§ 38–1853.07. Use of funds.
(a) Opportunity Scholarships. —
(1) In general. — Subject to paragraphs (2), (3), and (5), an eligible entity receiving a grant under § 38-1853.04(a) shall use the grant funds to provide eligible students with scholarships to pay the tuition, fees, and transportation expenses, if any, to enable the eligible students to attend the District of Columbia private elementary school or secondary school of their choice beginning in school year 2011-2012. Each such eligible entity shall ensure that the amount of any tuition or fees charged by a school participating in such entity’s program under this chapter to an eligible student participating in the program does not exceed the amount of tuition or fees that the school charges to students who do not participate in the program.
(2) Payments to parents. — An eligible entity receiving a grant under § 38-1853.04(a) shall make scholarship payments under the entity’s program under this chapter to the parent of the eligible student participating in the program, in a manner which ensures that such payments will be used for the payment of tuition, fees, and transportation expenses (if any), in accordance with this chapter.
(3) Amount of assistance. —
(A) Varying amounts permitted. — Subject to the other requirements of this section, an eligible entity receiving a grant under § 38-1853.04(a) may award scholarships in larger amounts to those eligible students with the greatest need.
(B) Annual limit on amount. —
(i) Limit for school year 2011-2012. — The amount of assistance provided to any eligible student by an eligible entity under the entity’s program under this chapter for school year 2011-2012 may not exceed—
(I) $ 8,000 for attendance in kindergarten through grade 8; and
(II) $ 12,000 for attendance in grades 9 through 12.
(ii) Cumulative inflation adjustment. — Beginning with school year 2012-2013, the Secretary shall adjust the maximum amounts of assistance described in clause (i) for inflation, as measured by the percentage increase, if any, from the preceding fiscal year in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.
(4) Participating school requirements. — None of the funds provided under this chapter for opportunity scholarships may be used by an eligible student to enroll in a participating private school unless the participating school—
(A) has and maintains a valid certificate of occupancy issued by the District of Columbia;
(B) makes readily available to all prospective students information on its school accreditation;
(C) in the case of a school that has been operating for 5 years or less, submits to the eligible entity administering the program proof of adequate financial resources reflecting the financial sustainability of the school and the school’s ability to be in operation through the school year;
(D) agrees to submit to site visits as determined to be necessary by the eligible entity pursuant to § 38-1853.05(b)(1)(I);
(E) has financial systems, controls, policies, and procedures to ensure that funds are used according to this chapter;
(F) ensures that, with respect to core subject matter, participating students are taught by a teacher who has a baccalaureate degree or equivalent degree, whether such degree was awarded in or outside of the United States;
(G) conducts criminal background checks on school employees who have direct and unsupervised interaction with students; and
(H) complies with all requests for data and information regarding the reporting requirements described in § 38-1853.10.
(5) ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS.—
(A) IN GENERAL.— None of the funds provided under this division for opportunity scholarships may be used by a participating eligible student to enroll in a participating private school unless the school—
(i) in the case of a school that is a participating school as of the date of enactment of the SOAR Reauthorization Act—
(I) is fully accredited by an accrediting body described in any of subparagraphs (A) through (G) of § 38-1802.02(16); or
(II) if such participating school does not meet the requirements of subclause (I) [sub-sub-subparagraph I]—
(aa) not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113), the school is pursuing full accreditation by an accrediting body described in subclause (I) [sub-sub-subparagraph I]; and
(bb) is fully accredited by such an accrediting body not later than 6 years after the date on which that school began the process of pursuing full accreditation in accordance with item (aa) [sub-sub-sub-subparagraph (aa)]; and
(ii) in the case of a school that is not a participating school as of the date of enactment of the SOAR Reauthorization Act, is fully accredited by an accrediting body described in clause (i)(I) [sub-subparagraph (i)(I) before becoming a participating school under this division.
(B) REPORTS TO ELIGIBLE ENTITY.— Not later than 5 years after May 5, 2017, each participating school shall submit to the eligible entity a certification that the school has been fully accredited in accordance with subparagraph (A).
(C) ASSISTING STUDENTS IN ENROLLING IN OTHER SCHOOLS.— If a participating school fails to meet the requirements of this paragraph, the eligible entity shall assist the parents of the participating eligible students who attend the school in identifying, applying to, and enrolling in another participating school under this division.
(6) TREATMENT OF STUDENTS AWARDED A SCHOLARSHIP IN A PREVIOUS YEAR.— An eligible entity shall treat a participating eligible student who was awarded an opportunity scholarship in any previous year and who has not used the scholarship as a renewal student and not as a new applicant, without regard as to—
(A) whether the eligible student has used the scholarship; and
(B) the year in which the scholarship was previously awarded.
(b) Administrative Expenses And Parental Assistance.— The Secretary shall make $2,000,000 of the amount made available under § 38-1853.14(a)(1) for each fiscal year available to eligible entities receiving a grant under § 38-1853.04(a) to cover the following expenses:
(1) The administrative expenses of carrying out its program under this division during the year, including—
(A) determining the eligibility of students to participate;
(B) selecting the eligible students to receive scholarships;
(C) determining the amount of the scholarships and issuing the scholarships to eligible students;
(D) compiling and maintaining financial and programmatic records;
(E) conducting site visits as described in § 38-1853.05(b)(1)(I); and
(F)(i) conducting a study, including a survey of participating parents, on any barriers for participating eligible students in gaining admission to, or attending, the participating school that is their first choice; and
(ii) not later than the end of the first full fiscal year after May 5, 2017, submitting a report to Congress that contains the results of such study.
(2) The expenses of educating parents about the eligible entity's program under this division, and assisting parents through the application process under this division, including—
(A) providing information about the program and the participating schools to parents of eligible students, including information on supplemental financial aid that may be available at participating schools;
(B) providing funds to assist parents of students in meeting expenses that might otherwise preclude the participation of eligible students in the program; and
(C) streamlining the application process for parents.
(c) Student academic assistance. — An eligible entity receiving a grant under § 38-1853.04(a) may use not more than 1 percent of the amount provided under the grant each year for expenses to provide tutoring services to participating eligible students that need additional academic assistance. If there are insufficient funds to provide tutoring services to all such students in a year, the eligible entity shall give priority in such year to students who previously attended an elementary school or secondary school identified as one of the lowest-performing schools under the District of Columbia's accountability system.
(d) Requiring use of funds remaining unobligated from previous fiscal years.—
(1) In general.— To the extent that any funds appropriated for the opportunity scholarship program under this division for any fiscal year remain available for subsequent fiscal years under § 38-1853.14(c), the Secretary shall make such funds available to eligible entities receiving grants under § 38-1853.04(a) for the uses described in paragraph (2)—
(A) in the case of any remaining funds that were appropriated before December 10, 2016, beginning on December 10, 2016; and
(B) in the case of any remaining funds appropriated on or after December 10, 2016, by the first day of the first subsequent fiscal year.
(2) Use of funds.— If an eligible entity to which the Secretary provided additional funds under paragraph (1) elects to use such funds during a fiscal year, the eligible entity shall use—
(A) not less than 95 percent of such additional funds to provide additional scholarships for eligible students under subsection (a), or to increase the amount of the scholarships, during such year; and
(B) not more than a total of 5 percent of such additional funds for administrative expenses, parental assistance, or tutoring, as described in subsections (b) and (c), during such year.
(3) Special rule.— Any amounts made available for administrative expenses, parental assistance, or tutoring under paragraph (2)(B) shall be in addition to any other amounts made available for such purposes in accordance with subsections (b) and (c).