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2015 Florida Statutes

F.S. 1002.71
1002.71 Funding; financial and attendance reporting.
(1) Funds appropriated for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program may be used only for the program in accordance with this part. If the student enrollment in the program for a fiscal year exceeds the estimated enrollment upon which the appropriation for that fiscal year is provided, thereby causing a shortfall, funds appropriated to the program for the subsequent fiscal year must be used first to fund the shortfall.
(2) A full-time equivalent student in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program shall be calculated as follows:
(a) For a student in a school-year prekindergarten program delivered by a private prekindergarten provider: 540 instructional hours.
(b) For a student in a summer prekindergarten program delivered by a public school or private prekindergarten provider: 300 instructional hours.
(c) For a student in a school-year prekindergarten program delivered by a public school: 540 instructional hours.

Except as provided in subsection (4), a student may not be reported for funding purposes as more than one full-time equivalent student.

(3)(a) A separate base student allocation per full-time equivalent student in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act for a school-year prekindergarten program and for a summer prekindergarten program. The base student allocation for a school-year program shall be equal for each student, regardless of whether the student is enrolled in a school-year prekindergarten program delivered by a public school or a private prekindergarten provider. The base student allocation for a summer prekindergarten program shall be equal for each student, regardless of whether the student is enrolled in a summer prekindergarten program delivered by a public school or private prekindergarten provider.
(b) Each county’s allocation per full-time equivalent student in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program shall be calculated annually by multiplying the base student allocation provided in the General Appropriations Act by the county’s district cost differential provided in s. 1011.62(2). Each private prekindergarten provider and public school shall be paid in accordance with the county’s allocation per full-time equivalent student.
(c) The initial allocation shall be based on estimated student enrollment in each coalition service area. The Office of Early Learning shall reallocate funds among the coalitions based on actual full-time equivalent student enrollment in each coalition service area. Each coalition shall report student enrollment pursuant to subsection (2) on a monthly basis. A student enrollment count for the prior fiscal year may not be amended after December 31 of the subsequent fiscal year.
(d) For programs offered by school districts pursuant to s. 1002.61, each district’s funding shall be based on a student enrollment that is evenly divisible by 12. If the result of dividing a district’s student enrollment by 12 is not a whole number, the district’s enrollment calculation shall be adjusted by adding the minimum number of students to produce a student enrollment calculation that is evenly divisible by 12.
(4) Notwithstanding s. 1002.53(3) and subsection (2):
(a) A child who, for any of the prekindergarten programs listed in s. 1002.53(3), has not completed more than 70 percent of the hours authorized to be reported for funding under subsection (2), or has not expended more than 70 percent of the funds authorized for the child under s. 1002.66, may withdraw from the program for good cause and reenroll in one of the programs. The total funding for a child who reenrolls in one of the programs for good cause may not exceed one full-time equivalent student. Funding for a child who withdraws and reenrolls in one of the programs for good cause shall be issued in accordance with the Office of Early Learning’s uniform attendance policy adopted pursuant to paragraph (6)(d).
(b) A child who has not substantially completed any of the prekindergarten programs listed in s. 1002.53(3) may withdraw from the program due to an extreme hardship that is beyond the child’s or parent’s control, reenroll in one of the summer programs, and be reported for funding purposes as a full-time equivalent student in the summer program for which the child is reenrolled.

A child may reenroll only once in a prekindergarten program under this section. A child who reenrolls in a prekindergarten program under this subsection may not subsequently withdraw from the program and reenroll, unless the child is granted a good cause exemption under this subsection. The Office of Early Learning shall establish criteria specifying whether a good cause exists for a child to withdraw from a program under paragraph (a), whether a child has substantially completed a program under paragraph (b), and whether an extreme hardship exists which is beyond the child’s or parent’s control under paragraph (b).

(5)(a) Each early learning coalition shall maintain through the single point of entry established under s. 1002.82 a current database of the students enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program for each county within the coalition’s region.
(b) The Office of Early Learning shall adopt procedures for the payment of private prekindergarten providers and public schools delivering the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. The procedures shall provide for the advance payment of providers and schools based upon student enrollment in the program, the certification of student attendance, and the reconciliation of advance payments in accordance with the uniform attendance policy adopted under paragraph (6)(d). The procedures shall provide for the monthly distribution of funds by the Office of Early Learning to the early learning coalitions for payment by the coalitions to private prekindergarten providers and public schools.
(6)(a) Each parent enrolling his or her child in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program must agree to comply with the attendance policy of the private prekindergarten provider or district school board, as applicable. Upon enrollment of the child, the private prekindergarten provider or public school, as applicable, must provide the child’s parent with a copy of the provider’s or school district’s attendance policy, as applicable.
(b)1. Each private prekindergarten provider’s and district school board’s attendance policy must require the parent of each student in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program to verify, each month, the student’s attendance on the prior month’s certified student attendance.
2. The parent must submit the verification of the student’s attendance to the private prekindergarten provider or public school on forms prescribed by the Office of Early Learning. The forms must include, in addition to the verification of the student’s attendance, a certification, in substantially the following form, that the parent continues to choose the private prekindergarten provider or public school in accordance with s. 1002.53 and directs that payments for the program be made to the provider or school:

