The House of Delegates today passed legislation introduced by Delegate David LaRock (R-Loudoun) to give special-needs students in Virginia the option to start Education Savings Accounts. Speaking about the legislation, House Bill 2238, Delegate LaRock said, “While we have excellent public schools in Virginia, they are not always the best option for children with special learning needs or unique challenges. Cost is the biggest factor preventing families from choosing a better option for their child. Education savings accounts give families facing that cost barrier other choices so that they can best meet the educational needs of their children.”
The Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts (PCESAs) would be an option for students with special needs. Parents would apply to their local school board for that option.
The savings account would give families access to 90 percent of what the state would spend on the child in a public school setting, accessed through a debit card – local school district funding is left untouched. The debit card spending could be applied towards a range of educational expenses. Money left over in a savings account after a student completes 12th grade could be applied towards college. Funds that are not used within four years of secondary school graduation for educational purposes are returned to the state.
Programs similar to Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts (PCESAs) have been successful in Arizona and Florida.