115.791(3)(b)2. 2. Compliance with sub. (2) (a) would likely result in serious emotional harm to the child.
115.791(4) (4)Subject to s. 115.77 (1m) (d) and (e), this section does not require a local educational agency to pay the cost of education, including special education and related services, of a child with a disability at a private school or facility, including a child with a disability attending a private school under s. 115.7915, if the local educational agency made a free appropriate public education available to the child and the child's parents elected to place the child in a private school or facility.
115.791 History History: 1997 a. 164; 2005 a. 258; 2015 a. 55.
115.7915 115.7915 Special Needs Scholarship Program.
115.7915(1)(1)Definitions. In this section:
115.7915(1)(a) (a) “Eligible school” means a private school located in this state.
115.7915(1)(b) (b) “Resident school board" means the school board of a resident school district.
115.7915(1)(c) (c) “Resident school district" means the school district in which a pupil resides.
115.7915(1)(d) (d) “Services plan" has the meaning given in 34 CFR 300.37.
115.7915(2) (2)Scholarship requirements. Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the department shall provide to a child with a disability a scholarship under sub. (4m) (a) to attend an eligible school if all of the following apply:
115.7915(2)(b) (b) The governing body of the eligible school notified the department of its intent to participate in the program under this section.
115.7915(2)(c) (c) The eligible school has been approved as a private school by the state superintendent under s. 118.165 (2) or is accredited by AdvancED, Wisconsin Religious and Independent Schools Accreditation, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod School Accreditation, Wisconsin Association of Christian Schools, National Lutheran School Accreditation, Christian Schools International, Association of Christian Schools International, the diocese or archdiocese within which the eligible school is located, or any other organization recognized by the National Council for Private School Accreditation, as of the August 1 preceding the school term for which the scholarship is awarded.
115.7915(2)(d) (d) An individualized education program or services plan is in effect for the child.
115.7915(2)(f) (f) The child's parent or guardian on behalf of the child, or, for a child with a disability who has reached the age of 18 and has not been adjudicated incompetent, the child, submitted an application for a scholarship under this section on a form prepared by the department that includes the document developed by the department under sub. (4) to the eligible school that the child will attend. A child's parent or guardian or a child with a disability who has reached the age of 18 may apply for a scholarship at any time during a school year and, subject to sub. (3) (b), a child may begin attending an eligible school under this section at any time during the school year.
115.7915(2)(g) (g) The eligible school has accepted the child's application to attend the eligible school under a scholarship awarded under this section.
115.7915(2)(h) (h) The child's parent or guardian consents to make the child available for a reevaluation within 60 days following a request for a reevaluation under this paragraph. The individualized education program team appointed for the child by the resident school district shall conduct the reevaluation, except that, if the child is attending an eligible school under this section in a nonresident school district and the parent or guardian of the child provides written consent, an individualized education program team appointed for the child by that nonresident school district may conduct the reevaluation. Upon the request of the school board of the child's resident school district, the individualized education program team shall conduct the reevaluation required under this paragraph in the manner described under s. 115.782 (4) (a) 2. no more frequently than once every 3 years, determined from the date of the most recent evaluation or reevaluation conducted for the child under s. 115.782 or, for a child whose most recent evaluation or reevaluation was conducted more than 3 years before the child began attending an eligible school under this section, the date the child began attending an eligible school under this section.
115.7915(3) (3)Participating schools; selection of pupils.
115.7915(3)(a)(a) The governing body of an eligible school that intends to participate in the program under this section shall notify the department of its intent. The governing body of the eligible school shall include in the notice under this paragraph the number of spaces the eligible school has available for children receiving a scholarship under this section.
115.7915(3)(b) (b) If a private school participating in the program under this section receives more applications for scholarships under sub. (2) (f) than the number of children specified in the notice under par. (a), it shall accept applicants in the order in which applications are received, except that the private school may give preference to siblings of pupils who are already attending the private school.
115.7915(3)(bm) (bm) Upon receipt of an application for a scholarship under sub. (2) (f), the governing body of the eligible school shall determine whether the application satisfies the requirements under sub. (2), other than the requirement under sub. (2) (d), and shall request verification from the local education agency that developed the child's individualized education program or services plan that the child has an individualized education program or services plan in place that meets the requirement in sub. (2) (d). The governing body of the eligible school shall also notify the child's resident school board that, pending verification that the requirements of sub. (2) have been satisfied, the child will be awarded a scholarship under this section. The local education agency shall, within 5 business days of receiving a request under this paragraph, provide the governing body of the eligible school with a copy of the child's individualized education program or services plan.
