Families and educators learned more about a new scholarship for special needs students Thursday night.
Dozens attended the informational meeting at UNCW about North Carolina's first-ever education savings accounts, which are designed to provide $9,000 for educational expenses for students with special needs.
The program, supported by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, passed state legislature and will go into effect during the 2018-19 school year.
Senator Michael Lee was one of the legislative sponsors of the scholarship, and he spoke about the importance of school choice Thursday night.
"It gives them options for education other than the traditional public school education that some students have now," Lee said.
He is also hopeful that it will ultimately lead to more options for specialized education locally.
"It's going to help create a market because once you have more people that can afford through this particular program to be involved in education outside of the traditional setting, it will hopefully spur providers in our area as well as other areas within the state to establish programs for children with special needs to address their educational needs," Lee said.
The program is unique in its flexibility and is expected to help around 330 students next year.
"We're looking at families, a child with an IEP, and individualized education plan," said Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educations Free in North Carolina. "With that, it gives a lot of variety. Not only is it for the family who's currently in the public school system who may want to use those funds to go to a private school, but this program's unique in terms that if you're a part-time student, you'll also be able to be educated part time in a private school."
For more information on this scholarship, click here.
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