Friday, July 7, 2017

Special Needs Tuition Scholarship applications are available

The Mississippi Department of Education issued the following press release.

MDE Announces Lottery for Special Needs Scholarship Program Applications

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced plans today for a lottery on July 14 to award 58 Education Scholarship Accounts (ESA) for the 2017-18 school year.

Established by the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act of 2015, the ESA program provides scholarships to parents of students with disabilities who want to remove their child from a public school to seek educational services elsewhere. ESA recipients are eligible to be reimbursed up to $6,494 in 2017-18 for the cost of private educational services.

The law provides for 435 ESA accounts for the 2017-18 school year. As of June 30, 377 ESAs have been awarded to students returning from the 2016-17 school year. Therefore, 58 additional ESAs are available for 2017-18. There are currently 257 applications on the waiting list for 2017-18. The law requires the MDE to hold a lottery to award ESAs when the demand exceeds the supply.

All eligible applications received for the 2017-18 school year that have not yet been awarded will be included in the lottery. Only complete, eligible applications received by July 14 will qualify for the lottery.

To participate in the ESA program:

 the applicant must be a Mississippi resident;
 the student must have had an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) within five years of the date of application; and
 the parent must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of participation.
Parents who are accepted into the program will be reimbursed quarterly after submission of a reimbursement request with proper documentation of expenses incurred. Funds can also be paid quarterly directly to an educational service provider if approved by the parent.

For more information, visit or call the MDE Office of Special Education at 601-359-3498.


Anonymous said...

On a related note, Kingfish, have you followed the story of the grant being distributed by DPW to children to attend a summer camp session at Jackson State? The amount granted to each child and paid to the college is outrageous, upwards of two thousand dollars apiece. The camp is either one week or two weeks and includes all sorts of charges by Jackson State. A total ripoff of the taxpayers going into the coffers of the HBCU institution.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:56 4 facts, 1 opinion, just for you.

1. The grant is from MDHS, not DPW.
2. They are not spending $2000/child for camp.
3. The grant is for community engagement and includes two, one-week long summer camp sessions. The grant is not solely for the support of the camps, funds will be used throughout the 17-18 academic year.
4. JSU is a public institution and receives public funds. Just like UM, MSU, USM, DSU, ASU, MVSU, and MUW.
5. You are probably (notice the qualifier) a person who complains about "the blacks" no matter what. You complain if we're uneducated, you complain if we go to school. You complain if our kids hang out, You complain if we put them in camp. You complain if we live in the hood, you complain if we move the suburbs. You complain about the existence of HBCUs which were founded SOLELY because white folks wouldn't "allow" us to attend already established institutions of higher learning. Oh well.

Summer Camp For Selected Recipients said...

Boy! I touched a raw nerve there! And please note that the word boy is simply used as an exclamatory word - nothing to do with referring to you in a derogatory fashion.

So - The grant is distributed by Mississippi Department of Human Services; Not the Department of Public Welfare. Pardon me for using the old name for the same agency.

The grant is used for 'community engagement' through the 2017-18 academic year. In other words, the grant writer was skilled enough to spread it so thin and wide with the use of nebulous terminology like 'community engagement' and some suggestion of a year-long follow-up during the academic year ahead that there's no way in hell to effectively audit the expenditures or track the usage of the money. Gotcha.

And you bother to tell me Jackson State is a public university. So what? Then you lecture me on the reason HBCUs were founded over a hundred years ago but you ignore the fact that those conditions ceased to exist 40 years ago.

Next you say white folks complain if 'we' put them through camp. No, I would have no complaint if 'you' put them through camp. The problem is 'you' don't. 'WE' do - through our taxes. All of us who pay taxes do.

So - The only thing you left out is schooling me on the fact that JSU students associated with the 'summer camp session' will be required to write a paper regarding 'community engagement' and how their participation in the summer youth program camp benefited them, as a student and how the program will benefit society at large.

I will repeat my last sentence in the initial post: A total ripoff of the taxpayers going into the coffers of the HBCU institution.

Will the children get a T-Shirt and who besides Baby Chock and Kenny will speak to them on Wednesday during camp?

Anonymous said...

Where can one find a link to the explanation/description/qualifications of this 'summer camp' program?

Anonymous said...

Nice spin, 2:15. And no, I am not the one that posted the original comment. But your response leaves a lot to be said as well:

The grant is Dept of Human Services, as you say. It is not DPW, but either way, it is public tax dollars, not a charity or a generous benefactor.

The grant is $952,000 and is to support two one-week camps. Each camp will provide for 200 campers. The net camper cost is $2,380 for a five day camp!! Calculated differently, it is almost $600/night, or again differently, $475/day/camper.

Summer camps are great. I enjoyed them decades ago. My kids enjoyed them as well. But neither my kids nor I attended on a freebie basis, paid for by other people's tax dollars.

