Private School Scholarships for Special Needs Children
Private School Scholarships
for Special Needs Children
Finding a school where your child can reach his highest potential is paramount for many parents. When their child has special needs, this can be a daunting task. However, for these parents, their choices have vastly improved during the last few years in the state of Georgia. The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) is now offered to children who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in a Georgia public school. Students must have attended a public school in the state for a year to qualify. The scholarship can be used to help the child transfer to another public school which may better meet his or her needs or to attend a private school that is on the approved state list. Most parents opt for private school. Parents should have been notified of the transfer option at least 10 days before the end of the school year.
How to Enroll in a Private School
There is no formal application process for the GSNS. The award sheet generated by the scholarship calculator (www.doe.k12.ga.us/sb10.aspx) for eligible students is the only document needed by a private school for proof of a student’s eligibility for the GSNS Program.
It’s up to the parents to find the private school that both meets with their family’s requirements and that is authorized to participate in the GSNS Program (See sidebar for a listing of participating local schools). A parent/guardian must provide a copy of the scholarship award sheet to a private school when applying. This notifies the private school that a student is eligible for the GSNS Program.
Acceptance of the scholarship shall have the same effect as a parental refusal to consent to services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.A. Section 1400, et seq. This means that accepting a scholarship is the same as refusal to provide parental consent for special services under IDEA, and a participating private school is not required to follow a student’s IEP. Upon acceptance of the scholarship, a parent/guardian assumes full financial responsibility for the education of the scholarship student, including transportation to and from the participating school. If tuition and fees charged are higher at a private school than the scholarship award, a parent/guardian is responsible for paying the additional tuition. If tuition and fees are less than the scholarship award, the lesser amount will be paid under the scholarship. The GSNS Program by law will always pay the lesser of the two amounts. Once accepted into a private school a parent/guardian must withdraw their student from the public school at the beginning of the new school year, following the procedures of the public school. A student cannot be dually enrolled at a public and private school and receive a scholarship.
A prent/guardian must follow up with a selected private school to ensure it has enrolled and reported a student as a GSNS student to the GaDOE. If a private school fails to report a GSNS student to the GaDOE, this will affect the scholarship payments for a student and could affect his/her eligibility for the GSNS Program.
In order to be eligible to receive the scholarship for the 2011–2012 school year, a student must be in attendance in an authorized private school through the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program by September 16, 2011 for the 2011–2012 school year. There are no exceptions to this deadline.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SCHOLARSHIP
The deadline to have a student enrolled in a private school through the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program is September 16, 2011 for the 2011–2012 school year.
This Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program web page (www.doe.k12.ga.us/sb10.aspx) contains all information regarding the program. It is recommended that parents bookmark it and check it often. Scholarship amounts for students generally range from $2,500 to $13,500 with an average amount of about $6,271 in 2011–2012.
There is no application. In May 2011, a scholarship calculator will be posted on the web page for parents. The award sheet generated by the calculator is proof of a student’s eligibility for the GSNS Program. A student must meet the following eligibility requirements if a parent is interested in having a child participate in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program during the 2011–2012 school year for the first time:
To be eligible to receive a scholarship, students must:
* Have parent/guardian who currently lives in Georgia and has been a resident for at least one calendar year.
* Have spent the entire 2010-11 school year in attendance at a Georgia public school (K–12).
* Have been served at some point during the 2010-11 school year under an Individualized Education (IEP).
Students who have one or more of the following special needs may qualify (given the above requirements are met): autism; deaf/blind; deaf/hard of hearing; emotional and behavioral disorder; intellectual disability; orthopedic impairment; other health impairment; specific learning disability; speech-language impairment; traumatic brain injury; or visual impairment.
Private Schools in
Central Fellowship Christian Academy
8460 Hawkinsville Road
Carol Yelverton, Beverly Harvey - 478-788-6909
Mount de Sales Academy
851 Orange Street, Macon
David Held - 478/751-3240
Tattnall Square Academy
111 Trojan Trail, Macon
Lynne Adams, Larry Collins - 478/477-6760
Woodfield Academy, Inc.
4375 Rivoli Drive, Macon
Becky Sessions - 478-477-9844
Byron Christian Academy
69 Burnett Road, Byron
Donna Vander Zwaag - 478/956-3503