Education - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act." - Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6.
  • Bill History
  • Amendments
  • Video
  • Summary
  • Fiscal Note
  • Votes
  • Actions For SB0485Date
    Rcvd. from S., held on H. desk.04/25/2011
    Engrossed; ready for transmission to House04/21/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.04/21/2011
    Passed S. as am., Ayes 18, Nays 10, PNV 404/21/2011
    S. adopted am.(Amendment 1 of 0 - SA0245)04/21/2011
    S. adopted am.(Amendment 1 of 1 - SA0246)04/21/2011
    Placed on Senate Regular Calendar cal. for 4/21/201104/19/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.04/14/2011
    Rec. for pass. w/ am., ref. to S. Cal. Comm. Ayes 5, Nays 2 PNV 104/13/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.04/12/2011
    Placed on S. Ed. Comm. cal. for 4/13/201104/07/2011
    P2C, ref. to S. Ed. Comm.02/14/2011
    Intro., P1C.02/10/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.02/10/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.02/09/2011
    Filed for intro.02/09/2011
    Actions For HB0388Date
    Action Def. in s/c Education Subcommittee to summer study04/27/2011
    Placed on s/c cal Education Subcommittee for 4/27/201104/20/2011
    Action Def. in s/c Education Subcommittee to 4/27/201104/20/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.04/19/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.04/14/2011
    Placed on s/c cal Education Subcommittee for 4/20/201104/13/2011
    Sponsor(s) Added.04/04/2011
    Assigned to s/c General Sub of Education02/16/2011
    P2C, ref. to Education Committee--Government Operations for review 02/10/2011
    Intro., P1C.02/09/2011
    Filed for intro.02/08/2011
  • AmendmentsFiscal Memos
    SA0245Amendment 1-1 to SB0485Fiscal Memo for SA0245 (5975)  
    No amendments for HB0388.

    NOTE: Each fiscal memorandum applies only to the amendment(s) identified in the memorandum. The fiscal memorandum must be matched to any amendments that have been adopted.

  • Videos containing keyword: SB0485

  • Fiscal Summary

    Not Available


    Bill Summary

    This bill creates the equal opportunity scholarship to be awarded to eligible elementary or secondary students in order to allow the students to attend a participating school.

    An "eligible student" under this bill is a low-income student who:
    (1) Resides in a Tennessee school district that has an average daily membership of at least 38,000 students or that is located in Shelby County;
    (2) Was a member of a household whose total annual income during the year prior to initial receipt of a scholarship qualified or would have qualified the student as a low-income student. "Low-income student" means a student who is eligible for free or reduced price lunch under federal law; and
    (3) Was eligible to attend a public school in the preceding semester or is starting school in Tennessee for the first time.

    A participating school is either:
    (1) A public school in a resident school district other than the school the eligible student is attending;
    (2) A public charter school; or
    (3) A nonpublic school that provides education to elementary or secondary students or both and has notified the department of education of its intention to enroll equal opportunity scholarship students and comply with all requirements regarding the award and the use of the scholarship.

    Every eligible student would qualify for an annual scholarship to attend a participating school. An eligible student may attend the participating school until graduation from high school or upon reaching 21 years of age, whichever occurs first.

    The scholarship amount would be the lesser of:
    (1) The participating school's annual cost per pupil, including both operational and capital facility costs; or
    (2) 95 percent of the dollar amount the resident school district would have allocated per pupil from state and local sources to serve and educate the eligible student had the student enrolled in the resident school district.

    Any state funding allocated to the payment of scholarships that exceeds the total cost of scholarships for eligible students of a resident school district would be paid to the resident school district. If a scholarship student fails to complete the school year at a participating school, then the proportionate share of the student's scholarship money for the part of the school year not completed would revert to the student's resident school district if the student returns to the resident school district.

    If a participating school has more eligible students apply for admission than spaces are available, then the school would fill the available spaces by a random selection process, except that the school may give preference to siblings of enrolled students and previously enrolled equal opportunity scholarship students. If a student is denied admission to a participating school because it has too few available spaces, then the student may transfer the scholarship to a participating school that has spaces available.

    Qualifying financially for a scholarship does not guarantee a student admission to or continued matriculation at a participating school. A school may deny admission to an otherwise eligible student or dismiss a student for engaging in criminal activities or other unacceptable behaviors.

