The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools and numerous other stakeholders in the different scholarship programs worked with the education staff in the House of Representatives and with various representatives to develop accountability measures within the scholarship programs.
PCS for HB 7055 addressed numerous issues other than scholarship accountability but we tracked the bill and the language as it went from the House to the Senate and back to the House. At one point, all of the language and requirements that were in the House bill concerning accountability were stripped by the Senate and replaced with requirements The Coalition and others felt missed the mark.
Luckily, the House stood strong and the final legislation that was passed was the House’s original language.
One major change to the McKay statute is that “A school that received more than $250,000 in scholarship funds only through the McKay Scholarship must submit the annual report to the Department of Education.”
Many schools are familiar with this review because they also accept the CTC scholarship or Gardiner scholarship and both have had to meet this requirement if they exceeded over $250,000 in scholarship funds. Approximately 22 schools accept only the McKay Scholarship and receive over $250,000 in funding. These schools will now have to go through the Agreed Upon Procedures process with a CPA.
A revised Agreed Upon Procedures will be developed and McKay schools will have to meet this requirement starting in September 2019. The Coalition will dedicate a session at the Fall Conference to explain the procedure.
What Happened to House Bill 829? Removing the prior year requirement
Representative Plasencia sponsored the bill and originally started with the goal of removing the prior year as a requirement for eligibility in the McKay Scholarship Program. Due to the funding structure of the McKay Scholarship, this was not been deemed feasible.
Representative Plasencia revised the bill to allow students to become eligible for the McKay Scholarship after only being in the public school for one FEFP count. He also allowed for students to receive their diagnosis of a disability in the same way that Gardiner’s scholarship allows. This would allow students to become eligible for McKay without having an IEP. Several other positive changes were placed in the bill.
Unfortunately, the bill did not move forward and was not passed. The Coalition will continue to work with Rep. Plasencia next year to pass this good legislation.