But more to the point, never ever did I even know of a camp that cost this much per kid. This scam by JSU might be a great community involvement, but it smells more of a way to help overcome its budgetary hole using those taxpayer paid for domitory rooms.

Anonymous said...

Just for fun I googled Mississippi summer camps. A few I found-

YMCA- $127-$177/ wk
MS Children's Museum- $175-$200/ wk
Twin Lakes (Florence)- $395/wk

So if this camp was closer to something like Twin Lakes, which is on the high side, they could serve 5X as many kids.

Comm. Engagement Code For Community Organizing said...

4:45, or anybody who knows...Please provide a link to this ill-gotten-gain. This will come up again and again as the negative interest swells. As far as I can tell, JSU has provided no publicity (go figure) and the media aren't covering this debacle well enough for Google to have it yet.

Meanwhile: Today's Clarion front page reveals the fact that JSU is 'slashing salaries' and eliminating positions. Nice coincidental touch.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this thread is about JSU is it?

Special needs scholarships are the back door entry to expanded charters and voucher programs.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:37. Sigh. The money is for more than summer camp.
Our tax money is used for all of us. Red, yellow, black, and white. Our taxes are not racially segregated, bless your heart. I'm sure the majority of my tax dollars - state and federal - go to support causes in which I have little or no interest. It's the price we pay for living in this marvelous country. Suck it up.
Do you complain about money at UM? MSU? USM? DSU? Or just monies spent at HBCUs?

Anonymous said...

12:37 aka 2:15 - This is not about wise expenditures of tax dollars. Nor is it another verse to Jesus Loves Me. Nor is it about tax money being spent on things I think I might not benefit from.

It's about grant writers at an institution that's already unable to explain missing millions crafting a grant application (and having it approved) where there is way too much thrown at the fan and spread around in such a manner as to make audit impossible.

All it seems to leave out is contracting with JSU for ten years of annual followup to track the grant recipient children and plot them on a chart that suggests the camp helped them. But, since nobody can cite a link, that's probably in there too.

Your 'sigh' and 'suck it up' asides are so typical of the current 'we in charge now' attitude.

Anonymous said...

"Do you complain about money at UM? MSU? USM? DSU?"

If you can show such a wasteful expenditure of tax dollars going to those schools, you're damned right I will!

The only summer camps I know of at those schools are related to sports with the parents or grandparents picking up the tab.

Anonymous said...

Crickets surround 12:37/2:15. Where is the link to this awful debacle. Provide it or shut the hell up! This whole thing smacks of a Kenny Stokes Bus-Trip Dream.

Anonymous said...

Here is a list of JSU 2017 summer camps. The one being discussed seems not to have made the list:

Anonymous said...

Crickets as to a link that describes this rip-off grant.

4:45....Where did you get your information?

Anonymous said...

4:36 pm Mississippi only has 14000 students a year go to college and not all are in state.
Now you tell me why it's not wasting tax payer dollars to have so many IHLs and junior colleges in a state with a population smaller than some major cities.

Anonymous said...

The children are not chosen based on needs or whether they are able to benefit from the school but rather luck.
There's the flaw with charters.
Parents imagine that their little Johnnie or Janie will get a private school quality education for free and forget what will happen is that funds will be taken from one pot...public education...and the lottery odds are their little Johnnie or Janie will be stuck in a school with less funds and less qualified teachers.
Nor can the public imagine how the lottery can be gamed.
Just designate existing schools based on testing and behaviorial issues and disabilities. Children can be sent to a different school as their test scores improve. Tailor high schools to abilities so that learning trades is possible.
We were headed in that direction until race got in the way.

A Few Hundred Thou Here and There... said...

7:19 AKA 7:37....What has either of your posts got to do with the grant ripoff at JSU?

Apparently Kingfish doesn't think this gigantic tax ripoff right here under our noses is worthy of investigation or he'd be on it like he was on Kenny's unpaid rental-bus invoice.

Anonymous said...

I'm an African American who lives in Jackson, and I make $65,000 per year. I don't pay enough taxes to worry about where every dollar is going. If you divide what I pay in taxes into the thousands of ways the state and the federal government uses my dollars, that camp probably uses only about one-twentieth of a penny of my money. Apparently this camp is for "special needs" children, which to me means disabled children. I have a child with Autism, so I'm assuming this camp had to hire some employees with specialized training to care for the unique needs of these children. Either way, in the whole scheme of things, tax dollars are being wasted every day on much worse stuff than a camp for kids. I am blessed that I can afford care for my child, but that doesn't give me the right to demean people who are less fortunate than I. Most of us are two pay checks away from being bankrupt, so let's play nice with each other.


No 7:18 Nothing has been shown or said to indicate these are Special Needs children and children are not being demeaned so stop with the socialist-pity-party. From what little we can tell, they're just in the household welfare budget and this simply another way for JSU to self-enrich.

I will also suggest that you're part of the problem in that you can't care less where your tax dollars are spent as long as you manage to feel good about yourself.

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