VERIFICATION OF STUDENT’S ATTENDANCE
AND CERTIFICATION OF PARENTAL CHOICE

I,   (Name of Parent)  , swear (or affirm) that my child,   (Name of Student)  , attended the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program on the days listed above and certify that I continue to choose   (Name of Provider or School)   to deliver the program for my child and direct that program funds be paid to the provider or school for my child.

  (Signature of Parent)  

  (Date)  

3. The private prekindergarten provider or public school must keep each original signed form for at least 2 years. Each private prekindergarten provider must permit the early learning coalition, and each public school must permit the school district, to inspect the original signed forms during normal business hours. The Office of Early Learning shall adopt procedures for early learning coalitions and school districts to review the original signed forms against the certified student attendance. The review procedures shall provide for the use of selective inspection techniques, including, but not limited to, random sampling. Each early learning coalition and the school districts must comply with the review procedures.
(c) A private prekindergarten provider or school district, as applicable, may dismiss a student who does not comply with the provider’s or district’s attendance policy. A student dismissed under this paragraph is not removed from the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program and may continue in the program through reenrollment with another private prekindergarten provider or public school. Notwithstanding s. 1002.53(6)(b), a school district is not required to provide for the admission of a student dismissed under this paragraph.
(d) The Office of Early Learning shall adopt, for funding purposes, a uniform attendance policy for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. The attendance policy must apply statewide and apply equally to all private prekindergarten providers and public schools. The attendance policy must include at least the following provisions:
1. A student’s attendance may be reported on a pro rata basis as a fractional part of a full-time equivalent student.
2. At a maximum, 20 percent of the total payment made on behalf of a student to a private prekindergarten provider or a public school may be for hours a student is absent.
3. A private prekindergarten provider or public school may not receive payment for absences that occur before a student’s first day of attendance or after a student’s last day of attendance.

The uniform attendance policy shall be used only for funding purposes and does not prohibit a private prekindergarten provider or public school from adopting and enforcing its attendance policy under paragraphs (a) and (c).

(7) The Office of Early Learning shall require that administrative expenditures be kept to the minimum necessary for efficient and effective administration of the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. Administrative policies and procedures shall be revised, to the maximum extent practicable, to incorporate the use of automation and electronic submission of forms, including those required for child eligibility and enrollment, provider and class registration, and monthly certification of attendance for payment. A school district may use its automated daily attendance reporting system for the purpose of transmitting attendance records to the early learning coalition in a mutually agreed-upon format. In addition, actions shall be taken to reduce paperwork, eliminate the duplication of reports, and eliminate other duplicative activities. Each early learning coalition may retain and expend no more than 4.0 percent of the funds paid by the coalition to private prekindergarten providers and public schools under paragraph (5)(b). Funds retained by an early learning coalition under this subsection may be used only for administering the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program and may not be used for the school readiness program or other programs.
(8) Except as otherwise expressly authorized by law, a private prekindergarten provider or public school may not:
(a) Require payment of a fee or charge for services provided for a child enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program during a period reported for funding purposes; or
(b) Require a child to enroll for, or require the payment of any fee or charge for, supplemental services as a condition of admitting a child for enrollment in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program.
(9) A parent is responsible for the transportation of his or her child to and from the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, regardless of whether the program is delivered by a private prekindergarten provider or a public school. However, a provider or school may use part of the funds it is paid under paragraph (5)(b) for transporting students to and from the program. A student enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program may not be reported under s. 1011.68 for student transportation funds.
History.s. 1, ch. 2004-484; s. 4, ch. 2005-56; s. 3, ch. 2006-27; s. 7, ch. 2009-3; s. 12, ch. 2009-59; s. 10, ch. 2010-154; s. 29, ch. 2010-210; s. 5, ch. 2010-227; s. 13, ch. 2011-55; s. 455, ch. 2011-142; s. 13, ch. 2011-175; s. 9, ch. 2012-133; s. 12, ch. 2013-252.