- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - More special needs students could qualify for state vouchers to attend private schools under a bill advancing at the Mississippi Capitol.

The Senate voted 32-16 on Monday to pass House Bill 33 (https://bit.ly/21Q2MVu ). It would allow any student who has had an individualized education plan at a public school within the previous five years to apply for a voucher. Only students who have had IEPs in the last 18 months are currently eligible.

Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, an Oxford Republican, says the state Department of Education has approved 330 students for the current program. He says the change would give more opportunities to needy students.

Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory says the bill is a “one-size-fits-all” proposition.

The bill returns to the House for more debate.

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