Title 17. Education

Chapter 43. School Choice Scholarships

Part I. Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program


17:4022      Participating schools; requirements


Each participating school shall: 


(1) Use an open admissions process in enrolling scholarship recipients in the program and shall not require any additional eligibility criteria other than those specified in R.S. 17:4013(2). 


(2) Within ten business days of the first day of school as determined by the participating school, notify the department of scholarship recipients enrolled. 


(3) Submit to the department an independent financial audit of the school conducted by a certified public accountant who has been approved by the legislative auditor. Such audit shall be accompanied by the auditor’s statement that the report is free of material misstatements and fairly presents the participating school’s maximum tuition or actual cost of educating a student pursuant to R.S. 17:4016. The audit shall be limited in scope to those records necessary for the department to make scholarship payments to the participating school and shall be submitted to the legislative auditor for review and investigation of any irregularities or audit findings. The participating school shall account for all scholarship funds separately from other funds by maintaining funds in a separate account or by using accounting procedures that allow the legislative auditor to identify the separate funds pursuant to the authority of this Section. Such accounting shall allow for thorough auditing of the receipt and expenditure of state scholarship funds allocated through the department. The participating school shall return to the state any funds that the legislative auditor determines were expended in a manner inconsistent with state law or program regulations. The cost of such audit shall be paid by the department from funds appropriated by the legislature to implement the provisions of this Part. 


(4) Accept the scholarship amounts provided to scholarship recipients as full payment of all educational costs, including incidental or supplementary fees that are charged to all enrolled students including but not limited to meals, field trips, and before- or after-school care. The school shall identify in writing all such fees that are paid with the scholarship. For any fees not charged to all enrolled students and not paid by the scholarship, the school shall adopt and disseminate to parents of scholarship recipients a policy that lists the fee and its purpose and amount and includes a process for parents of scholarship recipients to apply for and receive a waiver of the fee due to economic hardship, including objective criteria for granting such waivers. Such policy shall include a statement prohibiting the education records of a scholarship recipient from being withheld due to failure to pay any fine, debt, or other outstanding obligation. 


(5) Allow scholarship recipients to remain enrolled in the school for the duration of the school year at no additional cost to the state or the recipients’ parents or legal guardians if the school voluntarily withdraws from the program. However, a scholarship recipient may be expelled from the school according to the school’s discipline policy and the school shall report such dismissal to the department within two business days of such dismissal. If funding is not available to continue the program, the participating school shall allow a scholarship recipient to remain enrolled in such school, provided such recipient meets the school’s requirements for continued enrollment and his parent or legal guardian assumes responsibility for paying the tuition and fees charged to all students enrolled in the school. 


(6) Prior to enrollment, inform the parent or legal guardian of a scholarship recipient of any and all rules, policies, and procedures of such school, including but not limited to academic policies, disciplinary rules, and procedures of the school. Enrollment of a scholarship recipient in a participating school constitutes acceptance of any such rules, policies, and procedures of such school. 


Added by Acts 2008, No. 509, § 1, eff. June 25, 2008. Amended by Acts 2012, No. 2, § 1; Acts 2014, No. 467, § 1; Acts 2015, No. 297, § 1; Acts 2019, No. 21, § 1; Acts 2019, No. 240, § 1, eff. Aug. 1, 2019.