ORDER OF THE
STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
ADOPTING PERMANENT RULES
The scope statement for this rule, SS 042-18, was published in Register No. 748A1 on April 2, 2018, and approved by State Superintendent Tony Evers on April 27, 2018. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction hereby adopts an order to repeal s. PI 49.02 (3), 49.05 (3) (c), (4) (a) 3., 49.06 (3) (b) 2. a., b., (4) (a), (5) (a), and 49.07 (3) (e), (h), (4) (b) 1. and 2.; to renumber and amend s. PI 49.05 (4) (b), (5) (c) 1., 49.06 (3) (b) 2. (intro.), 4., 49.07 (4) (b) (intro.), and 49.09 (1) (b); to amend s. PI 49.01, 49.02 (5m), (7), (15), (18), 49.03 (3) (intro.), (a), (b) 1., 3., (3) (d), (5) (a) (intro.), (b) (intro.), (6) (intro.), (a) (intro.), 4., (b), (c) and (7), 49.04 (2) (intro.), (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (3) (c) and (4) (intro.), 49.05 (1) (a), (4) (a) (intro.), 2., (c) 2., (5) (c) 2., (6) (a), (c), (8) (intro.), 49.06 (2), (3), (b) 4., (4) (intro.), (c), (d), (5) (intro.), (b) 1., (c) (intro.), 1. a. and c., 49.07 (1) (intro.), (a), (b), (2), (3) (a), (f), (j) 3., (k), (m), (p), (t) and (4) (a), 49.09 (1) (e) 1., (2), (3) (a) (intro.), 1., 2., 3. b., 4., (b) 1., 2., 3. b., (c) 1., 3., (d) 1., (e) 1., (4), (5) (a), (6), 49.10 (6), 49.11 (5), (7) (b), 49.13 (intro.), (2) (intro.), (3) (intro.), and 49.14 (4) (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (g); to repeal and recreate s. PI 49.03 (4), 49.04 (1), 49.05 (7), and 49.08 (1); and to create s. PI 49.02 (3m), (9s), (12m), (19m), 49.03 (3) (bm), 49.04 (1m), (5), 49.05 (4) (b) 1., 2., (5) (c) 1. a., b., c., 1m., (7g), (7r), (8) (e), (9), 49.06 (3) (b) 2m., 4. a. to c., (3m), (5) (d), (e), (7), 49.07 (3) (u), 49.08 (3), (4), (5), 49.09 (1) (b) 2., (3) (c) 4., 49.13 (1) (c), (2) (c), (2m), (3) (c), (6), (7), and 49.16, relating to changes to rules governing the Special Needs Scholarship Program as a result of 2017 Wisconsin Acts 36 and 59 and other changes.
ANALYSIS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Statute interpreted: s. 115.7915, Stats.
Explanation of agency authority:
Under s. 115.7915 (10), Stats., the Department is required to promulgate rules to implement and administer the special needs scholarship program, including rules relating to: (a) eligibility and participation of eligible schools; (b) calculation and distribution of scholarships; and (c) application and approval procedures for students and eligible schools.
Plain language analysis:
This proposed rule amends ch. PI 49 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code in order to conform Department rules governing the special needs scholarship program to changes in statute as a result of 2017 Wisconsin Acts 36 and 59 and other changes. This proposed rule also includes items that will assist schools, auditors and the department in the administration and implementation of the program since the original rule was promulgated.
Key aspects of this rule include the following:
- Specifies the requirements for the modified financial audit and the standard financial audit.
Specifies the background check requirements including how the background check must be completed.
- Modifies certain due dates so the dates will not fall on a weekend.
- Specifies that the notice of intent to participate may be submitted by the special needs scholarship program administrator.
- Modifies the accreditation requirements to allow accrediting organizations to provide a notice rather than a letter of the accreditation status of schools.
- Specifies that the budget required for meeting the financial requirements option for schools with expected payments over $50,000 must include the anticipated beginning and ending reserve balance.
- Clarifies that schools with expected scholarships over $50,000 that use the financial requirements option and participate in the private school choice programs must have a financial audit under ss. 118.60 and 119.23 that demonstrates the school has the ability to pay the expected scholarship amount. Also specifies the financial requirements include the school not having a net loss or negative change in net assets.
- Specifies that schools may change the number of available scholarships in certain circumstances.
- Specifies what is required for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or services plan to be in effect.
- Specifies when the school must send the following emails:
- The email to the local education agency that developed the IEP or services plan verifying that the student had an IEP or services plan that was in effect; and
- If the resident school district did not develop the IEP or services plan, the email to the pupil’s resident school district notifying them that the pupil will receive a scholarship if the verification above determines the pupil is eligible for the program.
- Specifies that the local education agency sending the IEP or services plan to the private school in response to the IEP or services plan verification email request is considered the verification that the student has an IEP or services plan that meets programmatic requirements.
- Removes the pupil eligibility requirements related to open enrollment denials since the requirement for an open enrollment denial was removed from s. 115.7915, Stats.
- Clarifies the pupil eligibility requirements for transfer pupils and how transfer requests may be corrected if errors are identified by the auditor.
- Clarifies that if a pupil who no longer has a disability attends a different school, the pupil is not eligible for a special needs scholarship program scholarship.
- Modifies the full time equivalent determination so that it is based on the required number of hours for first grade pupils in the private school rather than first grade pupils in the public school district.
- Modifies the dates by which applications and transfer requests must be submitted to the department.
- Specifies that the school must identify pupils no longer eligible for a scholarship in the preliminary enrollment report and pupil count reports.
- Clarifies the agreement of services requirements.
- Removes the requirement to use original classroom records when completing the procedures for special needs scholarship program pupils for the enrollment audit. The procedures ensure the submitted pupil counts are accurate by comparing the school submitted pupil count reports to the official attendance records.
- Specifies that the identification of special needs scholarship program pupils may be in a different report than the official attendance records, if the official attendance records are from the student information system.
- Specifies the requirements for a school to receive a special needs scholarship program summer school payment and the audit requirements of the summer school report.
- Specifies that a pupil may attend a different school for summer school and still be eligible for a special needs scholarship program scholarship.
- Clarifies the requirements for including fixed assets in the financial audit.
- Specifies that leased right of use assets, which will be required in financial audits due to a change in generally accepted accounting principles, are not included in the required cash and investment balance calculation.
- Specifies how net eligible education expenses are calculated if the school is not eligible for all special needs scholarship program payments.
- Specifies what is considered a management letter.
- Clarifies what expenses are primarily related to special needs scholarship program pupils and how they impact the reserve balance schedule calculations.
- Clarifies the school’s responsibility for the financial requirements.
- Specifies the requirements for the statement of actual cost, how payments will be made for students with a statement of actual cost, and the impact on the reserve balance schedule calculations.