Utah provides very few education options for parents of special needs children.

Our proposal will change that.


School choice is not about public versus private; it's about choice. It's about knowing what works well for your special needs child and being able to make that choice for them.

Programs like the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship barely serve 1,000 students a year, though upwards of 75,000 public education students are classified as special needs. To add insult to injury, the Carson Smith Scholarship relies on limited line item appropriations and is funded using a dead end revenue source, the general fund.

Utah needs to consider more of these kinds of programs that allow parents to choose the best educational setting for their child now, rather than waiting for struggling schools to improve.

This can be done with a new program that provides parents greater flexibility for their child's unique learning needs while not having a negative impact on public schools.

What's a Tax Credit Scholarship?

Tax credit scholarships are funded by corporate and individual taxpayers who divert a portion of their income taxes to non-profit organizations who then in turn provide scholarships to students in need. This new scholarship would cap how much each taxpayer could give and would cap the overall program at $12 million. Built into the program is a growth mechanism that allows the overall cap to continue to grow each year there is sufficient demand for the scholarship program.

Would this program just be for private school tuition?

No, this new scholarship program would operate as an Education Savings Account. You, the parent, would be able to spend the money on the educational products or services that would best benefit your child.

Learn more about Education Savings Accounts here.

The Legislation

Want to read the nitty gritty? No problem. We've got legislatiion drafted and ready to go—check it out here.

Who Qualifies?

All conditions that currently allow a student to qualify for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) are included. This new program could provide opportunities for about 2,000 students in the first year.