Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program
Any Oklahoma student with special needs currently in public school is eligible to receive a voucher to attend private school. The voucher is worth the state and local dollars spent on the child in his or her public school or the chosen private school's tuition and fees, whichever is less. The child's resident school district can keep up to 5 percent of the funds for administrative purposes. Any student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in effect and who either spent the prior year attending an Oklahoma public school or is the child of an active-duty member of the armed forces who has been stationed in Oklahoma is eligible. After receiving a voucher, the child will continue to qualify each year through high school graduation or until such time as the child would return to a public school. Students who were previously provided services under an Individual Family Service Plan through the SonnerStart program and during transition were evaluated and determined to be eligible for school district services no longer need to have spent the prior school year in attendance at a public school to be eligible. This program launched in 2010.
Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships
Oklahoma provides tax credits for donations to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. The allowable tax credit is 50 percent of the amount of contributions made during a taxable year, up to $1,000 for single individuals, $2,000 for married couples, and $100,000 for corporations, now including S-Corporations. The program is capped at $5 million, of which $3.5 million is dedicated to private school scholarships with a separate $1.5 million in tax credits available for donations made to organizations that distribute "educational improvement grants" to public schools. Each donor category (individual and corporate) may use up to $1.75 million of the $3.5 million cap. If donations exceed the statewide cap in a given year, the Oklahoma Tax Commission will allocate the tax credits to individuals (or corporations) on a pro-rata basis. If individual donations fail to meet the $1.75 million cap while corporate donations exceed the cap, the unused individual credits can be allocated to corporations (and to a separate tax credit for public school improvement grants), and vice versa. Any taxpayer who makes a written commitment to contribute the same amount to an SGO for two consecutive years shall have their credit worth 75 percent of their total contribution, as opposed to 50 percent for a single year. For students without an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), scholarships may be worth up to $5,000, or 80 percent of the average per-pupil expenditure in the assigned public school district, whichever is greater. For students with special needs who attended a public school with an IEP, the scholarship is worth up to $25,000. Students are eligible if they either live in families with incomes up to 300 percent of the free and reduced price lunch program ($132,369 for a family of four in 2014-15) or attend or live in the attendance zone of a public school designated as "in need of improvement." Once a student has received a scholarship, that student and his or her siblings remain eligible until high school graduation or age 21. This program launched in 2013.