ESA News: Budget Calls for PESA for NC families

Included as part of the $23 billion dollar state budget (see page 133) is a plan to create Personal Education Savings Account. (PESA).  According to the legislation, children with special needs or dependents of active duty military personnel will be eligible for PESAs valued at up to $9,000. Parents will be able to use the money for such things as tuition and fees at approved nonpublic schools, pay for textbooks, purchase curricula,  receive educational therapies and other  expenses. Recipients will also be able to uses PESAs in combination with other scholarships(e.g., Special Needs Scholarship, Opportunity Scholarship) to maximize educational resources.  The budget allots $450,000 for start up and administrative costs in 2017-18 and $3 million in FY 2018-19 when  the program is expected to begin.

The budget is expected to be approved by both Houses of the Legislature.  Governor Cooper has not indicated whether he will sign the budget. If Cooper vetoes the bill, Republicans will need to pass the bill by a three-fifths majority in each house, a margin Republicans already possess in each house.

The program will be administered by the State Education Assistance Authority. The same agency that manages the Opportunity Scholarship Program and Special Needs Grant Program.

Check the SEAA web site in the coming weeks for additional information.