2012 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representatives Byrd, Aldridge, Boyd, Brown (20th), Carpenter, Chism, DeBar, Gipson, Martinson, McLeod, Moore, Pigott, Rogers (61st), Weathersby
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE MISSISSIPPI DYSLEXIA EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM AND COMMISSION FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECRUITING AND TRAINING QUALIFIED PERSONS TO PRACTICE DYSLEXIA INSTRUCTION IN THIS STATE; TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI DYSLEXIA EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP COMMISSION TO ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM; TO ESTABLISH A BOARD FOR THE MISSISSIPPI DYSLEXIA EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP COMMISSION AND TO PRESCRIBE ITS POWERS AND DUTIES; TO PRESCRIBE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS SEEKING ENTRY INTO THE PROGRAM; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS; TO REQUIRE PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS TO ENTER AND COMPLETE DYSLEXIA EDUCATION PROGRAMS; TO REQUIRE PARTICIPANTS WHO FAIL TO COMPLETE THEIR DYSLEXIA EDUCATION PROGRAM TO REPAY, ON A PRO RATA BASIS, ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE RECEIVED THROUGH THE PROGRAM PLUS PENALTIES; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSION AND ITS BOARD HAVE NO AUTHORITY OVER ANY PROGRAMS OTHER THAN THE MISSISSIPPI DYSLEXIA EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. There is established the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program for the purpose of identifying and recruiting qualified university and college students from the state for schooling in education with a focus on dyslexia instruction.
SECTION 2. (1) The Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program shall be administered by a commission to be known as the "Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Commission." The commission shall be directed by a board composed of the following members:
(a) Two (2) licensed dyslexia therapists appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education, the term of which shall be three (3) years and may be reappointed for one (1) additional term;
(b) Two (2) certified Academic Language Therapy Association therapists appointed by and from the membership of the association, the term of which shall be three (3) years and may be reappointed for one (1) additional term;
(c) One (1) director of a state approved school for dyslexia students appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education, the term of which shall be three (3) years and may be reappointed for one (1) additional term;
(d) Two (2) program directors or instructors from a Mississippi Department of Education approved training program for dyslexia therapy appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education, the term of which shall be three (3) years and may be reappointed for one (1) additional term;
(e) One (1) dyslexia coordinator from the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Academic Education appointed by and to serve at the will and pleasure of the State Superintendent of Public Education;
(f) Four (4) school district Directors of Special Education, one from each of the congressional districts of the state, appointed by each congressional representative, the term of which shall be two (2) years and may be reappointed for one (1) additional term; and
(g) Three (3) parents of students diagnosed with dyslexia, one (1) appointed by the Governor, one (1) appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one (1) appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, the term of which shall be four (4) years and may be reappointed for one (1) additional term.
(2) Vacancies on the commission must be filled in a manner consistent with the original appointments.
(3) All appointments to the commission must be made no later than September 1, 2012. After the members are appointed, the State Superintendent of Public Education shall set a date for the organizational meeting that is mutually acceptable to the majority of the commission members. The organizational meeting shall be for the purposes of organizing the commission and establishing rules for transacting its business. A majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum at all commission meetings. An affirmative vote of a majority of the members present and voting shall be required in the adoption of rules, reports and in any other actions taken by the commission. At the organizational meeting, the commission shall elect a chair and vice chair from the members. The chair shall serve for a term of two (2) years, upon the expiration of which the vice chair shall assume the office of chair.
(4) After the organizational meeting, the commission shall hold no less than two (2) meetings annually.
(5) The commission may form an executive committee for the purpose of transacting business that must be conducted before the next regularly scheduled meeting of the commission. All actions taken by the executive committee must be ratified by the commission at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
(6) Members of the commission shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed, subject to the availability of funding, for mileage and actual and necessary expenses incurred in attending meetings of the commission.
(7) Funding for the establishment and continued operation of the program and commission may be accepted from any source, public or private.
SECTION 3. The Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) Developing the administrative policy for the commission and the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program;
(b) Promulgating rules and regulations pertaining to the implementation and operation of the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program;
(c) Developing and implementing strategies and activities for the identification and recruitment of students and for marketing the program and for the implementation of the program. In developing these strategies, the board shall seek the input of various organizations and entities;
(d) Establishing a budget to support the activities of the program and periodically reviewing and, if appropriate, revising, the scholarship and other stipends offered through the program; and
(e) Reviewing progress of participants in the program and mentoring students participating in the program.
SECTION 4. (1) Each applicant for admission to the program must submit an application to the commission that conforms to requirements established by the commission.
(2) In selecting participants for the program, the board may only accept an applicant if his or her academic record and other characteristics would be considered credible and competitive.
(3) An applicant for the program may be admitted only upon a majority vote of the members of the commission.
(4) Up to ten (10) students will be admitted to the program each year, beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year.
SECTION 5. (1) Participants must adhere to the policies and practices as stipulated by the commission to continue in the program.
(2) Students in the program may receive tuition or other financial support that may be provided by the commission. If a student in the program is admitted to and completes a dyslexia education program, any tuition or other educational and living support provided to the student by the commission will be forgiven. However, if the student is not successful in completing the dyslexia education program, or if the student otherwise breaches his or her agreement with the commission, all financial assistance provided to the student must be repaid according to policies adopted by the board.
SECTION 6. This act may not be construed as granting the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program or its governing commission any governing or administrative authority over any program administered by any college or university in this state or any other program established by state law.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2012.