The bill creates the literacy enrichment scholarship program (program) for students in kindergarten or grades one through 3 who are identified as having a significant reading deficiency. The scholarship amount is limited to $500 per student per year and may be used by the student's parent to purchase literacy enrichment products and services for the student.
The department of education (department) must implement the program by contracting with a nonprofit entity to administer distribution of the scholarship money. The administering entity will accept applications and confirm that the applying student and his or her parents meet the eligibility requirements. The administering entity will then notify the department, and the department will forward the scholarship amount for the eligible student to the administering entity, which will deposit the money in the eligible student's account. The administering entity must establish a money transfer service by which the parent of an eligible student may withdraw money from the account. A parent may use the scholarship money only for literacy enrichment purposes and may not accept payments from literacy enrichment providers. The bill specifies procedures for enforcing these requirements.
By January 31, 2023, the department must evaluate whether the program is successful in assisting students to improve literacy skills. The department must submit the evaluation to the state board of education and the education committees of the general assembly.
The general assembly will appropriate money annually for the program to the literacy enrichment scholarship fund, which is created in the bill. The program is repealed, effective July 1, 2025.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)