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The scope statement for this rule, SS 088-16, was published in Register No. 730A1, on October 3, 2016, and approved by State Superintendent Tony Evers, on October 13, 2016. Pursuant to Coyne v. Walker, the Department of Public Instruction is not required to obtain the Governor’s approval for the statement of scope for this rule. Coyne v. Walker, 2016 WI 38.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction hereby proposes an order to repeal ss. 49.03 (5) (d), PI 49.04 (5), PI 49.05 (5) and (c) 2. a. and b. and (d); to renumber and amend ss. PI 49.05 (5) (c) 2. (intro.), PI 49.09 (3) (a) 3. and (b) 3. and (5); to repeal and recreate s. PI 49.05 (5) (a) and (b) and (7) (b); to amend ss. PI 49.02 (18), PI 49.03 (6) (intro.) and (a) 3., PI 49.05 (4) (intro.) and (c) 2. and (5) (c) (intro.), PI 49.05 (7) (a), PI 49.07 (4) (b) 1., and PI 49.09 (5) (title); and to create ss. PI 49.02 (5m) and (9m), PI 49.03 (e) and (7) and (7) (note), PI 49.05 (4) (note) and (7) (c) and (d), PI 49.07 (3) (r) and (s) and (t), and PI 49.09 (3) (a) 3. a. and b. and (b) 3. a. and b.; relating to revisions to the Special Needs Scholarship Program.
Statute interpreted: s. 115.7915, Stats.
Statutory authority: s. 115.7915 (10), Stats.
Explanation of agency authority:
Under s. 115.7915 (10), Stats., the Department is required to promulgate rules to implement and administer the Special Needs Scholarship Program, including rules relating to: (a) eligibility and participation of eligible schools; (b) calculation and distribution of scholarships; and (c) application and approval procedures for students and eligible schools.
Related statute or rule: ss. 118.60 and 119.23, Stats., and ch. PI 35 and ch. PI 48
Plain language analysis:
The proposed rule seeks to make the following changes to the current administrative rules governing the Special Needs Scholarship Program:
Specify that individuals designated by the special needs scholarship program administrator may assist in the processing of student applications.
Clarify the role of the special needs scholarship administrator as being the person who has the authority to process pupil applications and submit reports and forms required under s. PI 49 and s. 115.7915, Stats.
Specify that the Intent to Participate form must identify the special needs scholarship program administrator.
Modify the individualized education program (IEP) and services plan verification process as follows:
Provide clarification on what the individualized education program and services plan date requirements are for students applying under section 9134 (6q) of 2015 Act 55.
Add that if the resident school district did not create the IEP or services plan, the local education agency that created the IEP or services plan must complete the verification.
Indicate that the notification that a pupil has been accepted into the special needs scholarship program shall be sent within seven days of the school receiving the IEP from the local education agency in response to the verification request or notification from the department of if the pupil met the IEP or services plan requirement.
Remove references to transfer requests from the IEP/services plan verification section.
Specify that the school’s auditors determine that the school and parent have agreed to the services to be provided to each student.
Specify that the school’s auditors would verify that the statutorily required student reevaluations are completed and that students are properly identified as partial scholarship pupils.
Current administrative rule requires that the department net any amount owed from a school from the next special needs scholarship program payment. The revised rule specifies that if the payment is insufficient to pay the full amount owed, the school shall pay the difference within 60 days of the certification letter.
Clarify the financial audit submission requirements.
Clarify the calculation of offsetting fundraising revenue in the calculation of net eligible education expenses.
Clarify how students may transfer to a different participating school and that auditors shall verify the transfer requests meet the requirements.
Clarify that a school must be accredited for all grades that are available for special needs scholarship program pupils.
Specify that schools which do not meet the accreditation requirement of the program must annually, by March 1, submit the special needs scholarship program private school requirements form for review by the state superintendent.
Remove two administrative rule provisions because they were only applicable to 2016.
Summary of, and comparison with, existing or proposed federal regulations: N/A
Comparison with rules in adjacent states: N/A
Summary of factual data and analytical methodologies:
2015 Wisconsin Act 55 created the Special Needs Scholarship Program (“Program”), which first became effective in the 2016-17 school year. Utilizing its authority under s. 115.7915 (10), Stats., the Department promulgated emergency rules for the Program (Emergency Rule 1619) that are currently in effect. CHR 16-005 is the permanent rule that implements the Program and is currently pending publication for a November 1, 2016 effective date at the time of the filing of this rule. Based on feedback from participating schools and school districts and items identified during the first year implementation of the Program, modifications to the current rule are needed to better assist schools and the Department in the administration of the Program. Without a rule, the Department will administer the Program according to the permanent rules that will go into effect November 1.
Analysis and supporting documents used to determine effect on small business or in preparation of economic impact report: N/A
Anticipated costs incurred by private sector: N/A
Effect on small business:
The proposed rules will have no significant economic impact on small businesses, as defined in s. 227.114 (1) (a), Stats.
Agency contact person: (including email and telephone)
Carl Bryan
Budget and Policy Analyst
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
(608) 267-9127
Links to Admin. Code and Statutes in this Register are to current versions, which may not be the version that was referred to in the original published document.