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Special Education Vouchers Could Be Coming to Mississippi

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Yesterday the state Senate and House of Representatives in Mississippi passed parallel bills that would create vouchers for special education students there.

One bill passed the Senate in a close 26-23 vote, and a parallel bill in the House passed with a wider margin of 61-45. The chambers will now exchange the bills for reconciliation, the Associated Press reported.

The bills would allow students with individualized education plans who are currently enrolled in public school or are enrolling in elementary or high school for the first time to receive up to $6,000 to use toward private tuition.

Critics of the measures say it is unfair for those students to receive a full per-pupil share of funding when the state is currently underfunding its public schools. They also question whether vouchers are legal under the state's constitution, which does not allow public money to flow to religious schools—something nearly every voucher program contends with through legal battles.

About 54,000 students in Mississippi have individualized education plans, but the program will likely only cover a small portion of those students.

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