115.7915(3)(c) (c) The governing body of a private school participating in the program under this section shall notify the department when it verifies that a child has an individualized education program or services plan in effect and accepts the child's application to attend the private school under a scholarship awarded under this section.
115.7915(4) (4)Department duties.
115.7915(4)(am) (am) The department shall develop a document for inclusion with an application under sub. (2) (f), and revise it as necessary, comparing the rights of a child with a disability and of his or her parent under this subchapter, other than this section, and 20 USC 1400 to 1482, with the rights of a child with a disability and of his or her parent under this section and 20 USC 1400 to 1482.
115.7915(4)(bm) (bm) Receipt by an applicant of the document developed under par. (am), acknowledged in a format prescribed by the department, constitutes notice that the applicant has been informed of his or her rights under this section and 20 USC 1400 to 1482. Subsequent acceptance of a scholarship under this section constitutes the applicant's informed acknowledgment of the rights specified in the document.
115.7915(4c) (4c)Private school; statement of actual costs. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, at the end of a school year in which a private school receives a scholarship under sub. (4m) on behalf of a child with a disability, the private school may submit to the department a financial statement and supporting documentation that shows the actual costs that the private school incurred to comply with sub. (6) (h) 1. for that child during that school year. The department shall provide the resident school board a copy of any financial statement and documentation it receives under this subsection.
115.7915(4m) (4m)Scholarship payments; state aid reduction.
115.7915(4m)(a)(a) Subject to par. (c), from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (az), the department shall pay the private school a child attends under the scholarship program under this section, on behalf of a child's parent or guardian, the following amount:
115.7915(4m)(a)1. 1. In the 2016-17 school year, $12,000.
115.7915(4m)(a)2.a.a. In the 2017-18 school year, the sum of the scholarship amount under this paragraph for the previous school year; the amount of the per pupil revenue limit adjustment under s. 121.91 (2m) for the current school year, if positive; and the change in the amount of statewide categorical aid per pupil between the previous school year and the current school year, as determined under s. 118.40 (2r) (e) 2p., if positive.
115.7915(4m)(a)2.b. b. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year and subject to subd. 3., the sum of the scholarship amount under this subdivision for the previous school year; the amount of the per pupil revenue limit adjustment under s. 121.91 (2m) for the current school year, if positive; and the change in the amount of statewide categorical aid per pupil between the previous school year and the current school year, as determined under s. 118.40 (2r) (e) 2p., if positive.
115.7915(4m)(a)3. 3. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, if a private school submitted a financial statement for a child with a disability under sub. (4c) in the previous school year, the amount shown on the financial statement for that child for the previous school year, up to 150 percent of the amount calculated under subd. 2. b. for the current school year.
115.7915(4m)(b) (b) The department shall pay 25 percent of the total amount under par. (a) in September, 25 percent in November, 25 percent in February, and 25 percent in May. Each installment may consist of a single check for all children attending the private school who are receiving a scholarship under par. (a). The department shall include the entire amount under sub. (4p) in the November installment, but the payment shall be made in a separate check from the payment under this subsection.
115.7915(4m)(c) (c) The department may not make a scholarship payment under par. (a) or sub. (4p) to a private school on behalf of a child's parent or guardian unless the child's parent or guardian has acknowledged receiving the private school's profile under sub. (6) (g) in the manner provided by the department.
115.7915(4m)(cm) (cm) If a private school receives a payment under par. (a) 3. and the amount shown on the financial statement submitted for the child with a disability under sub. (4c) in the previous school year is greater than 150 percent of the amount calculated under par. (a) 2. b. for the current school year, the department shall pay to the private school, from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (az), the amount determined as follows:
115.7915(4m)(cm)1. 1. Multiply the amount calculated under par. (a) 2. b. for the current school year by 1.5.
115.7915(4m)(cm)2. 2. Subtract the product under subd. 1. from the amount shown on the financial statement.
115.7915(4m)(cm)3. 3. Multiply the difference determined under subd. 2. by 0.90.
115.7915(4m)(d) (d) Except as provided in par. (e), a scholarship awarded to a child for the child to attend a private school under par. (a) continues until the child graduates from high school or until the end of the school term in which the child attains the age of 21, whichever comes first.
115.7915(4m)(e)1.1. If an individualized education program team, upon reevaluation of a child as required under sub. (2) (h), determines that a child receiving a scholarship under par. (a) is no longer a child with a disability, all of the following apply:
115.7915(4m)(e)1.a. a. The child's resident school district shall notify the parent or guardian of the child of the procedural safeguards in place for the child under 20 USC 1415.
115.7915(4m)(e)1.b. b. The child is not eligible to receive a scholarship under par. (a) beginning in the school term following the determination.
