IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 17, 2016
Mr. McCain introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To expand opportunity for Native American children through additional options in education, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Native American Education Opportunity Act.
The purpose of this Act is to provide an additional education option in certain States for Native American students served by schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Native American education opportunity program
Part B of title XI of the Education Amendments of 1978 (25 U.S.C. 2000 et seq.) is amended—
by redesignating section 1141 as section 1142; and
by inserting after section 1140 the following:
Bureau funding of State-based education savings account programs
From amounts made available to carry out sections 1127 and 1130, the Secretary shall, for the 2017–2018 school year and each subsequent school year, reimburse a State with an education savings account program for each grant that the State has made to an education savings account for an ESA eligible student for such school year, in accordance with subsection (b).
This section shall apply with respect to ESA eligible students who have submitted their application for an education savings account program to the State in which the student lives or in which the reservation of the student is located (as the case may be) on or after January 1, 2017.
Amount of reimbursements
The amount of the reimbursement made by the Secretary under this subsection for an ESA eligible student participating in an education savings account program for a school year shall be the lesser of—
the amount of the grant provided by the State for the education savings account of the ESA eligible student for the applicable school year; and
90 percent of the amount that the Secretary would provide to a Bureau-funded school on behalf of such student for the applicable school year under sections 1127 and 1130.
Notification to States if additional reimbursement is available
In any case where the reimbursement available for an ESA eligible student for a school year exceeds the amount of the grant provided by the State under the education savings account program, the Secretary shall notify the State of the higher amount of reimbursement that the student could have qualified for under paragraph (1)(B) for such school year.
Timing of reimbursements
A State that provides an education savings account program grant to an ESA eligible student and desires a reimbursement under this subsection shall submit a request for reimbursement and notify the Secretary that includes the amount of the grant.
Not later than 30 days after the Secretary receives a request for reimbursement under subparagraph (A) from a State, the Secretary will reimburse a State for the grant.
Return of overpayments
A State shall return to the Secretary any overpayment made to the State under this section by not later than 30 days after the final determination that the State was overpaid pursuant to this section.
Affect on allotments
For purposes of any calculation regarding the total number of eligible Indian students under section 1127, the Secretary shall include all ESA eligible students who participate in an education savings account program.
Availability of remainder
In any case where the reimbursement provided by the Secretary under subsection (b)(1) is less than the amount that would be provided for the student under subsection (b)(1)(B), the remaining amount shall remain available to the Secretary to be used in accordance with this part.
The Secretary shall work with Bureau-funded schools located in each State with an education savings account program to inform all parents of ESA eligible students about the education savings account program of the State and the students' opportunity to participate in the program.
Rule of construction
The reimbursement provided through an education savings account program on behalf of an ESA eligible student under this section shall be considered assistance to the student and shall not be considered assistance to a school that enrolls the eligible student or any other educational service provider from which the eligible student receives services. The amounts provided on behalf of an ESA eligible student under this section shall not be treated as income of the parents for purposes of Federal tax laws or for determining eligibility for any other Federal program.
In this section:
ESA eligible student
The term ESA eligible student means an individual who—
an elementary school or secondary school student who attended a Bureau-funded school in the semester preceding the date on which the student first applies for an education savings account program; or
a child who will be eligible to attend a Bureau-funded school for kindergarten or any other elementary school grade in the next semester that will start after the date on which the student first applies for an education savings account program;
lives on the reservation of a tribe;
will not be attending a Bureau-funded school, or other public elementary school or secondary school, for the school year for which the student is participating in an education savings account program of a State; and
meets any eligibility requirements of the State education savings account program in which the student will participate.
Period of eligibility
A student who meets the requirements of clause (i) of subparagraph (A) for a school year shall be deemed to meet the requirements of such clause until the date on which the student graduates high school or reaches the age of 21 years, whichever occurs first.
Education savings account program
The term education savings account program means an educational option offered in a State to families of elementary and secondary school students in which the State provides a grant to an account controlled by a parent from which the parent may purchase goods and services needed for the education of the student.
The term parent means a parent, guardian, custodian, or other person—
with the authority to act on behalf of an ESA eligible student; and
who is a resident of the State where the ESA eligible student resides.