Tuesday, December 18, 2018

PEER Studies ESA Scholarships

The PEER Committee issued the following report on the Education Scholarship Account program for Special Needs children.

MISS. CODE ANN. Section 37-181-13 (1) requires the PEER Committee to conduct a biennial review of Mississippi’s Education Scholarship Account (ESA) program administered by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). The Committee is releasing its report titled A Statutory Review of Mississippi’s Education Scholarship Account Program.

Some of the Committee’s major findings include:

During FY 2018, 367 students participated in the ESA program and attended 96 nonpublic schools in Mississippi, Tennessee, and online. While some of the schools are designed to serve students with special needs, the majority are not. (KF Note: How many attended each type of school?)

As the result of unused and partially used ESA funds in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the MDE disbursed only 70% of ESA funds available, while 30% lapsed to the State Treasury.

If MDE had set aside 4% for administration of the ESA program in FY 2018, rather than 6% as allowed by state law, MDE could have funded an additional 9 ESAs totaling $58,446.

In FY 2017 and FY 2018, participants used 94% of ESA funds on tuition expenses and 6% on non-tuition expenses (e.g., tutoring, educational services or therapies).

The ESA program lacks the accountability structure needed to ensure that nonpublic schools enrolling ESA students meet statutory requirements, and that students with disabilities are receiving the services they need and progressing toward their special needs goals.

The MDE has not administered the ESA program as effectively as possible. For example, the MDE has not prioritized students with active individualized education programs (IEPs) on its waiting list for an ESA, as required by state law. In addition, PEER found two instances in which the MDE overpaid parents during a fiscal year, and identified missing documents needed to verify allowable expenses for reimbursement.

PEER’s survey (administered to parents of students who received an ESA in fiscal years 2016 through 2018) indicated high levels of satisfaction with the ESA program by both parents and students.


Anonymous said...

"The ESA program lacks the accountability structure needed to ensure that nonpublic schools enrolling ESA students meet statutory requirements, and that students with disabilities are receiving the services they need and progressing toward their special needs goals." Being that these monies are meant for special needs children, and I would think since they're public dollars, they would go to public school children only - WHY on earth is any of this money going to private schools????

Anonymous said...


As a parent of a special needs child that has tried public schools, I can attest that the money needs to go somewhere other than public schools in this matter. We have been failed by two different public school districts in the area. We have resorted to home schooling, and unfortunately cannot use the funds. A lot of the public school administrators are only concerned about meeting the state testing goals, as opposed to educating all of our children.

I know too many parents that have special needs kids that the public schools are failing to assist, and I applaud this program for assisting families with educating their children.

We pay taxes that go towards the public schools, and our children cannot benefit, so I do not have a problem with this, as long as the funds are used as intended.

pjmcilwaine said...

one of my kiddos benefits from ESA, we couldn't be happier as the school we're zoned for isn't capable to meet his needs.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should hook up with Donner 11:39 and find a way to claim that helping special needs children is part of a racist conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 12:18pm.....but those tax dollars were meant to be prioritized to special needs children in the public school system. Sorry if you're unhappy with the service, but you should take that up with your District Superintendent. Oh, and you're welcome in having your hand in my tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

This "public school system" that people love to talk about and "defend" is nothing but a socialized jobs program. Who would tolerate a grocery store that people were mandated to shop in just based on where they live? How about an assigned doctor's office based on your district? We would rightly reject that as socialism. Public schools have been a failure because they are tasked with the impossible job of providing a standardized "education" to every student in a defined geographical region. The "public school system" is graduating students who cannot even read at a price tag of $6K-$9K annually per kid. That's pathetic. Competition, including ESAs, are the only way to actually improve the quality of this dismal situation.

Anonymous said...

This is just PEER working on behalf of the MAE faction of the legislature which includes plenty of so-called Republicans. No PEER audit is random and the contents of the report are always decided long before any “audit” happens. Somebody has their greedy eyes on those funds.

Anonymous said...

1:23 yep except they were specifically approved for private school also when public schools did not offer the proper resources. You can’t just make stuff up and put it on the internet. Well I guess you can but you’ll be called out for it on here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but squawking that "your" tax dollars are being wasted on disabled kids a week before Christmas makes me think you're a sorry excuse for a man. The programs in Mississippi for disabled kids, and adults, are a sin.

I'm well off. I don't mind at all paying for kids to receive an education and assistance. Maybe because my Dad was a disabled vet of both WWII and Korea, I believe in being an actual Christian, and caring for the poor and the sick. I really think some of the greedy geezer trolls on here are pathetic. Sick, and evil.

But, hey, pride yourself on keeping some poor kid from getting a school breakfast, so you can save a few pennies to lease a Range Rover and feel really special.

Anonymous said...

@3:31 You clearly missed the point....That doesn't make it fiscally sound -nor is it morally right. We are responsible for our children. Period. This story is fodder over pocket change and meant to garner sympathy only to distract away from more meaningful realities they don't really want to investigate, much less expose.

@4:09 LOL You have to claim your father's sacrifice to make your point? AND being a Christian? Lots of fathers fought bloody battles (mine three years in the Philippines) and that generation didn't ask, nor expect diddly from others....AND Mississippi is the least Christian state in the union because of the utter poverty that is perpetrated generation after generation through governmental engineering. Either you're part of the problem, or you're completely ignorant of how Mississippi operates. Is it ugly? Yes. Is it true? Yes.

Anonymous said...

So parents with the new choice are happier and believe their child is getting a better education. End of story. The amazing thing about having choices is you usually pick the right one for yourself or your family, even without the government's help.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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