(State of Florida)
Information from the Florida Dept of Ed:
Florida's school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provided over 19,850 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school during the 2007-08 school year. The McKay Scholarships Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of a special needs student who is dissatisfied with the student’s current school may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
"The school-choice issue is not about public versus private; it's about choice. It's about knowing what works well for my family and being able to make that choice for them." -- Parent of a McKay Scholarships Student
In order to be eligible for the McKay Scholarship Program, a student must apply for the program prior to withdrawing from public school. The student must also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and:
- Have been enrolled and reported for funding in a Florida public school during the October and February Florida Education Finance Program surveys (Grades K-12); or
- Have been a pre-kindergarten student who was enrolled and reported for funding in a Florida public school during the preceding October and February Florida Education Finance Program surveys and was at least 4 years old; or
- Have attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind during the preceding October and February student membership surveys (Grades K-12).
If your child meets the eligibility requirements, you may apply for a scholarship by clicking on “Apply for a McKay Scholarship” located on the left hand side of the screen.
If your child does not meet these requirements but has an IEP and is a dependent child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who transfers to a school in Florida from out of state or from a foreign country pursuant to a parent’s permanent change of station orders the child may be eligible for a McKay Scholarship. Please contact this office at 1-800-447-1636 for additional information.
To apply for a McKay Scholarship, go to www.FloridaSchoolChoice.org and click on "McKay Scholarship." To find out which Florida private schools accept the Scholarship, go to www.FLACE.org and click on "McKay Schools" on the left.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (formerly called P.L. 94-142 or the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975) requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs.
IDEA requires public school systems to develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEP's) for each child. The specific special education and related services outlined in each IEP reflect the individualized needs of each student.
IDEA also mandates that particular procedures be followed in the development of the IEP. Each student's IEP must be developed by a team of knowledgeable persons and must be at least reviewed annually. The team includes the child's teacher; the parents, subject to certain limited exceptions; the child, if determined appropriate; an agency representative who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education; and other individuals at the parents' or agency's discretion.
If parents disagree with the proposed IEP, they can request a due process hearing and a review from the State educational agency if applicable in that state. They also can appeal the State agency's decision to State or Federal court. For more information, contact:
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-7100
(202) 245-7468 (voice/TTY)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112, amended as Public Law 93-516) under Section 504. Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public and private programs and activities that receive financial assistance from the federal government. Section 504 guarantees students a free appropriate public education. Students who may not be eligible for services under the IDEA may be eligible for protection from discrimination Compliance oversight is provided by the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
What are the obligations of the school district to comply with Section 504?
School districts have a number of obligations under Section 504. Districts must:
• Evaluate students believed to have a disability
• Provide periodic reevaluations of students with disabilities
• Provide FAPE under IDEA or through the provision of Section 504 accommodations
• Provide education to students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE)
• Provide established standards and procedures in the identification and evaluation process
• Provide transportation under specific individual circumstances and conditions
• Provide equal access to parents who have a disability
• Provide students with disabilities equal access to nonacademic services
• Establish and implement a system of procedural safeguards regarding the identification, evaluation, placement, or provision of FAPE to a student
• Ensure behavior in question is not a manifestation of student’s disability during disciplinary proceedings.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336) The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title II of the ADA extends this prohibition to the States Department of Justice. The US Department of Education, full range of state and local government services, programs, or activities regardless of whether they receive federal assistance. The ADA clearly specifies that unless Title II of ADA states otherwise, Title II may not be interpreted to apply a lesser degree of protection to individuals with disabilities than is provided under Section 504. Compliance oversight is provided by the United Office for Civil Rights is designated by the Department of Justice to resolve complaints alleging noncompliance.
The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered