The bill creates the Colorado special education opportunity scholarship program (program) to provide scholarships to parents of eligible students with disabilities to use in purchasing services from an education provider or other educational services as selected by the parent. The department of education (department) must select up to 3 entities (scholarship facilitators) to implement the program by establishing and maintaining an account for each participating eligible student. The administrative costs of the scholarship facilitators are paid from money deposited in each account.
An eligible student who participates in the program receives a scholarship in an amount equal to the statewide per pupil revenues plus the amount of per pupil special education funding plus a proportional share of the funding for students with multiple disabilities if the eligible student has multiple disabilities. The eligible student must not be enrolled in a public school so long as the student is receiving a scholarship. The parent of a participating eligible student must use the money in the student's account to purchase educational services or materials, as described in the bill, and maintain a record of and receipts for services and materials purchased. A parent may not accept any payment, rebate, or illegitimate refund from a provider from whom the parent purchases educational services or materials. The bill establishes the process for investigating and addressing, if necessary, any alleged misuse of scholarship money.
The bill specifies the duties of the scholarship facilitators, including publicizing the program, reporting specified information to the department, establishing the method for paying money out of the accounts, monitoring parents' use of the money in the accounts, and approving educational services providers.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)