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Jindal signs bill to further educational opportunities for low income students

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News) — Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he signed HB 780 by Representative Kirk Talbot into law.

The bill expands eligibility for Scholarship for Educational Excellence program students to transfer to schools that accept scholarships from school tuition organizations or STOs, which are non-profit organizations that administer scholarships to low-income students to attend private schools. This gives students more options to attend a school that best meets their individual educational needs.

This bill also protects student privacy by reinforcing the requirement that student test scores must be reported without private, personal information. The bill is part of Governor Jindal’s 2014 legislative package. Specifically, the bill states that a “qualified student” now includes a student who attended public school or received a scholarship in the previous school year from an STO or the state Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

The bill also requires that the Department of Education (DOE) annually audit STOs toensure they are held accountable, and to publicly report state test scores of scholarship students without including the students’ names or other identifying information to protect student privacy.“Providing the opportunity for a great education is a fundamental way to improve the future of our children,” Governor Jindal said. “This bill will allow scholarship students to more easily attend the school that best meets their educational needs. I’am proud of our education system in Louisiana because we have fought to ensure that children, regardless of their income status, are able to receive the best educational opportunities we have to offer. We are grateful to Rep. Talbot for his efforts in this bill to clearly define the qualifications for students to benefit from scholarships from these STOs.”Representative Kirk Talbot said, “The passage of this bill will further expand educational opportunities for low-income parents and their children.”

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