News Article


Follow-up on the IEP Voucher

STEP, Inc. has an ongoing mission to provide timely and accurate information to families to build their knowledge and skill base. As part of this effort, STEP has been working with the Tennessee Department of Education to ensure that families have multiple opportunities to learn about changes that may affect their children with disabilities. 

The following information was provided by Assistant Commissioner of Special Populations, Joey Hassell, Tennessee Department of Education.

Individualized Education Act Highlights include:  

  • Adopted by General Assembly
  • Permits students identified with certain disabilities (see next bullet) to use state and local BEP (Basic Education Program) funds (approximately $6600) to acquire educational services such as enrollment in a private school, tutoring, curriculum materials, transportation; educational therapies, services provided under contract with a public  school; assessments; computer hardware or technology if used for the student's educational needs, etc.
  • Funds will be remitted to an Individualized Education Account (IEA) on a quarterly basis for use by the parent for eligible services.
  • No federal funds included as parent waives services and obligations under IDEA and student would not be enrolled in a public school.
  • LEA (Local Education Agency) would retain any additional local funds on top of BEP (averages $1200).
  • Identified disabilities are:
    1. Autism;
    2. Deaf-blindness;
    3. Hearing impairments;
    4. Intellectual disability;
    5. Orthopedic impairments;
    6. Traumatic brain injury; or
    7. Visual impairments.
  • Estimated 18,000 students eligible with estimated 5 percent of eligible students participating.
  • Student must have an IEP (Individualized Education Program) in effect at the time of the request to participate in the program.
  • Students must take either the TCAP tests or a nationally recognized norm-referenced test with results reported to the parent.
  • The IEP Vouchers will not start until the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Many of the details are to be established by the state board in consultation with the Department of Education and Department of Health including an application and approval process for schools and providers  

The process of developing rules and regulations has already begun.

Additional information regarding SB0027/HB0138 can be found at the following link:

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