What Is The Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program?

  • The Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program was established to meet the critical demand for Special Education Teachers.  The program is designed to provide a forgivable loan to selected employees of District who agree to become certified and/or licensed to teach special education in hard to fill special education teaching positions.  The program focuses on special education teachers who do not hold the appropriate endorsement issued by the Kansas State Department of Education to teach in the position they are employed in.

WHY WERE CHANGES RECENTLY MADE TO THE PROGRAM?

  • Changes to the program were made in July of 2019.  Funding for the Wichita Public Schools Forgivable Loan Program is approved yearly by the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education.  To ensure the program sustainability and availability to be a continued resource for Special Education Teachers, changes to the program were necessary.  These changes will allow more Special Education Teachers to benefit from the program, will provide a more equitable use of the resources available, and will allow the District to have a better ability to properly budget for future program recipients. 

Which Special Education Endorsements Are Eligible?

  • Special Education Teachers employed in positions that require the following types of endorsements are elgible to apply and be considered for the program:

    1. Deafness or Heard of Hearing

    2. Early Childhood Unified - Teaching in a Low Incidence (Mixed Abilities or Academic Life Skills) Classroom

    3. Gifted

    4. High Incidence (Adaptive)

    5. Low Incidence (Functional)

    6. Visual Impairment 

    7. Special Education Pilot Program that allows Para Educators to become High Incidence (Adaptive) Special Education Teachers with a Limited Apprentice License.  Approved programs currently in Kansas are at Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University, and Wichita State University.

What Are The Steps Involved In The Program?

  • 1. Be offered and accept a Teaching position in Special Education in the Wichita Public Schools.  

    2. Apply to and obtain admittance to a College or University declaring a major in the area leading to the endorsement required for the position for which the Teacher is employed in.

    • Remember - Recipients of the Forgivable Loan Agreement who are seeking the Special Education Endorsements of Low Incidence (Functional) or High Incidence (Adaptive) will be required to obtain these Special Education Endorsements through Wichita State University in the cohort program taught by Wichita Public School employees by taking courses in person on Tuesday evenings at the Alvin E. Morris Administrative Center (AMAC).
    • Additional details about this program will be provided to those individuals seeking these Special Education Endorsements.
    • There might be some rare exceptions to this and that is why Teachers will meet with a Representative of the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Committee to visit about the details of the program.

    3. Review the “Wichita Public Schools/Unified School District No. 259 Special Education Certification Forgivable Loan Agreement”.

    4. Do not complete anything on the Forgivable Loan Agreement documents yet.  The agreement will need to be completed with you during a meeting with a member of the Special Education Forgivable Loan Committee.

    5. Contact Schehera Oakman to schedule a time to review/complete the Forgivable Loan Agreement and your unique situation. 

    6. In the meeting with a member of the Special Education Forgivable Loan Committee, be prepared to share specific information about yourself such as where you will be Teaching, in which position you will be Teaching, which endorsement you are seeking, if you have a special education endorsement already, and if you are currently taking or have previously taken any special education courses. 

    7. Obtain plan of study from your College or University Advisor.  Submit the plan of study to the Wichita Public Schools Human Resources Licensure Department and to Schehera Oakman.  

     

Approved Preparation Programs & Institutions

  • The Kansas State Department of Education maintains a list of approved educuator preparation programs at colleges and universities.  Additional information can be located at:

    https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Teacher-Licensure-and-Accreditation/Postsecondary/Educator-Preparation/Approved-Educator-Preparation-Programs

    • Remember - Recipients of the Forgivable Loan Agreement who are seeking the Special Education Endorsements of Low Incidence (Functional) or High Incidence (Adaptive) will be required to obtain these Special Education Endorsements through Wichita State University in the cohort program taught by Wichita Public School employees by taking courses in person on Tuesday evenings at the Alvin E. Morris Administrative Center (AMAC).
    • Additional details about this program will be provided to those individuals seeking these Special Education Endorsements.
    • There might be some rare exceptions to this and that is why Teachers will meet with a Representative of the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Committee to visit about the details of the program.

PLAN OF STUDY

  • A plan of study is a written document typically provided by a College or University Advisor.  The plan of study should specifically list required courses and when they should be taken.  Completion of the courses on a plan of study should culminate with the Teacher completing all of the required courses to earn the special education endorsement.  It is the responsibility of the Teacher (Employee) to obtain a plan of study and provide that information to various people.  A plan of study should be submitted to the Wichita Public Schools Human Resources Department and the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Committee.  The plan of study is often needed when a Teacher is requesting a Teaching Waiver from the Kansas State Department of Education.  

     

     

DOES THE PROGRAM PAY FOR OTHER COURSES NOT REQUIRED FOR THE ENDORSEMENT?

Teaching Waiver

  • A Teaching Waiver issued to a Teacher by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) allows an individual to teach in a subject or at a grade level not authorized by the teacher's Kansas teaching certificate/license. The intent of a licensure waiver is to allow a school district to utilize the expertise of teaching staff to meet the educational needs of students. Waivers may be granted for one academic year and are subject to approval by the State Board of Education. If an individual has a deficiency plan to achieve licensure in the field in which the waiver is requested and is making the required progress on that plan, one-year renewals of the waiver may be requested by the school district for two succeeding school years. A Teaching Waiver is a completely separate process from the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program. 

     

    Obtaining a Teaching Waiver from KSDE is a separate process and is not contingent on becoming a recipient of the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program.  

     

    Obtaining a Teacher Waiver from KSDE does not mean an individual has been approved for the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program.

