§18-31-8. Renewal of Hope Scholarship accounts; participation in public school system.
(a) A parent must renew an eligible recipient’s Hope Scholarship on an annual basis. Notwithstanding any changes in eligibility, a Hope Scholarship student who has previously qualified for a Hope Scholarship account remains eligible to apply for renewal until one of the conditions set forth in §18-31-6(f) occurs: Provided, That the board shall verify with the Department of Education the following information by July 1 of every year:
(1) A list of all active Hope Scholarship Accounts;
(2) The resident school district of each Hope Scholarship student;
(3) For a Hope Scholarship student who chooses to attend a participating school, annual confirmation of his or her continued attendance at a nonpublic school that complies with all requirements that other nonpublic school students must comply with; and
(4) For a Hope Scholarship student who chooses an individualized instructional program:
(A) (i) He or she has annually taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test of academic achievement;
(ii) The mean of the child’s test results in the subject areas of reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies for any single year is within or above the fourth stanine or, if below the fourth stanine, show improvement from the previous year’s results; and
(iii) The child’s test results are reported to the county superintendent; or
(B) (i) A certified teacher conducts a review of the student’s academic work annually;
(ii) The certified teacher determines that the student is making academic progress commensurate with his or her age and ability; and
(iii) The certified teacher’s determination is reported to the county superintendent.
(b) Each county superintendent shall submit the test results and determinations reported to him or her pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to the Department of Education each year on or before June 15.
(c) If a parent fails to renew an eligible recipient’s Hope Scholarship, the board shall notify the parent that the eligible recipient’s account will be closed in 45 calendar days. If a parent chooses not to renew or does not respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of notice, the board shall close the account and any remaining moneys shall be returned to the state.
(d) If an eligible recipient decides to return to the Hope Scholarship Program after failing to renew, they must reapply.
(e) The board, in consultation with the Department of Education, may adopt rules and policies to provide the least disruptive process for Hope Scholarship students who desire to stop receiving Hope Scholarship payments and return full-time to a public school.
(f) The board, in consultation with the Department of Education, may adopt rules and policies for Hope Scholarship students who want to continue to receive services provided by a public school or district, including individual classes and extracurricular programs, in combination with an individualized instructional program. The board, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall ensure that any public school or school district providing such services receives the appropriate pro rata share of a student’s Hope Scholarship funds based on the percentage of total instruction provided to the student by the public school or school district. County boards shall charge tuition to Hope Scholarship students who enroll for services in a public school within the county. Hope Scholarship students who enroll for services part-time in public school shall not be included in net enrollment for state aid funding purposes under §18-9A-2 of this code. Nothing in this subsection prohibits a Hope Scholarship student from using the funds deposited in his or her account on both services provided by a public school or district and other qualifying expenses as provided for in §18-31-7 of this code.