Mom discusses impact of special needs scholarship - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mom discusses impact of special needs scholarship

The Education Scholarship Accounts gives families the chance to get $6,500 scholarships to take their special needs students to a private school or additional therapy. Source: WLBT The Education Scholarship Accounts gives families the chance to get $6,500 scholarships to take their special needs students to a private school or additional therapy. Source: WLBT
This year, 286 students were approved for the scholarships. Less than half of those have gotten reimbursements.  Source: WLBT This year, 286 students were approved for the scholarships. Less than half of those have gotten reimbursements. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Scholarships for special needs students are designed to give parents more choices. But the Mississippi Department of Education says it hasn't dished out all the available money this first year.

Sixth grader Lanna Beard has trouble processing and retaining information. She has tried private and public schools, but she never got the individualized attention she needed.

That is - until she started at New Summit School this past August. 

"She doesn't feel like she's just getting shoved along the way," said Lanna's mother Martha Beard.

But specialized attention comes with a price tag.

"Her doctor actually recommended that we make a move two years ago but the finances were just not available at that time."

Then came the Education Scholarship Accounts. It gives families the chance to get $6,500 scholarships to take their special needs students to a private school or additional therapy.

Lanna received one of those scholarships, reducing the financial burden of her new school's tuition.

Beard said, "It has been a Godsend for us. It has provided us an opportunity to give her the best education that we can with so much less stress."

The legislation made $3 million available. That's enough for 433 students.

This year, 286 students were approved for the scholarships. Less than half of those have gotten reimbursements.

Most denied applications were because students didn't have the required Individualized Education Program from a public school.
 

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