Education A State Capitals Roundup

Voucher Funds Adequate, Utah Officials Say

By Michelle R. Davis — July 26, 2005 1 min read

Utah officials expanded the types of schools that can apply for state-sponsored special education vouchers, after reassuring parents of special education students recently that there was enough money to pay for the program.

In June, parents raised concerns that the $2.5 million set aside for the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship program—which goes into effect this coming school year—would not cover all applicants.

But at the state board of education’s July 14 meeting, officials said even if all of those who signed up for the program received the maximum allowance of about $5,000, plenty of money would remain, said Mark Peterson, a spokesman for the Utah State Office of Education. The state had received 125 applications as of late last week, he said. The deadline was July 22.

The board voted to allow private schools that employ or contract with licensed special education teachers to receive the vouchers. Under the legislation, only schools in which 80 percent of the students qualified for special education could participate.