Bill to extend special needs scholarship program passes Senate

A bill extending the life of Mississippi’s ‘Education Scholarship Accounts’ program has passed through the Senate. 

The program is currently set to expire at the end of June, but if passed, SB 2594 would extend the program through June 2024. The scholarships ($6,765) are provided to families with special needs students; allowing them to seek out a school that best suits their needs. 

Authored by Senate Education Chairman Senator Dennis Debar, the bill passed through the chamber by a 41-10 vote. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann voiced his support for the bill, stating that it is imperative for Mississippi’s special needs students.

“This legislation allows children who have special needs to continue receiving critical services at a school which has a program addressing those needs. It also adds accountability for taxpayer dollars,” Hosemann said. “Providing children with these services is a moral, ethical, and legal obligation. I also support increasing funding for our public school special education services.”

In 2019, the Mississippi Department of Education stated that the program was funded to provide 695 ESAs.

The bill will now move over to the House for consideration.