2012 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representatives Byrd, Aldridge, Boyd, Brown (20th), Carpenter, Chism, DeBar, Gipson, Martinson, McLeod, Moore, Pigott, Rogers (61st), Weathersby, Gardner, Young, Miles, Holloway, Evans (43rd), Howell, Turner, Barker, Bounds, Dixon
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE MISSISSIPPI DYSLEXIA EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECRUITING AND TRAINING QUALIFIED PERSONS TO PRACTICE DYSLEXIA THERAPY IN THIS STATE; TO LIMIT THE RECEIPT OF SCHOLARSHIPS UNDER THE PROGRAM TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN OR WHO HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED FOR ENROLLMENT INTO A MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAM OF STUDY FOR DYSLEXIA THERAPY; TO PROVIDE THAT THE ANNUAL AMOUNT OF THE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD SHALL BE EQUAL TO THE TOTAL COST FOR TUITION; TO ESTABLISH THE TERMS OF SERVICE FOR THOSE PERSONS WHO RECEIVE A SCHOLARSHIP UNDER THE PROGRAM; TO STIPULATE THE PROCESS FOR REPAYMENT OF ANY AWARD AMOUNTS FOR FAILING TO COMPLETE THE PROGRAM OF STUDY OR THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF YEARS OF SERVICE AS REQUIRED BY RECEIPT OF A SCHOLARSHIP; TO ESTABLISH THE CERTIFIED TEACHER OF THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE MISSISSIPPI INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCE CENTER; TO PROVIDE THAT FUNDING FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP SHALL BE SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION AND SHALL BE ADMINISTERED BY THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (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 therapy.
(2) The receipt of a scholarship under the program shall be solely limited to those students who are enrolled in or who have been accepted for enrollment into a master's degree program of study for dyslexia therapy at any public or private institution of higher learning within the State of Mississippi at the time an application for scholarship is filed with the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
(3) The annual amount of the scholarship award shall be equal to the total cost for tuition, materials and fees at the college or university in which the student is enrolled. Awards made to nonresidents of the state shall not include any amount assessed by the college or university for out-of-state tuition.
(4) Upon completion of the master's program and licensure requirements, if the scholarship recipient has not been previously licensed by the State Department of Education, shall render service as licensed teacher of dyslexia therapy in a public school district in the state. Any person who received two (2) annual awards, or who received fewer than two (2) annual awards, or the equivalent of two (2) annual awards, shall render one (1) year's services as a licensed teacher for each year that the person received a scholarship award.
(5) (a) Any person failing to complete a program of study which will enable that person to obtain a master's degree in dyslexia therapy shall become liable immediately to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning for the sum of all Dyslexia Education Scholarship awards made to the person, plus interest accruing at the current Stafford Loan rate at the time the person abrogates his or her participation in the program.
(b) Any person failing to complete his or her teaching obligation, as required under subsection (4) of this section, shall become liable immediately to the board for the sum of all scholarship awards made to the person less the corresponding amount of any awards for which service has been rendered, plus interest accruing at the current Stafford Loan rate at the time the person discontinues his or her service.
(6) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall prepare and submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2015, outlining in detail the number of participants who have received scholarship funds under the program, the record of service provided by those recipients as they transition out of the degree program into the public school districts of this state, and the projection for expanding the program to include more participants annually as determined by the need for such qualified professional in the public school setting. Additionally, the report shall include a summary of allocations and expenditures for the administration of the program and the total amount of funds issued to recipients of scholarships from the inception of the program until such time as the report has been prepared and submitted to the Legislature.
SECTION 2. (1) The Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program shall be administered in the same manner as the Critical Needs Teacher Scholarship Program, pursuant to Section 37-159-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, and shall be incorporated into the Critical Needs Teacher Scholarship Program for all purposes.
(2) Funding for the establishment and continued operation of the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program shall be administered by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning through a special fund established within the Critical Needs Teacher Scholarship Program, subject to appropriation by the Legislature. The board may accept and receive monetary gifts and donations from any source, public or private, which such funds shall be deposited in the special fund for the benefit of the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program with the Critical Needs Teacher Scholarship Program.
(3) No more than ten (10) students shall be selected annually to be admitted into the program for receipt of scholarship funds beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year.
SECTION 3. There is hereby established the Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired Scholarship Program. The program shall be operated by the Mississippi Instructional Resource Center (MIRC). MIRC shall develop rules and regulations to implement a scholarship program to assist Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired in taking and passing the Mississippi Praxis II Braille Competency Exam and/or becoming certified under National Certification in Literacy Braille. Funding for this program shall be administered through a special fund at the Mississippi Department of Education and shall be subject to appropriation.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2012.