Jackson, Miss— The Equal Opportunity For All Students Act, which is House Bill 943, passed the house education committee and is headed to the House appropriations committee.
The bill creates Education Scholarship Accounts that will give parents new choices when it comes to their child’s education.
If a parent feels that their current public school isn’t meeting their child’s needs, the ESA will allow the parent to withdraw their child from that school, and their state tax dollars will be moved to the new school. That money will be used for therapies, tutoring, textbooks, or private school tuition.
Under this new bill, all previous ESA recipients would still get the assistance, and kids starting kindergarten or first grade would be eligible as well.
Other students who would be eligible include:
- Students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or specified disability
- Students with an active duty military parent
- Foster children who have achieved permanency through adoption or guardianship
- Siblings of currently eligible and participating students
Students with special needs will continue to be eligible for an ESA in the amount of $6,500, while low income students (those with an income less than 200% Federal Poverty Level) will be eligible for an ESA in the amount of $5,000. Middle class families (those with an income between 200-350% Federal Poverty Level) will be eligible for an ESA in the amount of $4,000. Families earning more than 350% Federal Poverty Level will not be eligible for an ESA.
The program is capped at one percent of public school enrollment in its first year.