools shall:1)comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to non-public schools;2)hold a valid occupancy permit if required by their municipality;
 
3)certify that they will not discriminate in admissions on the basis of race, color, nationalorigin, religion or disability; and
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4)complywith all state laws that apply to non-public schools regarding criminalbackground checks for employees and exclude from employment any people notpermitted by state law to work in a nonpublic school.
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B) Financial Accountability Standards. To ensure that public funds are spent appropriately, allparticipating non-public schools shall:1)demonstrate their financial accountability by:a) submitting a financial information report for the school that complies withuniformfinancial accounting standards established by the department andconducted by a certified public accountant; and
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b)having the auditor certify that the report is free of material misstatements andfairlyrepresents the costs per pupil under section 3(C)(1). The auditor’s reportshall be limited in scope to those records that are necessary for the department tomake payments to participating schools on behalf of parents for scholarships.2)demonstratetheir financial viability by showing they can repay any funds that mightbe owed the state, if they are to receive $50,000 or more during the school year, by:a) filing with the department prior to the start of the school year a surety bondpayable to thestate in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of the ParentalChoice Scholarships expected to be paid during the school year to studentsadmitted at the participating school; orb)filing with the department prior to the start of the school year financialinformation that demonstrates the school has the ability to pay an aggregateamount equal to the amount of the Parental Choice Scholarships expected to bepaid during the school year to students admitted at the participating school.
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C) Academic Accountability Standards. To ensure that schools provide academic accountabilityto parents of the students in the program, all participating schools shall regularly report to theparent on the student’s progress.
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D)Participating School Autonomy.A participating school is autonomous and not an agent of thestate or federal government and therefore:1)the department or any other state agency may not in any way regulate the educationalprogram of a participating school that accepts a Parental Choice Scholarship; and

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