    This bill requires each participating nonpublic school to:
    (1) Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to nonpublic schools;
    (2) Hold a valid occupancy permit, if required by the municipality;
    (3) Certify that the school will not discriminate in admissions on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or disability;
    (4) Comply with all state laws that apply to nonpublic schools regarding criminal background checks for employees and exclude from employment any persons not permitted by state law to work in a nonpublic school;
    (5) Demonstrate the school's financial accountability by filing a financial information report conducted and certified by an accountant;
    (6) Demonstrate the school's financial viability, if the school is to receive at least $50,000 during the school year, by filing either:
    (A) A surety bond payable to the state in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of the equal opportunity scholarships expected to be paid during the school year to students admitted at the participating school; or
    (B) Financial information that demonstrates that the school has the ability to pay the amount of the equal opportunity scholarships expected to be paid to students admitted at the participating school; and
    (7) Regularly report to the parent on the student's progress.

    The department of education may bar a school from being a participating school, if the department establishes that the school has:
    (1) Intentionally and substantially misrepresented information required under this bill as described above in (1) - (7);
    (2) Routinely failed to comply with at least three of the accountability standards described above in (1) - (7);
    (3) Refunded, rebated, or shared a student's scholarship with the parent or student as prohibited by this bill; or
    (4) Failed to refund to the state any scholarship overpayments in a timely manner.

    Under this bill, a resident school district would not be required to provide transportation for eligible students to and from participating schools, but is encouraged to work with parents of eligible students to create solutions for individual transportation problems. If the resident school does provide any transportation services, then the amount expended for transportation services may not exceed the total of the funds remaining from the per pupil allotments for such students that were not expended for scholarship awards.

    ON APRIL 21, 2011, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1, AS AMENDED BY AMENDMENT #1 TO 1, AND PASSED SENATE BILL 485, AS AMENDED.

    AMENDMENT #1, as amended, redefines "eligible student", described in the above bill summary, to instead mean a low-income student who:
    (1) (A) Resides in a Tennessee school district that is located in Hamilton, Knox, Davidson, and Shelby counties; or
    (B) Is currently enrolled in a school in the achievement school district;
    (2) Was a member of a household whose total annual income during the year prior to initial receipt of a scholarship qualified or would have qualified the student as a low-income student; and
    (3) (A) Attended a public school during the semester preceding the semester in which the student receives a scholarship under the bill;
    (B) Received a scholarship under the bill during the preceding semester; or
    (C) Is starting school in Tennessee for the first time.

    This amendment redefines "participating school", described in the above bill summary, to instead mean:
    (1) A public school in the resident school district other than the school the eligible student is attending; or
    (2) A public charter school or any nonpublic school that is located in this state and is approved by the state board of education as a Category I, II, III or IV school.

    A public charter school or a nonpublic school must notified the department of its intention to enroll equal opportunity scholarship students and comply with all requirements regarding the award and use of equal opportunity scholarships.

    This amendment specifies that the scholarship amount must be the lesser of:
    (1) The participating school's annual cost per pupil, including both operational and capital facility costs; or
    (2) "50 percent", instead of "95 percent" of the dollar amount the resident school district would have allocated per pupil from state and local sources to serve and educate the eligible student had the student enrolled in the resident school district.

    This amendment specifies that an amount equal to "50 percent", instead of "95 percent", of the per pupil share of state and local funding received by the resident school district would be allocated for the scholarship of an eligible student attending a participating school.

    Under the bill, if a scholarship student withdraws from, leaves or otherwise fails to complete the school year at a participating school, then the proportionate share of the student's scholarship money for the part of the school year not completed must revert to the student's resident school district if the student returns to the resident school district. This amendment removes the requirement that the student return to the resident school district in order for such funds to revert to the student's resident school district.

  • No fiscal note for this bill.
  • House Floor and Committee Votes

    Votes for Bill HB0388 by the House are not available.

    Senate Floor and Committee Votes

    SB0485 by Kelsey - FLOOR VOTE: THIRD CONSIDERATION AMENDED 4/21/2011
    Passed
              Ayes...............................................18
              Noes...............................................10

              Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Crowe, Faulk, Gresham, Henry, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Ramsey, Roberts, Southerland, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Mr. Speaker McNally, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 18.
              Senators voting no were: Barnes, Berke, Burks, Finney L, Harper, Haynes, Herron, Kyle, Marrero, Stewart -- 10.

              SB0485 by Kelsey - FLOOR VOTE: AS AMENDED AMEND# 1 BY Gresham 4/21/2011
              VOICE VOTE: Failed

    SB0485 by Kelsey - SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE:
    Recommended for passage w/amendments- refer to: S. Cal. Comm. 4/13/2011
    Passed
              Ayes................................................5
              Noes................................................2

              Senators voting aye were: Crowe, Gresham, Kelsey, Summerville, Tracy -- 5.
              Senators voting no were: Berke, Burks -- 2.