Legislature Creates Additional ESA Scholarships


March 29, 2019

Approximately 300 New Seats Added to the Program

Today, the state legislature acted on its 2015 promise to offer Education Scholarship Accounts (ESA) to more children with special needs. Funding for the program, which has received a $3 million appropriation for the past four school years, was increased to $5 million, which will create around 300 new scholarships. The conference report was adopted by both chambers and is headed to the Governor, who has pledged to sign it.

“This is a tremendous win for students with special needs who have been waiting – some for years – to receive an Education Scholarship Account,” said Empower Mississippi President Grant Callen. “It’s a testament to the power of moms across the state who raised their voices, who told their stories, who got engaged in the political process, and who made sure their elected leaders understood that they had been waitlisted. These ‘#Waitlisted Moms’ came to the Capitol, sat down with legislators, wrote op-eds, went on the radio, and worked tirelessly to ensure legislators understood the urgency of helping these students.  Today was a victory for educational freedom and parent choice that will have benefits for the entire state. We especially thank Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves for his leadership.”

#Waitlisted Moms around the state celebrate:

“I’m so thankful for those who see the value in our children with special needs.”
(Allyson Malone – Pontotoc, MS)

“Thank you to our legislators for passing this bill.  This is a huge sigh of relief, and it means that my son has a choice and we can send him to the best school for his needs.”
(Shannon Gaddis – Jackson, MS)

“Thank you so much to all in the legislature that fought hard for Zach and Peyton and for appropriately funding the ESA to get our family off the waitlist. A big thank you to Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Senator Chris Caughman for fighting for our family and my babies. What a relief to know that my kids can continue to be adequately educated.”
(Stacy Ware – Florence, MS)

“We very much appreciate what was done in the Capitol today.  A giant step forward was made for children with special needs in Mississippi.”
(Alice Dillon – Tylertown, MS)

“Thank you, legislators, for caring about our children with special needs.”
(Jamie Farnham – Ocean Springs, MS)