Reimagining Education

Families win with changes to ESA rules

This week the Missouri Treasurer’s office published emergency rules for the new MO Scholars ESA K-12 scholarship program that provides important changes to make the program more accessible for homeschool students.

The new emergency rules will go into effect on April 25 and will ensure that the new MO Scholars ESA K-12 scholarship program will be able to offer scholarships for students starting this fall.

The emergency rules make several changes to the original rules filed on March 1 in response to public comments that have been made in the past month.

The major changes focus on how the program defines homeschooling and the requirements for homeschool students to be able to participate in the program.

Over 500 families and organizations like CEAM submitted comments focused on concerns that the proposed rules created new requirements for homeschool families and prevented private school students with IEPs from applying for scholarships.

The emergency rules remove many of the barriers for homeschool families and while the rules were not changed to address the IEP question the Treasurer’s office clarified that “any elementary or secondary school student who has an approved Individualized Education Plan developed under the federal IDEA qualifies for the program. Private school students who have an Individualized Education Plan developed under the IDEA on file with the local educational authority are included in the existing definition.”

What happens now?

The emergency rules will go into effect on April 25 giving the Treasurer’s Office the guidelines it needs to fully operate the new MO Scholars program.

The Treasurer’s Office is expected to announce within the next two weeks the Educational Assistance Organizations (EAOs) that will accept donations and distribute scholarships. Neiher scholarship application opening times nor deadlines have not be set yet.

Once the EAOs are named we expect rapid announcements of when and how families can apply for scholarships and when and how donors can contribute to the program.

To get real-time updates on the MO Scholars ESA program, please visit https://www.showmeschooloptions.org.

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