A scholarship program designed to give students with disabilities access to private schools using public funds is riddled with unnecessary barriers, parents and educators say.

The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program established in 2007 is praised for giving families greater choice and yielding success for students. But a slow payment system is causing financial strain for participating private schools. What’s more, limited public awareness of the program coupled with a short enrollment period means some of the students who would benefit most from the innovative scholarship are not accessing it, advocates say.

State lawmakers recently tried to make improvements to the scholarship program, but weren’t able to get a bill passed.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Advocates say that Georgia leaders should take cues from a similar program in Florida, which served more than 20,000 students in 2008-09 compared to just over 2,000 in Georgia that same year. In Florida, families can enroll in the voucher program year-round and schools are paid quarterly, reports The Gainesville (Ga.) Times. To read more click here.