TITLE 17. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL SCHOOL LAW
PART I. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
SUBPART A. STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
17:7.4 Continuing education program for paraprofessionals; tuition exemptions; rules and regulations; eligibility; reporting; repayment for noncompletion of courses
A. The Department of Education, with the approval of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall establish a program to assist teacher's aides and other paraprofessionals who work in state approved elementary and secondary schools to meet the qualifications for certification as a teacher. Such program shall include provisions under which the paraprofessional may apply to be exempt from tuition for required teacher training courses at a public college or university in the state or at a nonpublic institution listed in R.S. 17:7.3(A)(1). Such exemption shall be applicable to no more than one course per applicant per semester or quarter in the fall and spring and to no more than two courses in a summer session. However, upon approval by the local school superintendent, such exemption shall be applicable to two additional courses per applicant per semester or quarter in the fall and spring and to two additional courses in a summer session. In no case may state funds be used toward tuition for courses in theology or divinity.
B. The amount of tuition paid shall be limited to the registration fee and building use fee per semester hour, provided that the amount paid by the state to any nonpublic school for tuition shall not exceed the highest tuition charged for that course by a public college or university in the state.
C. In addition to the tuition exemption as provided in this Section, each participant in the program shall receive a stipend, at the beginning of the semester or quarter in which such participant performs his or her student teaching as required in R.S. 17:7.1 in an amount equal to the amount of the salary which would otherwise have been paid by the employing school system to the participant if such person was not participating in the program as provided in this Section.
D. Funds for the purpose of reimbursing colleges and universities under this program shall come from monies specifically appropriated or otherwise made available for this purpose. The board shall promulgate rules and regulations to award tuition exemptions on a priority basis in those circumstances where the amount of funds available is not sufficient to provide reimbursement for participation of all eligible applicants.
E. Each paraprofessional seeking to participate in the program shall apply to the Department of Education. An "eligible paraprofessional" shall be defined as a person who is not certified as a classroom teacher but who is assigned to one or more specific teachers or schools on a full-time basis to assist with classroom instruction and with other duties related to the instruction of students. To be eligible to participate in the program an applicant shall meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
(1) Has been admitted to an approved college of education at a public college or university in the state or at a nonpublic institution listed in R.S. 17:7.3(A)(1).
(2) Has taken the general knowledge and communication sections of the appropriate teacher examination as provided in R.S. 17:7(6) and achieved the score established as provided by R.S. 17:7.1(A)(7) for entry into a teacher education program.
(3) Agrees to practice his or her profession in the public elementary or secondary schools of the state for at least two consecutive years after completion of all required courses for certification and upon becoming certified as a teacher.
F. Any paraprofessional participating in the program as provided in this Section who completes all required courses for certification but who fails to become certified within one year after completing such course work, is found to be ineligible, drops a course after the deadline for obtaining a full or partial tuition refund from the college or university, fails to complete a course successfully, or who does not practice his or her profession for at least two consecutive years as required in Subsection E of this Section, except for reasons of illness or death, shall be responsible for the repayment of any monies allocated and paid in his behalf pursuant to the program as provided in this Section.
G. The Department of Education shall annually submit a report to the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education relative to any program established for paraprofessionals under this Section. Such report shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) The number of persons applying for such education.
(2) The number of persons accepted in the program.
(3) The educational background and the work experience of such persons.
(4) The number of participants receiving a teaching certificate.
H. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall adopt rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this Section in accordance with R.S. 49:950 et seq.
I. (1) The total administrative costs of this program, including mileage and other travel expenses, shall not exceed an annual cost of two thousand dollars.
(2) The cost of the program as provided in this Section shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars for the first year of implementation of the program.
Added by Acts 1987, No. 361, § 1. Amended by Acts 1989, No. 640. § 1, eff. July 7, 1989; Acts 1999, No. 580, § 1.