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HB 1963 Education improvement scholarships tax credit; pre-kindergarten eligibility.
SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:
Educational Improvement Scholarships tax credit; pre-kindergarten eligibility. Expands the educational improvement scholarships tax credit program by including as eligible scholarship recipients children enrolled in or attending nonpublic pre-kindergarten programs. The maximum annual scholarship that a child enrolled in or attending a nonpublic pre-kindergarten program will receive is the lesser of the child's actual educational expenses or the state share of the grant per child under the Virginia Preschool Initiative for the locality in which the child resides.
Under current law, tax credits are awarded to individuals and businesses making donations to nonprofit scholarship foundations using the donated funds to award scholarships to certain students in grades K-12 attending nonpublic schools. Eligible scholarship recipients are students in grades K-12 with a finalized individualized education program (IEP) in place or whose annual household income is not in excess of 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
The bill defines an eligible pre-kindergarten child as a child who is (i) a resident of Virginia, (ii) an at-risk four-year-old unserved by Head Start programs, and (iii) enrolled in or attending a nonpublic pre-kindergarten program. In addition, the family of the child (a) cannot have annual household income in excess of 300 percent of the current poverty guidelines or 400 percent of such guidelines if an IEP has been written and finalized for the child, (b) must be homeless as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 11302, or (c) must include parents or guardians of the child who are school dropouts.
The bill defines a nonpublic pre-kindergarten program as a preschool program designed for child development and kindergarten preparation (1) that complies with nonpublic school accreditation requirements administered by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) or (2) that is participating in Virginia Quality (a partnership between the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Office of Early Childhood Development of the Department of Social Services) with a current designation of at least Level 3 under such rating system. The bill includes several other curriculum and administrative requirements that must be met by a nonpublic pre-kindergarten program in order for children attending the program to be eligible to receive scholarships under the tax credit program. Under the bill, VCPE or the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation will certify nonpublic pre-kindergarten programs meeting such curriculum and administrative requirements.