INTRODUCED BY S. Vinton, M. Cuffe, D. Skees, D. Salomon, D. Kary, T. McGillvray, D. Howard, C. Smith, J. Welborn, B. Hoven, M. Blasdel, B. Molnar, C. Glimm, D. Lenz, W. Galt, S. Berglee, B. Brown, K. Holmlund, W. McKamey, V. Ricci, B. Tschida, S. Gunderson, D. Loge, F. Anderson, L. Sheldon-Galloway, J. Trebas, C. Knudsen, W. Sales, T. Welch, B. Beard, N. Duram, R. Knudsen, K. Bogner, J. Kassmier, B. Mercer, T. Moore, D. Bedey, S. Greef, B. Ler, B. Phalen, F. Nave, J. Carlson, L. Brewster, K. Zolnikov, B. Mitchell, A. Regier, L. Reksten, P. Fielder, E. Hill, J. Schillinger, K. Seekins-Crowe, M. Stromswold, C. Hinkle, G. Frazer, M. Binkley, R. Marshall, K. Whitman
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING LAWS RELATED TO ESTABLISHING THE STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ACT AND THE MONTANA SPECIAL NEEDS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT PROGRAM; ESTABLISHING REQUIREMENTS FOR ELIGIBILITY AND ALLOWABLE EXPENSES; PROVIDING RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PARENTS, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, AND THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION; CLARIFYING THE AUTONOMY OF PARTICIPATING PRIVATE SCHOOLS; PROVIDING FOR FUNDING OF SPECIAL NEEDS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS; ESTABLISHING THE SPECIAL NEEDS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EDUCATION SAVINGS TRUST; PROVIDING AN APPROPRIATION and a statutory appropriation; PROVIDING RULEMAKING AUTHORITY; providing definitions; AMENDING SECTION 17-7-502, MCA; and PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program -- findings and purposes. (1) There is a Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program provided by the legislature as a desirable educational program pursuant to Article X, section 1(3), of the Montana constitution, which gives authority to the legislature to provide for educational programs and institutions in addition to a basic system of public schools that will fulfill the goal of the people to have an overall system of education that offers equal opportunity for all to reach their full educational potential.
(2) The legislature finds that expanding special needs educational opportunities within the state is a valid public purpose to ensure equal educational opportunity for all children with special needs.
(3) The purposes of [sections 1 through 10] pursuant to Article X, section 1(1), of the Montana constitution are to ensure that Montana children have access to educational opportunities that will develop each child's full educational potential.
(3) "Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account" or "account" means an account within the trust established in [section 10] in which a payment under [section 9] is deposited on behalf of a qualified student for the purpose of reimbursement for the purchase of allowable educational resources pursuant to [section 4] for qualified students.
(4) "Parent" means a biological parent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, custodian, or other person with legal authority to act on behalf of a qualified student, and whose parental rights have not been terminated.
(5) "Program" means the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program established in [section 2].
(d) requires that any employee who may have unsupervised access to children be subject to a criminal history background check prior to employment pursuant to and in support of 42 U.S.C. 5119(a) and (c); and
(b) is not currently enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of providing educational services to youth in department of corrections commitment programs or in the Montana school for the deaf and blind; and
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Use of Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account -- allowable educational resources. (1) The superintendent of public instruction shall allow money deposited in the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account to be used to reimburse parents for the purchase of the following educational resources only for the benefit of the individual for whom the account was created:
(b) an educational program or course using electronic or offsite delivery methods, including but not limited to tutoring, distance learning programs, online programs, and technology delivered learning programs;
(e) educational therapies or services, including but not limited to occupational, behavioral, physical, speech-language, and audiology therapies from licensed or certified practitioners or providers, including licensed or certified paraprofessionals or educational aides;
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Parent responsibilities. (1) In order for a qualified student to participate in the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program during the time periods designated by the superintendent of public instruction pursuant to [section 6], the superintendent of public instruction shall require parents of qualified students who wish to participate in the program to notify the superintendent of public instruction and sign a contract with the superintendent of public instruction to do the following:
(b) release the resident school district from all obligations to educate the qualified student, including any requirements that the district provide a free and appropriate education to the qualified student or develop an individualized education program for the qualified student;
(2) If a qualified student enrolls full-time in a public school district, the superintendent of public instruction shall terminate payments for the student to the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account.
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Responsibilities of superintendent of public instruction -- rulemaking. (1) The superintendent of public instruction shall make information about the program accessible through printed informational materials and the office of public instruction website to parents, students, and school districts.
(2) The superintendent of public instruction shall ensure that parents of qualified students receive notice that participation in the program is a parental placement under 20 U.S.C. 1412, Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, along with an explanation of the rights that parentally placed students possess under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and any applicable state laws and regulations.
