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The scope statement for this rule, SS 042-18, was published in Register No. 748A1 on April 2, 2018, and approved by State Superintendent Tony Evers on April 27, 2018. 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, 368 Wis.2d 444.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction hereby adopts an order to create s. PI 49.02 (9p) and (19m), 49.03 (3) (bm), 49.04 (1m) and (5), 49.05 (4) (b) 1. and 2., (5) (c) 1. a. and b. and 1m., (7m), (8) (e) and (9), 49.06 (3m) and (5) (d) and (e), 49.07 (u), 49.08 (3), (4) and (5), 49.13 (2m), (6) and (7), and 49.16; to amend s. PI 49.01, 49.02 (5m), (7) and (15), 49.03 (5) (a) (intro.) and (6), 49.04 (2) (intro.) and (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) and (3) (c), 49.05 (1) (a), (4) (a) (intro.), (6) (a) and (c), and (8) (intro.), 49.06 (2), (3) (intro.), (4) (intro.), (a) and (d), and (5) (intro.), (a), (c) (intro.) and 1.a., 49.07 (1) (intro.) and (b), (2), and (3) (a), (f), (k), (m), (p) and (t), 49.09 (1) (b), (3) (a) (intro.) and 1. and 2. and 4., (b) 1., (d) 1., (e) 1., and (4), 49.10 (6), 49.13 (intro.), (2) (intro.), and (3) (intro.), and 49.14 (4) (c), (d) and (g); to repeal s. PI 49.02 (3), 49.05 (3) (c) and (4) (a) 3., and 49.07 (3) (e) and (h), (4) (b) 1. and 2.; to repeal and recreate s. PI 49.03 (4), 49.04 (1), 49.05 (7) and 49.08 (1); and to renumber and amend s. PI 49.05 (4) (b) and (5) (c) 1. and PI 49.07 (4) (b) (intro.); relating to changes to rules governing the Special Needs Scholarship Program as a result of 2017 Wisconsin Acts 36 and 59 and other changes.
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:
This rule amends Chapter PI 49 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code in order to conform Department rules governing the special needs scholarship program to changes in statute as a result of 2017 Wisconsin Acts 36 and 59. The proposed rule will also make other various changes to conform the rule to best practices and efficiencies in program administration. Key aspects of the rule include the following:
- Specify the requirements for the modified financial audit and the standard financial audit.
- Clarify the individuals for which schools must complete background checks.
- Modify certain due dates so the dates will not be on a weekend.
- Modify the accreditation requirements to allow accrediting organizations to provide a notice rather than a letter of the accreditation status of schools.
- Specify that the budget required must include the anticipated beginning and ending reserve balance.
- Specify that schools may change the number of available scholarships in certain circumstances.
- Specify what is required for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or services plan to be in effect.
- Specify when the school must send the following emails:
-The email to the local education agency that developed the IEP or services plan verifying that the student had an IEP or services plan that was in effect; and
-If the resident school district did not develop the IEP or services plan, to the pupil’s resident school district notifying them that the pupil will receive a scholarship if the verification above determines the pupil is eligible for the program.
- Remove the pupil eligibility requirements related to open enrollment denials since the requirement for an open enrollment denial was removed from s. 115.7915, Stats.
- Clarify the pupil eligibility requirements for transfer pupils and how transfer requests may be corrected if errors are identified by the auditor.
- Clarify that if a pupil who no longer has a disability attends a different school, the pupil is not eligible for a special needs scholarship program scholarship.
- Modify the dates by which applications and transfer requests must be submitted to the department.
- Specify that the school must identify pupils no longer eligible for a scholarship in the preliminary enrollment report and pupil count reports.
- Remove the requirement to use original classroom records when completing the enrollment audit.
- Specify the requirements for a school to receive a special needs scholarship program summer school payment and the audit requirements of the summer school report.
- Specify that a pupil may attend a different school for summer school and still be eligible for a special needs scholarship program scholarship.
- Clarify the requirements for including fixed assets in the financial audit.
- Specify what is considered a management letter.
- Clarify what expenses are primarily related to special needs scholarship program pupils and how they impact the general expenses requirements.
- Clarify the school’s responsibility for the financial requirements.
- Specify that the identification of special needs scholarship program pupils may be in a different report than the official attendance records, if the official attendance records are from the student information system.
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, the 2015-17 biennial budget, created the special needs scholarship program. The Department promulgated administrative rules, CR 16-005, relating to the special needs scholarship program; and CR 16-066, relating to revisions to the special needs scholarship program; both of which are currently in effect. Since then, 2017 Wisconsin Act 36 and 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, the 2017-19 biennial budget, made several changes relating to the administration of this program. As a result of recent changes in statute and items identified since the rules were implemented, modifications to PI 49 are needed to better assist participating schools and the Department in the administration of the program. Without a rule change, statute and rule will not be consistent and the Department may be prevented from efficiently administering the program.
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
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.