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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.264

Introduced by Senator Coppenrath of Caledonia District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Education; excess spending; parental choice; scholarships

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to use a portion of a district’s budget that has been identified as excess spending under 32 V.S.A. § 5401(12) to fund “parental choice scholarships” that pay all or a part of the tuition assessed by an approved or recognized independent school or to pay costs in connection with a home study program.

AN ACT RELATING TO CONTAINING EDUCATION COSTS AND AUTHORIZING PARENTAL CHOICE FOR STUDENTS RESIDING IN HIGH SPENDING DISTRICTS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 568 is added to read:

§ 568.  COST CONTAINMENT; PARENTAL CHOICE OPTION

(a)  In any fiscal year in which a district’s adopted amount of education spending, less the portion of spending it has projected or is committed to pay for tuition in that fiscal year, is excess spending as defined in 32 V.S.A.
§ 5401(12), the district shall offer parents or guardians of all pupils in the district the “parental choice option” as provided in this section.

(b)  When a district’s approved education budget results in excess spending pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the district shall allocate and reserve the amount of the budget equal to the excess spending to fund parental choice scholarships to be used in the budget year.  A parental choice scholarship may be used to pay all or part of the tuition assessed by an approved or recognized independent school or to pay costs in connection with a home study program pursuant to section 166b of this title.  The maximum of any parental choice scholarship granted to one individual during the budget year shall be calculated as a percentage of the base education payment for the budget year, as defined in subdivision 4001(13) of this title; provided that in no case shall a scholarship exceed 75 percent of the announced tuition of the independent school.  The percentages shall be:

(1)  Elementary:  65 percent  

(2)  Secondary:  80 percent 

(3)  Home study program:  10 percent

(c)  The district shall establish a process by which it will publicize the availability of parental choice scholarships, accept scholarship applications, and determine the number and individual value of the scholarships awarded.  Among other provisions, a district may choose to give preference to pupils qualifying for food programs, as defined in section 1261a of this title, to pupils with a disability, as defined in subdivision 2942(1) of this title, or to pupils for whom English is not a primary language.  The district may adopt a lottery system when the total value of all scholarship applications exceeds the amount reserved for parental choice scholarships under subsection (b) of this section.  Any balance remaining after all applications have been approved to the maximum amount allowed under subsection (b) shall be available for other district obligations in the budget year.

(d)  The district shall count pupils who receive parental choice scholarships under this section in its determination of weighted membership pursuant to subchapter 2 of chapter 133 of this title. 

Sec. 2.  32 V.S.A. § 5401(13) is amended to read:

(13)  "District spending adjustment" means the greater of: one or a fraction in which the numerator is the district's education spending plus excess spending, per equalized pupil, for the school year; and the denominator is the base education payment for the school year, as defined in section 4001 of Title 16.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall apply to the budgets for school years beginning in fiscal year 2010. 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us