At least 200 Mississippi parents are hoping their child will be the one selected in a special needs scholarship lottery next week. The program helps pay for private school and services. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Donna McCool of Flowood, is hand delivering her daughter's application for a special needs scholarship to the Mississippi Department of Education. She says her 10 year old is Dyslexic. McCool is one of about two hundred parents vying for 41 $6,500 scholarships. She says her daughter repeated a grade three times in public school. Now McCool says she's in a private school doing better. She says this is her third application.
"So it would mean a lot not only to me financially but my daughter as well because she didn't get diagnosed until she was eight. It's a little harder for her and they told us she would need some extra therapy," said McCool.
Nathan Oakley with the department of education explains the lottery process.
"Each of those applications that's eligible we have a number assigned to it and we'll use a random number generator to pick numbers from that list of 200. Once we get 41 numbers we go back and match those to the individual families or students that were assigned those numbers," said Oakely.
Grant Callen with Empower Mississippi says parents apply multiple times and they're frustrated because their child isn't selected. He says when the legislature started the program in 2015, there was supposed to be 500 scholarships with more added.
"Those scholarships would grow every year by 500. Unfortunately, the way they funded the program those new scholarships have not been available so they actually only created 428 and that number hasn't grown," said Callen.
Tuesday, December 11 is the deadline to apply for the special needs scholarships. The lottery is Thursday, December 13.