Child Safety Accounts
The bill creates the "Child Safety Account Act", which allows for a student who is directly affected by or involved in a safety incident occurring at a public school, but is not the perpetrator, to qualify for a child safety account. A child safety account is an account that must be used to pay for eligible expenses necessary for the education of the qualified student.
The bill requires the department of education (department) to contract with an entity that will administer the child safety account program (administering entity).
Upon the creation of a child safety account, the department shall transfer to the administering entity an amount equal to the state share of per pupil revenues of the enrolling school district or institute charter school for the budget year in which the account is created and deduct the amount transferred from that amount that the department distributes to the school district's or institute charter school's budget for the budget year.
The general assembly shall annually appropriate to the department the amount required to be transferred from the department to the administering entity for the child safety accounts. In a budget year in which the general assembly does not appropriate a sufficient amount to fully fund the child safety accounts, the department shall reduce the amount transferred to the administering entity for distribution to each child safety account by the same percentage that the deficit bears to the amount required to fully fund the child safety accounts.
If a child safety account has been closed, any amount remaining in the account must be transferred to the department, and the department shall transfer the money to the treasurer for deposit into the general fund.
In order to qualify for a child safety account, the parent of a student must apply to the administering entity.
A child safety account continues to be active without need for renewal, until the qualified student completes twelfth grade or ceases to be enrolled in a participating school or nonpublic home-based educational program.
Any unexpended amount left in the child safety account at the end of a school year remains in the account and may be expended on eligible expenses in subsequent school years and used for eligible expenses while the student remains enrolled in an institution of higher education.
The administering entity is required to monitor the expenses made from money in child safety accounts. If it appears the money in a child safety account was used for an expense that was not an eligible expense, the administering entity is required to convene a review committee to determine whether the expense was an eligible expense, and if not an eligible expense, whether it was a good-faith mistake. The review committee is required to take appropriate action depending upon the outcome of the review.
The administering entity is required to oversee scholarship-granting organizations. A scholarship-granting organization shall accept scholarship applications from qualified students with child safety accounts, who shall use the awarded amounts to pay for eligible expenses above the amount credited to the child safety account. The scholarship-granting organization shall also accept donations from individuals or corporations for scholarship applicants.
The bill creates an income tax credit for parents of qualified students with child safety accounts for payments of eligible expenses above the amount provided through a child safety account.
The bill creates a tax credit to encourage donations for individuals or corporations that donate to scholarship-granting organizations for scholarships for qualified students with child safety accounts.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)