Florida McKay Scholarship Program
The State of Florida has special provisions that may provide funding for your child to attend a private school. Under the John M. McKay Program for Students with Disabilities, if your child is enrolled in a Florida public school, has an IEP, and you are dissatisfied with his current school, you may transfer him to another public school in the same district or an adjacent district, or you may apply for a state-funded voucher to use any participating private school. To be eligible, your child must also have completed a year of kindergarten. The McKay program will pay an amount up to the level of state-generated funding the student would have received if remaining in public school; this can be applied toward the total tuition amount charged by the school.
If you transfer your child to a private school under the McKay program, you may lose some of the other legal protections described in this chapter. Once your child enters the private school, he will no longer be entitled to an IEP and may lose the protections available under the ADA and Section 504.
A similar program, called Opportunity Scholarships, provides funding to enable school choice for students who would otherwise be enrolled in schools identified as failing under the No Child Left Behind Act. If your child does not yet have an IEP or if he is entering kindergarten for the first time, you would be eligible for this program rather than the McKay scholarship.