School Choice & Charters

Economy Pinches Budget of Ga. Voucher Program

By Christina A. Samuels — March 16, 2009 1 min read
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Two years ago, I wrote an article about the growing popularity of voucher programs for students with disabilities.

But that was before someone let the air out of the economy. Now, with state budgets pinched, some programs are having to cut back the number of voucher recipients they pay for. From a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

About 1,600 students statewide receive vouchers under Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship Program, up from nearly 900 in 2007-08, the program’s inaugural year. Although the enrollment has nearly doubled, the funding, which is based on a student’s diagnosis and individual educational plan, hasn’t. The average voucher rose slightly to $6,331. And those allocations were subject to the same 2 percent reductions passed on to school districts because of the state’s budget shortfall.

Not all voucher programs operate the same. Georgia’s program is different from the special needs voucher program in a state like Ohio, which funds tuition for students with autism. That program funds up to $20,000 in tuition costs for students per year. But I’d be interested in hearing from readers about whether economic concerns are affecting these special voucher programs.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.