     

    Additional information about Teaching Waivers can be obtained at https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Teacher-Licensure-and-Accreditation/Licensure/Accreditation-Waiver-Requests

LOAN REPAYMENT OR FORGIVENESS

  • The Wichita Public Schools Special Education Certification Forgivable Loan Agreement contains specific information about loan repayment or forgiveness.  See that document for specific information and details about the loan repayment or forgiveness process.  

     

    The information below is not a substitute for the information contained in the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Certification Forgivable Loan Agreement, but some highlights of the terms of repayment and forgiveness:

     

    • Upon obtaining full special education certification or licensure, to continue to be employed by the District as a full-time special education teacher for the greater of three (3) years, or one semester for each semester the District makes a loan for tuition, fees and texts under this Program (Section 3, g).
    • Teacher is obligated to repay to the District the total amount loaned by the District for tuition, fees and texts under the Program. The loan repayment shall be immediately due upon Teacher’s failure to comply with any of the requirements set forth in Section 3 above. The terms of the repayment of the loan amount, plus interest, shall be set forth in a Promissory Note.  Teacher agrees to sign a Promissory Note(s) for each semester that the District makes a payment under this Program, evidencing the loan made by the District to Teacher for tuition, fees and texts under this Agreement (Section 4, a).
    • If Teacher fails to promptly repay the loan amount pursuant to the terms of the Promissory Note(s), Teacher authorizes the District to recover the repayment obligation under the Promissory Note(s) through payroll deductions of up to Five Hundred and no/100 Dollars ($500.00) per pay period from wages the District would otherwise pay to Teacher, until the amount owed is paid in full (Section 4, b).
    • If Teacher leaves employment with the District for any reason before the amount owed under the Promissory Note(s) has been fully repaid, then the balance remaining due under the Promissory Note(s) will be immediately due unless Teacher and the District agree to a payment plan. Teacher authorizes the District to deduct the balance remaining due from his/her final paycheck. The payroll deduction from Teacher’s final paycheck is not subject to the maximum limit described in subsection (b) above (Section 4, c).
    • The entire repayment obligation under this Agreement, with the terms as set forth in the Promissory Note(s) executed by Teacher under this Program, will be forgiven if all of the requirements in Section 3 are timely completed. The forgiveness of the repayment obligation will be effective as of the date of completion of all requirements under Section 3.  There will be no partial forgiveness of the repayment obligation upon the completion of less than all of the requirements under Section 3 (Section 4, d).
    • Section 5.  Income Taxation.  Teacher acknowledges and understands that the payments made under this Program by the District shall be treated as loan proceeds and Teacher will be required to repay such amounts immediately upon Teacher’s failure to comply with any requirement set forth under Section 3 above.  Teacher also acknowledges and understands that any forgiveness of the loan due to timely completion of all the requirements of Section 3 shall be treated as taxable compensation to Teacher in the calendar year such forgiveness occurs, and the District will include the amount of debt forgiveness on Teacher’s Form W-2 (Section 5). 

     

    The interest rate referenced in Section 4 (a) of the loan agreement is the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR).

    The AFR is the minimum interest rate that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows for private loans. Each month the IRS publishes a set of interest rates that the agency considers the minimum market rate for loans. Any interest rate that is less the AFR would have tax implications. The IRS publishes these rates in accordance with Section 1274(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    Each month, the IRS provides various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes. These rates, known as AFRs, are regularly published as revenue rulings.  See additional information at: https://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/federalRates.html

     

     

Does The Program Pay for Admittance Fees To Colleges or Universities?

  • No.  The Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program does not pay for any fees associated with admittance to a College or University.  This includes transcripts, parking fees, and any other fees not stated in the loan agreement.  As stated in the loan agreement, tuition, fees, and required texts are the only items eligible for reimbursement.  

Does The Program Pay for ETS Praxis Content Knowledge Assessments?

  • No.  The Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program does not pay for any application fees, fingerprint fees, assessment fees, transcript fees, or any other fees associated obtaining a Teaching License or the adding an endorsement.   

     

    The Kansas State Department of Education, Teacher Licensure and Accreditation Team is responsible for issuing educator licenses and establishing the requirements to obtain a teaching license or endorsement.  Visit the site at:

    https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Teacher-Licensure-and-Accreditation

     

    The required assessments to add endorsements to a teaching license are administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS).  They are part of the ETS Praxis II Series of assessments.  For registration information, testing sites, and study guides go to: http://www.ets.org/praxis

     

    To qualify for a Kansas initial teaching license, you must complete a content knowledge assessment in each of the endorsement or teaching subjects areas for which you completed a teacher preparation program.  You will also need to complete a pedagogy or teaching skills test, the Principles of Learning and Teaching.  Each situation is unique and for specific requirements contact the Kansas State Department of Education. 

     

    Lookup a Teaching License at the Kansas State Department of Education Educator License Lookup:

    https://appspublic.ksde.org/TLL/SearchLicense.aspx/SearchLicense.aspx

     

DOES THE PROGRAM PAY FOR ANY FEES TO THE KANSAS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION?

SPECIAL EDUCATION FORGIVABLE LOAN CONTACT INFORMATION

  • Schehera Oakman

    Administrative Assistant

    Alvin E. Morris Administrative Center (AMAC)

    903 S. Edgemoor

    Wichita, KS  67218

    316-973-4425

    soakman@usd259.net

     

OTHER SOURCES OF FUNDING

  • Check with the Office of Financial Aid at the College or University you are attending to inquire if there is funding available to pay for courses not covered by the Wichita Public Schools Special Education Forgivable Loan Program:

    1. Loans

    2. Grants

    3. The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/teach