- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Education says 166 families will receive an annual subsidy of $6,500 that can be used to pay for private school tuition, tutoring or other educational services outside the public schools.

The Legislature appropriated $3 million for the program. That will cover 434 students.

The Education Department says in a news release that 12 applications are being reviewed. Officials say 83 were rejected primarily because the special-needs children did not have an Individualized Education Plan.

Under the new state law, a student must have had an IEP within the last 18 months to qualify for the program.

Supporters say the vouchers will help children whose needs are not being met by public schools. Opponents say vouchers would help too few of Mississippi’s nearly 66,500 special-needs students.

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