The ability of parents rather than government officials to direct where education dollars are spent advanced just a little bit this week, as Oklahoma enacted a scholarship program for children with special needs.
The Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Act redirects dollars spent on a participating child at his current public school to the public or private school of his family’s choice. The scholarship, named after the governor’s infant daughter who died of Werdnig-Hoffman Disease, will be equal to state and local dollars that would have been spent to educate the child in his public school or the amount of private school tuition, whichever is less.
Oklahoma joins Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Utah as states that offer school choice opportunities for students with special needs, according to the Foundation for Educational Choice.
The law was supported by a bipartisan coalition in the Legislature, and signed by a Democrat governor. According to the Daily Oklahoman, “House Bill 3393 will not require new spending but redirects existing state funds currently spent on the student, said Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, author of HB 3393.”
You can read the legislation here.