ESA program passes Mississippi House & Senate

New program tailored for children with special needs awaits governor’s signature

Washington, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, celebrated the passage of a new education savings account (ESA) program from the Mississippi legislature. This morning, the State Senate voted to concur with a version of the bill that was passed out of the State House on March 11. The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act creates an ESA program serving special needs students in the state.

“Families and parents in Mississippi have reason to celebrate today as Mississippi is on the verge of becoming the nation’s third state to offer parents access to an innovative education savings account program,” said Betsy DeVos, Chairman of the American Federation for Children. “This program will empower parents of students with special needs to employ innovative teaching methods that are necessary for their child’s unique needs.”

The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act creates an education savings account program that provides children with special needs the opportunity to use their traditional education funds to customize their education. ESA accounts allow parents to use as much as $6,500 a year on expenses for private school tuition, tutoring or specialized therapy. The program is available to 500 students the first year and then an additional 500 students each following year.

“We would especially like to recognize the leadership of Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Speaker Phillip Grunn, Sen. Nancy Collins and Rep. Carolyn Crawford for challenging the status quo and putting the needs of children first,” added DeVos.

Currently, only Arizona and Florida have enacted ESA programs.

-30-

American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.