The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) is a scholarship available to select students, typically those who have attended public school for at least a year with an IEP or 504 in place. Students may utilize this scholarship at an authorized participating private school. Some people also refer to this scholarship as SB10 or SB47 (the laws that put the program into place for IEP students and 504 students, respectively).
If you transfer to FPS during the summer or before school starts, you simply need to let us know that you have the scholarship. If you transfer to FPS during the school year, you will need to follow the Ga DOE process for transferring your scholarship. Please be aware that mid-year transfer can cause you to be liable for lost funds with your prior school (if coming from a private school receiving the scholarship).
We provide a tuition/fee worksheet alongside an enrollment contract for all new and returning families. If your student receives the GSNS, this credit will be reflected on your worksheet. As indicated in your contract, you are responsible for any lost GSNS funds if you withdraw during the school year (as we budget teacher salaries, programs, etc. based on those funds).
Often, we have to use the prior school year award sheets for your next school year worksheet. This is because the DOE does not update the award sheets until the second half of July (sometimes just days before school starts). We are happy to redo your worksheet and contract once the new sheets come out upon your request. Otherwise, we handle any shortages or overages as the GSNS checks come out.
Please note that the award sheets show a Scholarship Amount, then a deduction for the Amended Legislative Formula, and then a Total Scholarship Amount. The Total Scholarship Amount is what we use in our tuition/fee worksheet. This program runs through the school year, but the Georgia Assembly makes budgets on a calendar year basis. Since funding could go down for the program (which would happen mid-school year), the DOE has set aside a portion of the scholarship to help offset any financial impact if the budget goes down. If the budget stays the same or goes up, you could see that additional amount in the last quarter's check (in May).
GSNS checks come to the school in four quarters: October, December, February, & May (generally mid-month). We email families as soon as the checks come in, and have you come into the front office to endorse the check over to FPS. Should a family fail to come endorse the check within 30 days, the check is voided by Ga DOE and the family is responsible for paying FPS the amount that the check was for. (Failure to sign will also cause the DOE to remove your student from the program.)
After we receive your endorsed check, we apply it towards your expected GSNS funds. If the check is lower than expected, we will communicate with you (but this has never happened in FPS history). If the check is higher than expected, the additional amount will be applied towards any past due tuition or fees, then future tuition/fee payments, then towards the next school year (such as the re-enrollment fee or withdrawal fee). When in doubt, we will communicate with you about how to apply any extra funds. Funds belong to the school, so we cannot issue you a check for any extra amounts. We also cannot apply any excess payments towards fees unallowed by the DOE (aftercare, athletic fees, etc.) If a student is not returning (either from graduation or withdrawal), any remaining funds belong to the school. However, we try to utilize any extra funds in your favor as possible.
Please see the Georgia DOE site for eligibility, time frames, and full program information here: https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Policy/Pages/Special-Needs-Scholarship-Program-Resources.aspx