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Introduced Version House Bill 2584 History

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hb2584 intr
H. B.2584


(By Delegates Spencer and Michael)
[Introduced
February 21, 2005 ; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]




A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18B-5-10, relating to the reimbursement to institutions of higher education of qualifying noncapital expenditures incurred in the provision of services to students with physical, learning, or severe sensory disabilities; requiring that any funds allocated under this section be disbursed according to a formula to be developed by the higher education policy commission; providing the parameters which shall be used in the development of the aforementioned reimbursement formula; and requiring that the disbursement of any funds allocated under this section be on a pro rata basis to be determined by the ratio of the qualifying audited expenses submitted for consideration for reimbursement to the total amount authorized and appropriated for reimbursement purposes consistent with this section.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18B-5-10, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. HIGHER EDUCATION BUDGETS AND EXPENDITURES.
§18B-5-10. Higher education assistance reimbursement program.

(a) The Legislature finds that an increasing percentage of students entering higher education reported impairments of hearing, speech, orthopedic, learning, health-related, partially-sighted or blind, or other type of disabling condition. The Legislature further finds that these students view a college education as being important to obtaining a good job, earning a higher income and preparing for graduate or professional school. Further, the Legislature finds that most students with an identified disability come from families with slightly lower than median incomes, have earned average to below-average grades in high school, and are at risk of failing in their attempts to achieve their goals without proper student support services. Finally, the Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to encourage students with identified disabilities to pursue postsecondary educational opportunities at in-state institutions of higher education and that reimbursing those institutions of higher education within the limit of funds available, if any, for noncapital expenditures made by them to provide services to support the education of students with a disability is an acceptable means of supporting programs that enhance each student's chance to succeed in obtaining a college education and increasing the likelihood that each student will embark upon a productive life.
(b) There is established the higher education assistance reimbursement program, hereafter referred to as the "HEAR" program. The program established and authorized by this section is administered by the senior administrator. Moneys appropriated or otherwise available shall be allocated by line item to an appropriate account. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the close of a fiscal year shall be carried forward for use in the next fiscal year.
(c) To achieve the goals and objectives of the "HEAR" program, the commission shall develop a disability services resource allocation model for the allocation of any general revenue funds appropriated specifically for the purposes set forth in this section for the State system of higher education. In developing the disability services resource allocation model, the commission shall consider such factors as enrollment information regarding students with identified disabilities, audited disability services expenditure information, the extent to which services are currently provided with other funding sources such as grants and fees for services, and any other data that furthers an equitable pro rata distribution of disability services reimbursement funds for higher education. The commission shall develop the model prior to the first day of July, two thousand three, and may modify the model thereafter: Provided, That these modifications are subject to the provisions of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(d) The commission shall propose a legislative rule pursuant to article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a to implement the provisions of this section which shall be filed with the legislative oversight commission on education accountability by the first day of July, two thousand three. The Legislature hereby declares that an emergency situation exists and, therefore, the commission may establish by emergency rule, under the procedures of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, legislative rules to implement the provisions of this section, after approval by the legislative oversight commission on education accountability.
(1) The legislative rule shall provide that only those expenditures which meet the following criteria are eligible for reimbursement under this section:
(A) Noncapital expenditures made for providing support services to students with identified disabilities including, but not limited to: Books on tape, bus drivers, interpreters, peer and professional tutors, academic advising services, counseling services, personal assistant services, note-takers and workshops;
(B) Only those noncapital expenditures which are capable of being audited shall be eligible for reimbursement under the allocation model. Further, noncapital expenditures covered by other secured funding including, but not limited to, grants and fees for services are not eligible for reimbursement under the "HEAR" program.
(2) The legislative rule shall provide that institutions of higher education submit their noncapital costs to the commission not later than thirty days following the conclusion of the spring academic semester to be eligible for reimbursement under the model. Institutions shall submit their costs in a format to be specified by the rule.
(3) The legislative rule shall provide for a pro rata distribution of allocated funds, if any, to be determined by applying the percentage derived from a calculation of the ratio of each institution's total qualifying audited expenses to the total of all institutions' qualifying audited expenses to the total amount which may be appropriated for reimbursement purposes consistent with this section.
(4) The legislative rule shall provide for an appropriate process for distribution of funds directly to the eligible institutions of higher education on the first day of the immediately succeeding fiscal year in which funds have been appropriated to the "HEAR" program. The rule shall further provide that any funds not so distributed to eligible institutions of higher education shall be carried forward for use in the next fiscal year.
(e) The senior administrator shall report annually, by the first day of December, on the status of the "HEAR" program to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide for reimbursement to institutions of higher education of qualifying noncapital expenditures incurred in the provision of services to students with physical, learning, or severe sensory disabilities and that any funds allocated under this section be disbursed according to a formula to be developed by the higher education policy commission.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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