Citations Affected: IC 12-7-2; IC 12-17.2-3.7; IC 20-51-1-4.5.
Synopsis: Early education scholarship pilot program. Establishes the
early education scholarship pilot program to provide supplemental
funding for eligible children receiving eligible services from certain
early education providers. Establishes the early learning advisory
committee. Provides that a child who receives an early education
scholarship and meets certain other criteria is eligible for purposes of
the school scholarship program.
Effective: Upon passage; July 1, 2013.
January 15, 2013, read first time and referred to Committee on Education.
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning
program of early education services that:
(1) meets the standards of quality recognized by a Level 3 or Level 4 Paths to QUALITY program rating; or
(2) is nationally accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the division.
Sec. 4. As used in this chapter, "Paths to QUALITY program" refers to a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for child care administered:
(1) statewide by the division; and
(2) under the trademark "Paths to QUALITY".
Sec. 5. As used in this chapter, "program" refers to the early education scholarship pilot program established by section 7 of this chapter.
Sec. 6. As used in this chapter, "scholarship" refers to an early education scholarship awarded under this chapter.
Sec. 7. (a) The early education scholarship pilot program is established to reduce the out-of-pocket fees that an eligible child or an eligible child's parent, guardian, or custodian would otherwise be required to pay to an eligible provider for the eligible child to receive eligible services after the application of the maximum amount of all other state and federal grants and distributions available for reimbursement for the eligible services.
(b) The division shall administer the program, which must begin on July 1, 2013, in not more than five (5) counties in Indiana, chosen by the division.
Sec. 8. (a) An eligible child may receive a scholarship through the program in accordance with this chapter.
(b) A scholarship that has been awarded for an eligible child may be terminated at any time that the eligible child fails to comply with the requirements for eligibility established by or under this chapter.
(c) A scholarship is not a grant to or contract with a provider but must be considered assistance to the eligible child and the parent, guardian, or custodian of the eligible child.
(d) The amount of a scholarship provided for an eligible child may not be treated as income or a resource for purposes of qualifying for any other federal or state grant or program administered by the state or a political subdivision.
(e) To qualify for a scholarship, a parent, guardian, or custodian must apply for the scholarship in the manner prescribed by the division.
Sec. 9. The maximum amount that may be awarded under this
chapter for all eligible services provided to an eligible child in a
state fiscal year is six thousand eight hundred dollars ($6,800).
Sec. 10. The total amount of all scholarships awarded for eligible services provided in a state fiscal year may not exceed the amount appropriated for scholarships for that state fiscal year (less any amount appropriated to administer the scholarship program).
Sec. 11. (a) Scholarships shall be awarded for eligible services at the rates, in the manner, and in the amounts determined by the division.
(b) The division shall distribute scholarship amounts on a periodic basis determined by the division.
(c) The amount distributed under subsection (b) must be based on the number and length of days of eligible services received by an eligible child during the period for which the amount is distributed.
(d) The division may distribute any part of a scholarship to the parent, guardian, or custodian of the eligible child. For a distribution described in this subsection to be valid, the distribution must be endorsed by both the parent, guardian, or custodian of the eligible child and the eligible provider that provides the eligible services.
Sec. 12. (a) To be eligible to receive scholarship payments, an eligible provider:
(1) may be required by the division to register with the division on a form prescribed by the division;
(2) may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin; and
(3) must otherwise comply with all applicable law and rules governing the provider.
(b) The division may suspend or terminate an eligible provider's participation in the program if the eligible provider fails to comply with subsection (a).
Sec. 13. (a) The division may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to implement this chapter.
(b) The division may adopt emergency rules in the manner provided under IC 4-22-2-37.1 to implement this chapter.
Sec. 14. (a) The early learning advisory committee is established to do the following:
(1) Create accountability measures for the program and perform longitudinal review of the results of the measures.
(2) Conduct periodic statewide needs assessments concerning the quality and availability of early education programs for children from birth to the age of school entry, including the
availability of high quality prekindergarten education for low
income children in Indiana.
(3) Identify opportunities for, and barriers to, collaboration and coordination among federally and state funded child development, child care, and early childhood education programs and services, including governmental agencies that administer the programs and services.
(4) Assess the capacity and effectiveness of two (2) and four (4) year public and private higher education institutions in Indiana for the support of development of early educators, including:
(A) professional development and career advancement plans; and
(B) practice or internships with Head Start or prekindergarten programs.
(5) Other duties as determined necessary by the chairperson of the committee.
(6) Not later than June 30 of each year, develop and make recommendations to the governor and, in an electronic format under IC 5-14-6, to the legislative council concerning the following:
(A) The results of the committee's work under subdivisions (1) through (5).
(B) The results of the program.
(b) The committee consists of five (5) members appointed by the governor as follows:
(1) A representative of the department of education.
(2) A representative of the division.
(3) A representative of a Head Start program under 42 U.S.C. 9831 et seq.
(4) A representative of a family advocacy group that has an interest in early childhood education.
(5) An early childhood education provider.
(c) The governor shall appoint the chairperson of the committee.
(d) The division shall staff the committee.
(e) The expenses of the committee shall be paid from the funds of the division.
(f) Each member of the committee who is not a state employee is entitled to the minimum salary per diem provided by IC 4-10-11-2.1(b). The member is also entitled to reimbursement for traveling expenses as provided under IC 4-13-1-4 and other expenses actually incurred in connection with the member's duties
as provided in the state policies and procedures established by the
Indiana department of administration and approved by the budget
(g) Each member of the committee who is a state employee but who is not a member of the general assembly is entitled to reimbursement for traveling expenses as provided under IC 4-13-1-4 and other expenses actually incurred in connection with the member's duties as provided in the state policies and procedures established by the Indiana department of administration and approved by the budget agency.
(h) Each member of the committee who is a member of the general assembly is entitled to receive the same per diem, mileage, and travel allowances paid to legislative members of interim study committees established by the legislative council. Per diem, mileage, and travel allowances paid under this section shall be paid from appropriations made to the legislative council or the legislative services agency.
(i) The affirmative votes of a majority of the voting members appointed to the committee are required for the committee to take action on any measure, including final reports.
Sec. 15. This chapter expires July 1, 2016.