The Mississippi Department of Education plans to dole out 90 unused Education Scholarship Accounts next week for public school parents to enroll their children in private school or other services.

The state will host a lottery on Feb. 8 to redistribute unused accounts for the current school year.

Known informally as ESA accounts, they have been available to families since 2015 to provide up to $6,500 in state funds per year for parents of public school students with special needs. The funds are used for private school tuition or other expenses such as tutoring, transportation to and from school, and curriculum, among others.

The department awarded 435 ESA accounts for the 2017-18 school year, but 90 have gone unused, according to a release.

The Mississippi Legislature is currently mulling over a bill that would expand ESA accounts, but some question whether existing accounts are being used appropriately.

Eligible students must be a resident of Mississippi and have an Individualized Education Program no more than five years old. Parents must submit an application by Feb. 6.


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Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.