Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts

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Home Educators' Voice At The Capitol - Florida
Providing information and insights to Florida Home Educators June 2014

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Personal Learning Scholarship Account

Home school Mom, Julie Kleffel and daughter attended the press conference with Brenda Dickinson/HEF where Gov. Scott highlighted the new Florida law providing services to kids with special needs.

Governor Rick Scott signed the Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA) into law on June 20, 2014. This new law will provide parents of children with certain disabilities the opportunity to create a customized learning plan by choosing the program, services and therapies that best fit the needs of their child.

HEF is very excited about this law since Brenda Dickinson, your lobbyist, has been working for almost a decade to obtain state assistance for parents who have chosen to educate their special-needs child at home.  This law does not cover all learning differences, but it is a start. 

There are details that still must be worked out, but the administrators of this program are making great progress and will begin taking applications in mid-July.  The funds will most likely be available in mid-October, but parents need to begin the application process as soon as possible since the funds set aside by the Legislature will be given to parents on a first come, first served basis.

Student Eligibility
The PLSA will serve Florida students in grades K-12 who have an IEP or
a diagnosis from a licensed physician or psychologist for one of the following disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Intellectual disability
  • Spina bifida
  • Williams syndrome

OR

  • A “high-risk child” in kindergarten, age 3-5, with a developmental delay in cognition, language, or physical development.

The parent must register the child for attendance purposes in a private, parochial, religious, or denominational school or a home education program.
 
Public school students and students receiving another state scholarship program are not eligible.
 
Scholarship Amount
 
The scholarship will vary according to student’s grade and disability, as well as the county in which the student resides since the amount is based on a formula tied to the school district funding. The amount could be as much as $10,000 per child.

Approved ExpendituresThe funds can be used for:

  • Instructional materials, including digital devices, digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that allow a student to access instruction or instructional content.
  • Curriculum which is a complete course of study for a particular content area or grade level, including any required supplemental materials
  • Specialized services by approved providers that are selected by the parent including, but are not limited to:
    • Applied behavior analysis
    • Speech-language
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physical therapy
    • Listening and spoken language for the deaf or hard of hearing
  • Tuition or fees associated with enrollment in approved private schools, private tutoring programs, private virtual education programs, FLVS, district virtual programs, Massive Open Online Courses or postsecondary educational institutions.
  • Fees for norm-referenced, AP exams, industry certifications, SAT, ACT and other assessments.
  • Contracted services provided by a school district
  • Contributions to Florida Pre-paid College Program.

Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Participation will be limited to the $18.4 million set aside for the program in the budget.
 
Please help us make this email go viral so that parents who are currently home educating their children with disabilities will be first in line.  Urge your home school friends to sign up for the HEF newsletter www.flhef.org for updates.

Urge parents whose children meet the eligibility qualifications to go to our new website:

Special Needs Kids at Home
www.specialneedskidsathome.com

and register.  HEF will notify those signed up on this website immediately when the application process is in place so that these parents can be first in line for the program.



P.S. If you have a story to share about how HEF has helped you, how your family has benefited from home education, or a question you would like to ask Brenda, please e-mail it here.

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