Georgia Special Needs School Choice/Scholarship Options (SB10)
Under a state law passed by the Georgia Legislature in 2007, parents of students who receive special education services may request to transfer their child to another public or private school in Georgia, provided that their child has an individualized education program (IEP) and has been enrolled for a full academic year in a Georgia public school. Please see the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) website (www.gadoe.org) for complete student eligibility criteria. Three options are described below.
Public School Choice/Intra-School Transfer Option
A parent can request for their child to transfer to another public school within their school district as long as there is available space at that school and the school has a program with the services required by the student’s existing IEP, with space to serve the student. During the transfer window each summer, the district posts a list of schools that are eligible to accept transfers. If the request is granted, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation. To be considered, parents must submit the required application during the window of time defined each summer.
Private School Choice Option
Parents who are interested in transferring their child to a private school in Georgia may be able to take advantage of a Georgia Special Needs Scholarship. These scholarships provide funding that can be used to offset tuition costs at participating private schools in the state of Georgia. The scholarship calculator is generally available on the Georgia DOE website around mid-May for the following academic year. All information regarding this option is available on the Georgia DOE website.
Inter-District Transfer (Outside of School System) Option
Parents may request a transfer to a school in another school district if there is available space and if the system/school has the program with the services required by the student’s existing IEP. However, the school district must agree to accept the student. If accepted, the parent shall be responsible for transportation. Parents interested in this option must contact the school system of choice directly.
Note: At this time, Fayette County does not accept students from outside of the school system.
A parent may also request a transfer to one of the state schools for the deaf and/or blind operated by the State Board of Education. Acceptance into a state school will depend on whether the setting is appropriate for the student’s needs. If accepted, the parent shall be responsible for providing transportation. A parent interested in this option should contact the Georgia DOE.