Florida Senate - 2014 CS for CS for SB 1512
By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education; and Senators
Stargel, Thrasher, Gardiner, and Galvano
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to education; amending s. 11.45, F.S.;
3 authorizing the Auditor General to conduct audits of
4 the accounts and records of nonprofit scholarship
5 funding organizations; creating s. 1002.385, F.S.;
6 establishing the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
7 Accounts; defining terms; specifying criteria for
8 students who are eligible to participate in the
9 program; identifying certain students who are not
10 eligible to participate in the program; authorizing
11 the use of awarded funds for specific purposes;
12 prohibiting specific providers, schools, institutions,
13 school districts, and other entities from sharing,
14 refunding, or rebating program funds; specifying the
15 terms of the program; providing that the school
16 district retains all duties, authority, and
17 responsibilities specified in the Florida K-20
18 Education Code; specifying the duties of the
19 Department of Education relating to the program;
20 providing that the Commissioner of Education retains
21 all current duties, authority, and responsibilities as
22 specified in the Florida K-20 Education Code;
23 requiring the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to
24 deny, suspend, or revoke participation in the program
25 or use of program funds under certain circumstances;
26 providing additional factors under which the agency
27 may deny, suspend, or revoke a participation in the
28 program or program funds; requiring a parent to sign
29 an agreement with the Agency for Persons with
30 Disabilities to enroll his or her child in the program
31 which specifies the responsibilities of a parent or
32 student for using funds in a personal learning
33 scholarship account and for submitting a compliance
34 statement to the agency; providing that a parent who
35 fails to comply with the responsibilities of the
36 agreement forfeits the personal learning scholarship
37 account; providing eligibility requirements and
38 obligations for private schools under the program;
39 specifying agency obligations under the program;
40 authorizing the agency to contract for services;
41 providing for funding and payment; providing the
42 Auditor General’s obligations under the program;
43 providing that the state is not liable for the use of
44 awarded funds; providing for the scope of authority;
45 requiring the agency to adopt rules; providing for
46 implementation of the program in a specified school
47 year; providing an appropriation; amending s.
48 1002.395, F.S.; revising purpose; revising
49 definitions; revising eligibility requirements for the
50 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program; requiring the
51 Department of Education and Department of Revenue to
52 publish the tax credit cap on their websites when it
53 is increased; requiring the Department of Revenue to
54 provide a copy of a letter approving a taxpayer for a
55 specified tax credit to the eligible nonprofit
56 scholarship-funding organization; authorizing certain
57 entities to convey, transfer, or assign certain tax
58 credits; providing for the calculation of underpayment
59 of estimated corporate income taxes and tax
60 installation payments for taxes on insurance premiums
61 and assessments and the determination of whether
62 penalties or interest shall be imposed on the
63 underpayment; revising the disqualifying offenses for
64 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization owners and
65 operators; revising priority for new applicants;
66 allowing a student in foster care or out-of-home care
67 to apply for a scholarship at any time; prohibiting
68 use of eligible contributions from being used for
69 lobbying or political activity or related expenses;
70 requiring application fees to be expended for student
71 scholarships in any year a nonprofit scholarship
72 funding organization uses eligible contributions for
73 administrative expenses; requiring amounts carried
74 forward to be specifically reserved for particular
75 students and schools for audit purposes; revising
76 audit and report requirements for nonprofit
77 scholarship-funding organizations and Auditor General
78 review of all reports; requiring nonprofit
79 scholarship-funding organizations to maintain a surety
80 bond or letter of credit and to adjust the bond or
81 letter of credit quarterly based upon a statement from
82 a certified public accountant; providing exceptions;
83 requiring the nonprofit scholarship-funding
84 organization to provide the Auditor General any
85 information or documentation requested in connection
86 with an operational audit; requiring a private school
87 to provide agreed upon transportation and make
88 arrangements for taking statewide assessments at the
89 school district testing site and in accordance with
90 the district’s testing schedule if the student chooses
91 to take the statewide assessment; requiring parental
92 authorization for access to income eligibility
93 information; specifying that the independent research
94 organization is the Learning System Institute at the
95 Florida State University; identifying grant terms and
96 payments; revising statewide and individual school
97 report requirements; revising limitations on annual
98 scholarship amounts; providing initial and renewal
99 application requirements and an approval process for a
100 charitable organization that seeks to be a nonprofit
101 scholarship-funding organization; requiring the State
102 Board of Education to adopt rules; providing a
103 registration notice requirement for public and private
104 universities to be nonprofit scholarship-funding
105 organizations; requiring the State Board of Education
106 to adopt rules; allowing existing nonprofit
107 scholarship-funding organizations to provide the
108 required bond at a specified date; amending s.