(3) The superintendent of public instruction may remove a qualified student from eligibility for an account if the parent fails to comply with the terms of the contract signed pursuant to [section 5], knowingly misuses account funds, or knowingly fails to comply with the terms of the contract with intent to defraud. If a qualified student is removed from eligibility, the superintendent of public instruction shall suspend the student from the program and shall notify the parent in writing that the student has been suspended and that no further reimbursements from the account will be allowed. The notification shall specify the reason for the suspension and state that the parent has 10 business days to respond and take corrective action. If the parent refuses or fails within the 10-day period to contact the superintendent of public instruction or provide information or make a report that is required for reinstatement, the superintendent of public instruction may remove the qualified student from the program pursuant to this subsection. A parent may appeal the superintendent of public instruction's decision pursuant to Title 2, chapter 4, part 6.
(4) The superintendent of public instruction may refer cases of substantial misuse of account funds to the attorney general for investigation if the superintendent of public instruction obtains evidence of fraudulent use of an account.
(a) establishment of no fewer than two time periods each year during which a student's parent may notify the superintendent of public instruction of the parent's desire for the student to participate in the program. Each time period must be at least 1 month long. One period must be between September 1 and January 1, and the other time period must be between March 1 and June 1, based on the superintendent of public instruction's determination of school district and parent needs.
(g) establishment of participation agreements to create a trust interest in the special needs equal opportunity education savings trust established in [section 10] and provide for participation in the program; and
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Responsibilities of public school districts -- student records. A public school or school district that previously enrolled a qualified student participating in the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program shall provide a qualified school that has enrolled a participating student with a complete copy of the student's school records, while complying with 20 U.S.C. 1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
NEW SECTION. Section 8. Qualified schools -- regulations. (1) The superintendent of public instruction shall require qualified schools who enroll students who are participating in the special needs equal opportunity education savings account program to submit quarterly reports of services provided to qualified students as required under the program.
(3) The superintendent of public instruction or any other state agency may not regulate the educational program of a qualified school that enrolls a qualified student, except as provided under 20-5-109.
(4) The creation of the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program does not expand the regulatory authority of the state, its officers, or a school district to impose additional regulation on providers of educational services under the program beyond that reasonably necessary to enforce the requirements of the Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account program.
NEW SECTION. Section 9. Montana special needs equal opportunity education savings account -- funding and administration. (1) Following receipt of a signed contract pursuant to [section 5], the superintendent of public instruction shall:
(2) Beginning with the next distribution of BASE aid payments pursuant to 20-9-344 for the months of August through May, the resident school district shall remit to the office of public instruction the amount calculated in subsection (1)(c) for each participating student by no later than the 10th of the month following the BASE aid distribution.
(a) 95% of the money must be deposited in accounts within the special needs equal opportunity education savings trust established in [section 10] to be used only for reimbursing parents for the purchase of allowable educational resources pursuant to [section 3]; and
(5) The office of public instruction shall ensure that the participating student is included in the resident school district's ANB calculation pursuant to 20-9-311 in any year that the student remains otherwise eligible for inclusion and participates in the program. No other school district may count the student for ANB purposes. The participating student is not considered to be enrolled in the resident school district.
(7) (a) There is an office of public instruction special needs equal opportunity ESA administration account within the state special revenue fund created in 17-2-102 consisting of 5% of the money remitted to the office of public instruction pursuant to subsection (2).
(b) Funds in the office of public instruction special needs equal opportunity ESA administration account are statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, to the office of public instruction and must be used for the costs of administering the program.
NEW SECTION. Section 10. Special needs equal opportunity education savings trust. There is a special needs equal opportunity education savings trust that is an instrumentality of the state and that is created for a public purpose. The trust consists of participating trusts with each participating trust corresponding to an account. The assets of one participating trust may not be commingled with the assets of any other participating trust. The assets and earnings of any participating trust may not be used to satisfy the obligations of any other participating trust. Each participating trust account represents a trust interest in the trust and includes interest and investment income earned by the trust account.
"17-7-502. Statutory appropriations -- definition -- requisites for validity. (1) A statutory appropriation is an appropriation made by permanent law that authorizes spending by a state agency without the need for a biennial legislative appropriation or budget amendment.
