The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) has over 50 participating private schools in all wards of the District. We have provided frequently asked questions from school officials interested in joining the OSP.
Join the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program!
If you are a private school in the District interested in joining the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, email us your contact information, along with your school name. Take a look at our OSP Participating School List for school year 2012-13, if you are interested in the schools already participating in our program!
Any private school that operates lawfully in the District of Columbia and that elects to participate in the OSP will be able to enroll scholarship students.
They will be required to:
Meet the civil rights requirements applicable to the initiative
Provide parents of scholarship students with a report, at least once a year, describing the academic progress of the student (and the aggregate performance of other students in the school) and on the safety of the school; and
No, the statute specifies that scholarships are considered assistance to the student and not as assistance to the participating school.
The statute authorizing the program includes the following civil rights-related provisions:
In general, private schools cannot discriminate against participants who receive or apply for scholarships on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.
Religiously affiliated schools participating in the program may exercise their rights in employment matters in a manner that is consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including the exemptions in that law. Those schools will not be required to change their teaching mission or governance structure, remove religious art, icons, scriptures, or other symbols, or remove religious references from their names. A participating school may select its board on a religious basis, and may include religious references in its mission statement and governing documents. In addition, those schools will not have to abide by the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex to the extent that doing so would be incompatible with the religious tenets or beliefs of the school.
A student may use a scholarship to attend a single-sex D.C. private school, or to participate in single-sex classes and activities at participating schools.
The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation must select students who are eligible to participate through a lottery that does not discriminate on the basis of disability and will help place those students in schools that best meet their needs. The issue of whether a student with a disability must be given an equal opportunity to attend a particular, participating private school is more complicated. No Federal law forbids a participating religious school from discriminating against students with disabilities in admissions, assuming the school does not receive Federal financial assistance under other programs. With respect to non-religious participating schools, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would forbid discrimination against a student with disabilities, and would require that the school provide the student auxiliary aids and services, provided that serving the student would not require fundamental alterations to the nature of the school's program or result in an undue burden. That Act would also require removal of physical barriers to access if readily achievable. These ADA requirements would apply to non-religious private schools, whether or not they participate in this program.
Yes, the authorizing legislation expressly allows participating private schools to require scholarship students to abide by the same rules of conduct and other requirements applicable to all other students who attend the school.
The authorizing act does not assign specific responsibility for transportation of students. However, the law does allow students to receive scholarships that cover the cost of transportation, as well as tuition and fees, subject to the $12,205 for high school and $8,136 for elementary and middle school students. Our expectation is that the subsidization of students' transportation costs in this manner will allow scholarship recipients to travel to school using the same methods of transportation (school buses, public transit, private cars) used by other children attending the schools.