M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program was
created by the Florida legislature in 2001. It is named for former
Senate President John McKay, a longtime proponent of school choice and
programs to help disabled children.
The program gives parents of students with disabilities, who are not
satisfied with their child’s progress in the assigned public school,
the option to enroll their child in a different public school or to
obtain a scholarship to a private school of choice. According to the
Students with disabilities include K-12 students who are documented as
having a mental handicap, including trainable, profound, or educable; a
speech or language impairment; a hearing impairment, including
deafness; a visual impairment, including blindness; a dual sensory
impairment; a physical impairment; a serious emotional disturbance,
including an emotional handicap; a specific learning disability,
including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental
aphasia; a traumatic brain injury; or autism.
The McKay Scholarships are tuition vouchers that can be used at any
participating eligible private school chosen by the family. FloridaChild regards
the McKay Scholarships as the best K-12 scholarships in the nation. We
worked for their passage and are working for the day when a similar
scholarship will be made available to all children.
The amount of the scholarship is the amount spent on the student in the
assigned public school, or the tuition at the private school, whichever
is less. Families or others may add to the scholarship if the cost of
the services at the private school is greater than the scholarship.
The scholarship remains in force until the student returns to a public
school or graduates from high school. The parents are free to remove
the student from one private school and place the student in another
that is eligible for the program.
To be eligible the student:
- 1. must
have a disability that is recognized in the statute.
- 2. must
have been counted as a full-time Florida public school student during
the previous school year
- 3. must
have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
second requirement (only) is waived for the children of members of the
United States Armed Forces who transfer to a Florida school from out of
state or from a foreign country pursuant to a parent’s permanent change
of station orders.
An IEP is a special plan for teaching the student. Normally parents
will know if the child has an IEP because they must have met with
school officials and formally agreed to the special teaching plan
before it was implemented.
Click on Learn More below for links to additional information
on McKay Scholarships.