Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Media Advisory: State Board of Ed to Consider Special Needs Scholarship Issue

Parents, Advocates Seek Action Against Schools Breaking OK Law

WHO: State Rep. Jason Nelson (R-Oklahoma City), advocates for children with special needs, and parents of children with special needs
WHAT: State Board of Education Meeting
WHERE: State Board Room, Suite 1-20, Hodge Education Building at the Capitol complex, 2500 North Lincoln Blvd.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, October 21

THE STORY AT A GLANCE: During Thursday’s meeting, the State Board of Education is scheduled to consider possible action against schools that are violating state law governing the treatment of Oklahoma children with special needs.

State Rep. Jason Nelson, who authored the law providing scholarships to children with special needs (such as autism), will be in attendance, as will at least one affected parent of a special needs child. Other parents and advocates may also attend.

Under the scholarship program created through House Bill 3393, children with disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP) qualify for a scholarship to attend any private school that meets the accreditation requirements of the State Board of Education. The amount of the scholarship is the amount the state would have spent on the child, so it requires no new spending.

Officials at the Bixby, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso, Union and Tulsa school districts have voted to break that law, leaving special-needs children without access to appropriate educational services.

Nelson and affected families will be available to comment on the issue.

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