Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program (O.C.G.A 20-2-2113)
Subject to the requirements of state law, a parent whose child meets the eligibility criteria for participation in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program has the right to request a transfer to another school.
Transfer requests from within the Henry County School District are contingent upon the requested school having available classroom space AND a program with the services agreed to in the student's individual education program (IEP). If permission is granted to attend the requested school, the parent shall be responsible for transporting their child to and from school.
A student who transfers under this option may continue to attend such school until the student completes all grades of the school, graduates, or reaches the age of 21, whichever occurs first, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2113 (b) (2).
The Superintendent or designee shall provide specific written notice of the options available under this program to resident parents at the initial Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting in which a disability of the parent's child is identified.
Thereafter, the Superintendent or designee shall annually notify resident parents of a student with a disability, prior to the beginning of each school year, by letter, electronic means, or by such other reasonable means in a timely manner of options available to the parent under this program pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2113 (a).
To qualify for the Georgia Special Scholarship award with an IEP for the 2023-2024 school year the student must meet the following requirements:
1) The student's parent currently resides within Georgia and has been a Georgia resident for at least one calendar year however, that the one-year requirement shall not apply if the student's parent is an active-duty military service member stationed in Georgia within the previous year; AND
2) The student had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in effect during the 2022-2023 school year; AND
3) The student spent the prior school year in attendance* at a Georgia public school.
*Prior school year in attendance - the student was enrolled and reported by a public school system or school systems for funding purposes at the time of both FTE program counts, conducted each school year in October and March. See OCGA 20-2-2112 (5)
Prior school year in attendance shall not apply if:
• The student's parent is an active-duty military service member stationed in Georgia within the previous year; OR
• The student has been adopted or placed in a permanent guardianship from foster care pursuant to an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction within the previous year; OR
• The student previously qualified for a scholarship as provided in state law.
- Please note that previously qualified only waives the prior school year in attendance provision, all other requirements including having an IEP in the previous school year and enrollment in a public school are still in effect.
The application window will be announced yearly in January and will reflect the School Choice Window of January and February.
This notification is to inform you of the Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program for school choice available for students attending Georgia public schools and having a Section 504 plan.
Option 1: Private School Choice
To qualify for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program for the school year, a student must meet all three requirements listed below:
Requirement 1: The parent currently resides within Georgia and has been a Georgia resident for at least one calendar year. However, the one-year requirement shall not apply if the student's parent is an active duty military service member stationed in Georgia within the previous year.
Requirement 2: A student was enrolled and reported as attending a Georgia public school by a district(s) in the student count for October or March during the previous school year. However, the student may meet requirement two (2) if any of the criteria apply below.
- The student's parent is an active duty military service member stationed in Georgia within the previous year.
- The student has been adopted or placed in permanent guardianship from foster care according to an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction within the previous year.
- The student previously qualified for a scholarship as provided by state law.
Requirement 3: The student had a 504 plan in effect during the previous school year relating to one or more of these conditions:
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
Autism spectrum disorder
Drug or alcohol abuse
Dual sensory impairment
Emotional or behavioral disorder
Specific learning disability
Traumatic brain injury
Any rare disease identified by the National Institutes of Health's Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center lists rare disease disorders.
Option 2- Public School Choice
Eligible students may request a transfer to another public school within their district of residence (see additional School Choice information specific to Henry County Schools released in January each year), another public school district outside of Henry County, or one of the state schools for the deaf and/or blind operated by the State Board of Education.
You may visit the Georgia Department of Education website for additional information regarding the Special Needs Scholarship Program, including the Scholarship Calculator, a list of authorized private schools, and Section 504 Plan Qualification https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Policy/Pages/Special-Needs-Scholarship-Program.aspx.
The application window will be announced yearly in January and will reflect the School Choice Window from January 8 through January 30, 2024.
If you have further questions, you may contact the Director of Psychological Services, Wanda Williams, at (770) 957-3945.