115.7915(4m)(e)2. 2. If a child who has been determined to be ineligible under subd. 1. continues to attend the private school he or she attended under a scholarship awarded under par. (a), for each school year the child attends the private school beginning with the school year following the determination under subd. 1., the department shall pay, from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (az), to the private school, on behalf of the child's parent or guardian, an amount equal to the appropriate per pupil amount paid to a private school participating in a parental choice program under s. 118.60 or 119.23 in that school year. The department shall make scholarship payments under this paragraph in accordance with the payment schedule specified in s. 119.23 (4) (c).
115.7915(4m)(f)1.1. Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, subject to s. 121.085 (1), the department shall decrease a school district's state aid payment under s. 121.08 by an amount calculated as follows:
115.7915(4m)(f)1.a. a. Determine the sum of the amount paid for each child residing in the school district for whom a payment is made under par. (a) in that school year.
115.7915(4m)(f)1.c. c. Determine the number of pupils residing in the school district for whom a payment is made under par. (e) in that school year.
115.7915(4m)(f)1.d. d. Multiply the number of pupils under subd. 1. c. by the per pupil amount paid under par. (e) for that school year.
115.7915(4m)(f)1.df. df. Identify the children residing in the school district for whom a payment is made under sub. (4p) in that school year.
115.7915(4m)(f)1.dh. dh. Sum the payments made under sub. (4p) (a) for all of the children identified under subd. 1. df. for that school year.
115.7915(4m)(f)1.e. e. Sum the amounts calculated under subd. 1. a., d., and dh.
115.7915(4m)(f)2. 2. If the state aid payment under s. 121.08 is insufficient to cover the reduction under subd. 1., as determined under s. 121.085 (2), the department shall decrease other state aid payments made by the department to the school district by the remaining amount.
115.7915(4m)(f)3. 3. The department shall ensure that the decrease under subd. 1. does not affect the amount determined to be received by a school district as state aid under s. 121.08 for any other purpose.
115.7915(4p) (4p)Scholarship payment; summer school.
115.7915(4p)(a)(a) In addition to the scholarship amount under sub. (4m), the department shall, subject to par. (b) and sub. (4m) (c) and in the manner described in sub. (4m) (b), pay to a private school participating in the scholarship program under this section, on behalf of the parent or guardian of a child who attended a private school under this section during the immediately preceding school term and who attends summer school in the private school under this section during a summer, an amount determined as follows:
115.7915(4p)(a)1. 1. Determine the scholarship amount under sub. (4m) that applied to the child in the immediately preceding school term.
115.7915(4p)(a)2. 2. If the child attended summer school for at least 15 days of summer instruction at the private school during that summer, multiply the amount under subd. 1. by 0.05.
115.7915(4p)(a)3. 3. If the child attended summer school for less than 15 days of summer instruction at the private school during that summer, multiply the amount under subd. 1. by 0.05, and multiply that product by the quotient determined by dividing the number of days of summer instruction the child attended during that summer by 15.
115.7915(4p)(b) (b) A participating private school may receive payment under par. (a) only if all of the following are satisfied:
115.7915(4p)(b)1. 1. The private school offers no fewer than 19 summer days of instruction during that summer.
115.7915(4p)(b)2. 2. Each summer day of instruction offered by the private school under subd. 1. is comprised of no fewer than 270 minutes of instruction.
115.7915(5) (5)School board duties.
115.7915(5)(a) (a) Annually, each school board shall notify the parents of each child with a disability enrolled in the school district of the program under this section.
115.7915(5)(b) (b) Upon the request of a parent of a child receiving a scholarship under this section, the child's resident school board shall administer the appropriate examinations under s. 118.30 to the child at no cost if the private school the child attends does not administer examinations under s. 118.30 to any pupil attending the private school.
115.7915(6) (6)Private school duties. Each private school participating in the program under this section or receiving a payment under sub. (4m) shall do all of the following:
115.7915(6)(a) (a) Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to public schools.
115.7915(6)(b) (b) Hold a valid certificate of occupancy, if required by the municipality in which the school is located. If the municipality in which the school is located does not issue certificates of occupancy, the private school shall obtain a certificate of occupancy issued by the local or regional governmental unit with authority to issue certificates of occupancy or submit to the department a letter or form from the municipality in which the private school is located that explains that the municipality does not issue certificates of occupancy.
115.7915(6)(c) (c) Comply with 42 USC 2000d.
115.7915(6)(d) (d) Conduct criminal background investigations of its employees and exclude from employment any person not permitted to hold a teaching license as the result of an offense and any person who might reasonably be believed to pose a threat to the safety of others.
