An important issue came to light last week when a news release from the State Treasurer’s office came out to clarify who was eligible for the Hope Scholarship. State Treasurer Riley Moore, who serves as chairman of the Hope Scholarship Board, clarified that state law permits students to use Hope Scholarship funds for certain services provided by public charter schools but emphasized that students enrolled full-time in those schools are not eligible to participate in the Hope Scholarship program.
Under the Hope Scholarship Act and state law, public schools are allowed to charge Hope Scholarship students who are not enrolled full-time in their schools for certain classes or services these public schools might provide, and Hope Scholarship recipients are able to pay for these services using their awarded funds. This allows the public schools to be made whole, since they do not receive state funding for those students, explained the release.
However, while the release didn’t elaborate as to why this clarification was needed, it would appear that some recipients of the Hope Scholarship have tried or did apply for additional funds for these special services after taking advantage of the Hope Scholarship. Obviously, the intent was that homeschoolers and students of private schools who were not recipients of the Hope Scholarship could use Hope monies for these special services or classes.
My point is… the program is still very new and already it is being abused. Abused at the expense of our public-school students, I might add.
I applaud Treasurer Moore for clarifying the way this works. However, the principal proponents of this program when it was enacted by the legislature should have identified areas of abuse and implemented corrective measures then. I think this type of abuse should have been identified and stopped at that time, not two years into implementation. Now with millions of dollars being thrown at the concept, what else will happen?
When it comes to abuse… if there is a will, there will be a way… and frankly, there is always someone looking to abuse the system.