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Voucher School Criteria

Voucher School Criteria

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Published by: American Press on Jul 11, 2012
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LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
CriteriaforNonpublicSchoolParticipationintheLouisianaScholarshipProgram
Act2ofthe2012RegularSessionestablishestheLouisianaStudentScholarshipProgram,allowingfamiliesdissatisfiedwithtraditionalschooloptionstomakealternatechoices.ThelawstipulatesthatthestateDepartmentofEducationshall“developcriteriafor[school]participationthatincludesanaccountabilitysystemforparticipatingstudentsatparticipatingschools.”Thisdocument–theproductofconsultationwitheducators,policymakers,andcommunitymembers–isthefirstoftwosetsofrulesthatrespondtothislegalmandate.Itentailscriteriaforparticipationhavingtodowiththeoperationsofparticipatingschools,anditwillbefollowedbyaseconddocumentdetailingacademicaccountability.Theproposedcriteriareflectthefollowingvalues:
 
Autonomy
:minimizingbureaucracyandcomplexity.
 
Responsibility
:upholdingthepublictrustwhenpublicfundsareinvolved.
 
Safety
:protectionofchildren’shealthandwelfare.Thepoliciesaremeanttoprotectchildrenwhileavoidingalabyrinthofpoliciesthattiethehandsofeducatorsandfamilies.Theyexisttominimizetherareharmfulcircumstanceratherthantoregulateday-to-dayconditionsinschools.
CriteriaforParticipatingNonpublicSchools
InordertoparticipateintheScholarshipProgram,andinadditiontocriteriaforparticipationalreadyestablishedinthestatuteandinthelaw,nonpublicschoolsshallsatisfythefollowingcriteriaforparticipation.Schoolsthatdonotmeetthesecriteriaforparticipationmaybedeclaredineligibletoparticipateintheprogram.Ineligibilitytoparticipatemayresultintheschoolenrollingnonewstudentsforoneormoreyears,enrollingnonewstudentspermanently,orendingallparticipationimmediately.
FocusAreaStandard
EnrollmentParticipatingschoolsshallindicatethenumberofstudentstheyareableandwillingtoserve.Iftheincreasetototalstudentenrollmentwouldresultintotalstudentenrollmentthatisgreaterthan125percentoftheirtotalstudentenrollmentinthepreviousschoolyearor50studentsmorethanwereenrolledinthepreviousschoolyear,includingpre-kindergartenenrollment,theDepartmentshallconsidergrantingtherequestbasedafterareviewofparentdemand(demonstratedthroughthestudentapplicationprocess)andtheschool’sdemonstratedcapacitytoeffectivelyservesuchstudents.
 
2FinancialPracticeParticipatingschoolsshallcomplywiththefollowingrulesregardingfinancialpractice.Violationsmayresultinaschoolbeingdeclaredineligibletoparticipate.
UseofFunds
Scholarshipfundsshallbespentonlyon“educationalpurposes,”asdefinedinthemostrecentlyapprovedMinimumFoundationProgramformula.Anyexpenditureofscholarshipfundsconstitutinggrossirresponsibilityorgrossindividualenrichmentisprohibited.Noofficer,administrator,director,manager,oremployeeofaparticipatingschoolshallusetheauthorityofhisofficeorpositioninconnectionwiththeschool’sparticipationintheScholarshipProgram,directlyorindirectly,inamannerintendedtocompelorcoerceanypersontoprovidehimselforanyotherpersonwithanythingofeconomicvalue.
Tuition
TuitionandfeesreceivedthroughtheScholarshipProgramforparticipatingstudentsshallnotexceedtuitionandfeeschargedtoenrolledstudentsnotparticipatingintheprogram.TuitionandfeesshallbedefinedasthetotalpaymentchargedtoenrolledstudentsnotparticipatingintheScholarshipProgram,andpaidonbehalfofthosestudents.ScholarshipfundsmaynotbeusedtopaytuitionandfeesforstudentsnotparticipatingintheScholarshipProgram.
 AnnualIndependentScholarshipAudit
TheDepartmentshallpublishguidanceastothecontentsoftheannualindependentscholarshipauditsoastoensurecompliancewiththelimitsentailedinthelaw.Theauditshalladdressrulesoffinancialpracticecontainedinthisbulletin.Failuretocorrectviolationsoftherulescontainedinthisbulletin,orevidenceofgrossfiscalirresponsibility,mayresultinpenaltiesincludingtheschoolbeingdeclaredineligibletoparticipate.SchoolsthatdonotobtainanauditordonotsubmittheauditaccordingtoatimelineestablishedbytheDepartmentmayincurpenaltiesincludingbeingdeclaredineligibletoparticipate.StudentMobilityInparticipatingschools,theDepartmentmayinvestigateinstancesinwhichtherateofstudentsremainingenrolledfromthebeginningofoneschoolyeartothenextschoolyearfallsshortoftheaverageofallparticipatingschoolsbyasignificantpercentage.Schoolswithexaggerated,repeated,oruncorrectedpatternsoflowrelativeratesofcontinuedenrollmentmaybeinstructedtoenrollnonewstudentsforoneyearortofullyendparticipation.

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