(3) The following laws are the only laws containing statutory appropriations: 2-17-105; 5-11-120; 5-11-407; 5-13-403; 5-13-404; 7-4-2502; 10-1-108; 10-1-1202; 10-1-1303; 10-2-603; 10-2-807; 10-3-203; 10-3-310; 10-3-312; 10-3-314; 10-3-802; 10-3-1304; 10-4-304; 15-1-121; 15-1-218; 15-31-1004; 15-31-1005; 15-35-108; 15-36-332; 15-37-117; 15-39-110; 15-65-121; 15-70-101; 15-70-130; 15-70-433; 16-11-119; 16-11-509; 17-3-106; 17-3-212; 17-3-222; 17-3-241; 17-6-101; 17-7-215; 18-11-112; 19-3-319; 19-3-320; 19-6-404; 19-6-410; 19-9-702; 19-13-604; 19-17-301; 19-18-512; 19-19-305; 19-19-506; 19-20-604; 19-20-607; 19-21-203; [section 9]; 20-8-107; 20-9-534; 20-9-622; 20-9-905; 20-26-617; 20-26-1503; 22-1-327; 22-3-116; 22-3-117; 22-3-1004; 23-4-105; 23-5-306; 23-5-409; 23-5-612; 23-7-301; 23-7-402; 30-10-1004; 37-43-204; 37-50-209; 37-54-113; 39-71-503; 41-5-2011; 42-2-105; 44-4-1101; 44-12-213; 44-13-102; 50-1-115; 53-1-109; 53-6-148; 53-9-113; 53-24-108; 53-24-206; 60-11-115; 61-3-321; 61-3-415; 67-1-309; 69-3-870; 69-4-527; 75-1-1101; 75-5-1108; 75-6-214; 75-11-313; 75-26-308; 76-13-151; 76-13-150; 76-17-103; 76-22-109; 77-1-108; 77-2-362; 80-2-222; 80-4-416; 80-11-518; 80-11-1006; 81-1-112; 81-1-113; 81-7-106; 81-7-123; 81-10-103; 82-11-161; 85-2-526; 85-20-1504; 85-20-1505; [85-25-102]; 87-1-603; 90-1-115; 90-1-205; 90-1-504; 90-6-331; and 90-9-306.
(4) There is a statutory appropriation to pay the principal, interest, premiums, and costs of issuing, paying, and securing all bonds, notes, or other obligations, as due, that have been authorized and issued pursuant to the laws of Montana. Agencies that have entered into agreements authorized by the laws of Montana to pay the state treasurer, for deposit in accordance with 17-2-101 through 17-2-107, as determined by the state treasurer, an amount sufficient to pay the principal and interest as due on the bonds or notes have statutory appropriation authority for the payments. (In subsection (3): pursuant to sec. 10, Ch. 360, L. 1999, the inclusion of 19-20-604 terminates contingently when the amortization period for the teachers' retirement system's unfunded liability is 10 years or less; pursuant to sec. 73, Ch. 44, L. 2007, the inclusion of 19-6-410 terminates contingently upon the death of the last recipient eligible under 19-6-709(2) for the supplemental benefit provided by 19-6-709; pursuant to sec. 27, Ch. 285, L. 2015, and sec. 1, Ch. 292, L. 2015, the inclusion of 53-9-113 terminates June 30, 2021; pursuant to sec. 6, Ch. 291, L. 2015, the inclusion of 50-1-115 terminates June 30, 2021; pursuant to sec. 5, Ch. 383, L. 2015, the inclusion of 85-25-102 is effective on occurrence of contingency; pursuant to sec. 6, Ch. 423, L. 2015, the inclusion of 22-3-116 and 22-3-117 terminates June 30, 2025; pursuant to sec. 33, Ch. 457, L. 2015, the inclusion of 20-9-905 terminates December 31, 2023; pursuant to sec. 12, Ch. 55, L. 2017, the inclusion of 37-54-113 terminates June 30, 2023; pursuant to sec. 4, Ch. 122, L. 2017, the inclusion of 10-3-1304 terminates September 30, 2025; pursuant to sec. 55, Ch. 151, L. 2017, the inclusion of 30-10-1004 terminates June 30, 2021; pursuant to sec. 1, Ch. 213, L. 2017, the inclusion of 90-6-331 terminates June 30, 2027; pursuant to secs. 5, 8, Ch. 284, L. 2017, the inclusion of 81-1-112, 81-1-113, and 81-7-106 terminates June 30, 2023; pursuant to sec. 1, Ch. 340, L. 2017, the inclusion of 22-1-327 terminates July 1, 2023; pursuant to sec. 10, Ch. 374, L. 2017, the inclusion of 76-17-103 terminates June 30, 2027; pursuant to sec. 5, Ch, 50, L. 2019, the inclusion of 37-50-209 terminates September 30, 2023; pursuant to sec. 1, Ch. 408, L. 2019, the inclusion of 17-7-215 terminates June 30, 2029; pursuant to secs. 11, 12, and 14, Ch. 343, L. 2019, the inclusion of 15-35-108 terminates June 30, 2027; pursuant to sec. 7, Ch. 465, L. 2019, the inclusion of 85-2-526 terminates July 1, 2023; and pursuant to sec. 5, Ch. 477, L. 2019, the inclusion of 10-3-802 terminates June 30, 2023.)"
NEW SECTION. Section 13. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 10] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 20, chapter 7, and the provisions of Title 20, chapter 7, apply to [sections 1 through 10].
NEW SECTION. Section 14. Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted.
See the status of this bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services