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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 19, 2018 02:15 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Keystone Scholarship Program for Exceptional Students
I am reintroducing House Bill 2228 of last session, legislation that establishes the Keystone Scholarship Program for Exceptional Students, which provides scholarships to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade to allow the parents of these children to purchase the best educational option available to educate their child. A parent of an eligible student participating in the program may utilize funds deposited in their student’s account for qualified expenses including, but not limited to, tuition and fees, textbooks, tutoring, curriculum, corresponding materials and exams, and training programs.

The goal of this legislation is to expand the options for parents of children with special needs, including those who have been designated as Gifted. It allows the family to decide which educational environment most effectively accommodates the student’s needs. Among other criteria, an eligible student who can receive a Keystone Scholarship includes a child:
  • With an individualized education program;
  • With a 504 plan;
  • With a gifted individualized education plan;
  • With a diagnosed disability recognized under federal law;
  • With a diagnosis that qualifies for Early Intervention Services;

The PA Department of Education (PDE) will be responsible for administering the program, including approving applications submitted by parents, notifying parents of eligible students of the responsibilities of PDE and the parent, and providing a list of participating schools.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation, so that we can provide more educational options for exceptional students throughout the Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB353