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Special-needs scholarship deadline soon

COVINGTON - The deadline is approaching for parents of special- needs students to apply for school scholarships.

The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship is for eligible special-education students and allows parents to choose a private or public school for their child, either inside or outside their assigned school district.

The deadline for Newton County residents who are interested in applying for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship is July 20.

All forms and information about the scholarship are available on the Department of Education Web site at www.public.doe.k12.ga.us/sb10.aspx.

According to the GDOE Web site, eligible students must meet the following requirements:

· Parent/guardian has been a Georgia resident for at least one calendar year;

· Students spent the 2008-09 school year at a Georgia public school in kindergarten through 12th grades and were in attendance on both the October 2008 and March 2009 full-time equivalent student counts; and

· Students were served under an individualized education plan written by the public school in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations at any point during the 2008-09 school year.

To transfer a child to a another public school, a parent must fill out a transfer request form and send it to the school's district office. However, transferring a child to a public school not in their district means "parents must provide transportation to and from school," said Cathy Stubbs, Director of Special Education at Newton County.

In order to transfer a child to a private school, a parent must use the scholarship calculator to determine the child's potential scholarship award.

Along with the Parent Intent Form, the scholarship award should be sent to the private school of their choice. The child must be attending that school by Sept. 11 in order to receive the scholarship.

If a child participated in the GSNS 2008-09 school year, parents must refer to the 2009-10 re-enrollment instructions in the "For Parents" box on the Web site.

The GDOE also recommends that parents check this site periodically for due dates and the list of eligible schools, as information is constantly updated.