115.7915(6)(e) (e) Annually, by October 15 following a school year in which a private school participated in the program under this section, submit to the department an independent financial audit of the private school conducted by an independent certified public accountant, accompanied by the auditor's statement that the report is free of material misstatements and fairly presents the private school's eligible education expenses, and beginning in the 2nd school year a private school participates in the program under this section, a copy of a management letter prepared by the auditor. If the private school annually received a total of at least $100,000 under this section and ss. 118.60 and 119.23 in any school year, the audit shall be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles with allowable modifications for long-term fixed assets. If the private school has not annually received a total of at least $100,000 under this section and ss. 118.60 and 119.23 in any school year, the audit shall be prepared as prescribed by the department by rule. The audit shall include a calculation of the private school's net eligible education expenses and a calculation of the balance of the private school's fund for future eligible education expenses. The auditor shall conduct his or her audit, including determining sample sizes and evaluating financial viability, in accordance with the auditing standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The department may not require an auditor to comply with standards that exceed the scope of the standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. If a private school participating in a program under this section is part of an organization and the private school and the organization share assets, liabilities, or eligible education expenses, the private school may submit an audit of the private school or of the organization of which it is a part. If a private school that is part of an organization with which it shares assets, liabilities, or eligible education expenses submits an audit of only the private school, the independent auditor shall use his or her professional judgment to allocate any shared assets, liabilities, and eligible education expenses between the organization and the private school. If a private school participating in the program under this section also accepts pupils under s. 118.60 or 119.23, the private school may submit one comprehensive financial audit to satisfy the requirements of this paragraph and ss. 118.60 (7) (am) 2m. and 119.23 (7) (am) 2m., whichever are applicable. The private school shall include in the comprehensive financial audit the information specified under ss. 118.60 (7) (am) 2m. and 119.23 (7) (am) 2m. Each private school participating in the program under this section is subject to uniform financial accounting standards established by the department.
115.7915(6)(f) (f) If the private school expects to receive at least $50,000 in scholarships under this section during a school year, do one of the following before the beginning of the school year:
115.7915(6)(f)1. 1. File with the department a surety bond payable to the state in an amount equal to 25 percent of the total amount of scholarships expected to be received by the private school during the school year under this section.
115.7915(6)(f)2. 2. File with the department financial information demonstrating that the private school has the ability to pay an amount equal to the total amount of scholarships expected to be received by the private school during the school year under this section.
115.7915(6)(g) (g) Provide to each applicant under sub. (2) (f) a profile of the private school's special education program, in a form prescribed by the department, that includes the methods of instruction that will be used by the school to provide special education and related services to the child and the qualifications of the teachers and other persons who will be providing special education and related services to the child.
115.7915(6)(h)1.1. Implement the child's most recent individualized education program or services plan, as modified by agreement between the private school and the child's parent, and related services agreed to by the private school and the child's parent that are not included in the child's individualized education program or services plan.
115.7915(6)(h)2. 2. Within 5 days of receiving a request from the resident school board of a child with a disability attending the private school under this section, provide all records relating to the implementation of the child's individualized education program or services plan by the private school, as required under subd. 1.
115.7915(6)(i) (i) Regularly report to the parent of a child attending the private school and receiving a scholarship under this section on the child's progress.
115.7915(6)(j) (j) Upon the request of a parent of a child receiving a scholarship under this section, administer the appropriate examinations under s. 118.30 to the child at no cost if the private school the child attends administers examinations under s. 118.30 to any pupil attending the private school.
115.7915(6)(k) (k) Annually, on or before September 15, file with the department a report stating its summer daily attendance for each day of summer school for the purpose of sub. (4p).
115.7915(7) (7)Transportation. Section 121.54 applies to the transportation of a child to and from the private school he or she is attending under a scholarship awarded under this section.
115.7915(8) (8)Penalties.
115.7915(8)(a) (a) The department may bar a private school from participating in the program under this section if the department determines that the private school has done any of the following:
115.7915(8)(a)1. 1. Intentionally or negligently misrepresented information required under this section or any rule promulgated under sub. (10).
115.7915(8)(a)2. 2. Routinely failed to comply with the standards under sub. (6) (e) or (f).
115.7915(8)(a)3. 3. Used a child's scholarship for any purpose other than educational purposes or rebated, refunded, or shared a child's scholarship with a child or a child's parent or guardian.
115.7915(8)(a)4. 4. Failed to refund to the state, within 60 days, any scholarship overpayments.
115.7915(8)(b) (b) If the department bars a private school from participating in the program under this section, it shall notify all children eligible to participate in the program and their parents as quickly as possible. A child who is receiving a scholarship and attending a private school barred from the program may continue to receive the scholarship if the child attends another participating private school.
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 20 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on November 11, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after November 11, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 11-11-19)