Title 17. Education

Chapter 43. School Choice Scholarships

Part I. Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program


17:4015      Program administration


In administering the program pursuant to this Part, the department shall: 


(1) Determine student eligibility for scholarships. 


(2) Receive notice of intent from schools seeking to participate in the program which shall include the number of available seats per grade and whether the school elects to offer an enrollment preference to a student based on the parish in which the student resides, and qualify such schools for participation in the program. For eligible public schools, the notice of intent shall be submitted by the principal of the school with the approval of the local superintendent. The local school board shall delegate the authority to participate in the program to the local superintendent. 


(3)(a) Accept applications from parents or legal guardians of eligible students and award scholarships to eligible students. Each application shall indicate the parent or legal guardian’s choice or choices of participating schools. 


(b) In the event there are more eligible students who submit applications than there are available seats at participating schools for any grade, the department shall conduct a random selection process to award scholarships that provides each eligible student an equal opportunity for selection. Only after each student who attended or otherwise would be attending a public school that received a letter grade of “D” or “F” or any variation thereof has been placed at a participating school which the parent or legal guardian indicated as a choice on the eligible student’s application shall a student who attended a public school that received a letter grade of “C” or any variation thereof be entered into the random selection process. At such time, each student who attended or otherwise would be attending a public school that received a letter grade of “C” or any variation thereof shall be provided an equal opportunity for selection into that particular participating school. However, the department may give preference to the following: 


(i) Siblings of students already enrolled in the participating school. 


(ii) Students enrolled in the Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development Program at the participating school. 


(iii) Participating students transferring from an ineligible school pursuant to this Section. 


(iv) Students residing in the parishes as indicated pursuant to the notice of intent, if applicable. 


(c) For the purposes of the random selection process, twins, triplets, quadruplets, and other such multiple births shall constitute one individual. 


(4) Notify parents or legal guardians of eligible students who applied for scholarships whether they have been awarded a scholarship and placed at a particular participating school. The scholarship recipient shall be placed through the random selection process and according to his indicated preferences as provided in Paragraph (3) of this Section. For the purposes of this Section, a unified enrollment system administered by the Recovery School District may be considered the random selection process. The department shall continue the random selection process until each seat is filled according to the time line established by the department. 


(5) Remit scholarship payments to participating schools on behalf of a scholarship recipient. 


(6) Receive independent financial audits from participating nonpublic schools as required by R.S. 17:4022(3). 


(7) Annually publish the following information for all schools participating in the program: 


(a) The most recent aggregate average proficiency rates on state assessments for scholarship recipients enrolled at each participating school. 


(b) A list of all public schools with a letter grade of “C”, “D”, or “F”, or any variation thereof. 


(c) The rate at which scholarship recipients finish the highest grade level offered at a participating school, by entering cohort. 


(d) The retention rate for scholarship recipients. 


(e) The percentage of parents or legal guardians of scholarship recipients who are satisfied with the participating school. 


(f) Repealed by Acts 2013, No. 220, § 29, eff. June 11, 2013. 


(8)(a) Place any participating school that fails to comply with the audit provisions pursuant to R.S. 17:4022(3) on probation for a period of one year during which such school shall not be permitted to enroll additional scholarship recipients. 


(b) If such school is not in full compliance by the end of the one-year probationary period, the school shall be ineligible to participate in the program until such time as the department has determined that the school is in full compliance. 


(c) The department shall assist any scholarship recipient attending a school that is ineligible to participate in the program in transferring to another participating school, provided such school has sufficient capacity at the appropriate grade level. 


(9) On or before August 1, 2012, develop criteria for participation that include an accountability system for participating students at participating schools. After August 1, 2012, the accountability system shall not be altered except by an act of the legislature, except for adjustments to individual numeric performance targets and thresholds made by the state superintendent of education pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as provided in R.S. 17:4025(A). 


Added by Acts 2008, No. 509, § 1, eff. June 25, 2008. Amended by Acts 2012, No. 2, § 1; Acts 2013, No. 139, § 1, eff. June 7, 2013; Acts 2013, No. 220, § 6, eff. June 11, 2013; Acts 2019, No. 21, § 1.