ATLANTA (March 10, 2020) | Today, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan expressed his support for the passage of Senate Bill 386 – which allows additional access to education and learning opportunities for students with special needs through the expansion of the Special Needs Scholarship program.

The Special Needs Scholarship Program supports school choice by providing scholarships to eligible families – giving them a choice of private education options that will expand opportunities to accommodate students with special needs.

“School choice has been a top priority of mine since day one and this bill is the foundation of my work as Lt. Governor,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “I am proud of the bipartisan support SB 386 received today.”

The program currently requires that students receive special education services under the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). SB 386, sponsored by Senator Renee Unterman, broadens the eligibility requirements to include students under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The program also requires prior attendance for at least one year at a Georgia public school but SB 386 will add an exemption that enables the inclusion of students who have either received preschool special education, were adopted or received foster care.

“I believe in empowering families with the flexibility to choose private school options when it comes to providing access to specialized programs in special education,” said Duncan. “Our goal is to improve access for our students with special needs, and by removing hurdles in the existing program that were too restrictive, families will now have access to a program that will better serve its original intent and overall mission.”

Senate Bill 386 will now move to the House for consideration. If signed into law, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

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