109 1003.4282, F.S.; providing standard high school
110 diploma requirements for certain students with
111 disabilities; requiring the State Board of Education
112 to adopt rules; authorizing a student with a
113 disability to defer the receipt of a standard high
114 school diploma if certain conditions are met;
115 authorizing certain students with disabilities to
116 continue to receive certain instructions and services;
117 requiring an independent review and a parent’s
118 approval to waive statewide, standardized assessment
119 requirements by the individual education plan (IEP)
120 team; repealing s. 1003.438, F.S., relating to special
121 high school graduation requirements for certain
122 exceptional students; creating s. 1003.5716, F.S.;
123 providing that certain students with disabilities have
124 a right to free, appropriate public education;
125 requiring an IEP team to begin the process of, and to
126 develop an IEP for, identifying transition services
127 needs for a student with a disability before the
128 student attains a specified age; providing
129 requirements for the process; requiring certain
130 statements to be included and annually updated in the
131 IEP; providing that changes in the goals specified in
132 an IEP are subject to independent review and parental
133 approval; requiring the school district to reconvene
134 the IEP team to identify alternative strategies to
135 meet transition objectives if a participating agency
136 fails to provide transition services specified in the
137 IEP; providing that the agency’s failure does not
138 relieve the agency of the responsibility to provide or
139 pay for the transition services that the agency
140 otherwise would have provided; amending s. 1003.572,
141 F.S.; prohibiting a school district from imposing
142 additional requirements on private instructional
143 personnel or charging fees; creating s. 1008.2121,
144 F.S.; requiring the Commissioner of Education to
145 permanently exempt certain students with disabilities
146 from taking statewide, standardized assessments;
147 requiring the State Board of Education to adopt rules;
148 amending s. 1008.25, F.S.; requiring written
149 notification relating to portfolios to a parent of a
150 student with a substantial reading deficiency;
151 requiring a student promoted to a certain grade with a
152 good cause exemption to receive intensive reading
153 instruction and intervention; requiring a school
154 district to assist schools and teachers with the
155 implementation of reading strategies; revising good
156 cause exemptions; amending ss. 120.81, 409.1451, and
157 1007.263, F.S.; conforming cross-references; providing
158 effective dates.
160 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
162 Section 1. Paragraph (k) is added to subsection (2) and
163 paragraph (y) is added to subsection (3) of section 11.45,
164 Florida Statutes, and subsection (8) of that section is amended,
165 to read:
166 11.45 Definitions; duties; authorities; reports; rules.—
167 (2) DUTIES.—The Auditor General shall:
168 (k) Annually conduct operational audits of the accounts and
169 records of eligible non-profit scholarship-funding organizations
170 receiving eligible contributions under s. 1002.395, including
171 any contracts for services with related entities, to determine
172 compliance with the provisions of that section. Such audits
173 shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the
174 eligible non-profit scholarship funding organization’s
175 compliance with s. 1002.395(6)(j). The Auditor General shall
176 provide its report on the results of the audits to the Governor,
177 the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
178 Representatives, the Chief Financial Officer, and the
179 Legislative Auditing Committee, within 30 days of completion of
180 the audit.
182 The Auditor General shall perform his or her duties
183 independently but under the general policies established by the
184 Legislative Auditing Committee. This subsection does not limit
185 the Auditor General’s discretionary authority to conduct other
186 audits or engagements of governmental entities as authorized in
187 subsection (3).
188 (3) AUTHORITY FOR AUDITS AND OTHER ENGAGEMENTS.—The Auditor
189 General may, pursuant to his or her own authority, or at the
190 direction of the Legislative Auditing Committee, conduct audits
191 or other engagements as determined appropriate by the Auditor
192 General of:
193 (y) The accounts and records of a nonprofit scholarship
194 funding organization participating in a state sponsored
195 scholarship program authorized by chapter 1002.
196 (8) RULES OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—The Auditor General, in
197 consultation with the Board of Accountancy, shall adopt rules
198 for the form and conduct of all financial audits performed by
199 independent certified public accountants pursuant to ss.
200 215.981, 218.39, 1001.453, 1002.395, 1004.28, and 1004.70. The
201 rules for audits of local governmental entities, charter
202 schools, charter technical career centers, and district school
203 boards must include, but are not limited to, requirements for
204 the reporting of information necessary to carry out the purposes
205 of the Local Governmental Entity, Charter School, Charter
206 Technical Career Center, and District School Board Financial
207 Emergencies Act as stated in s. 218.501.
208 Section 2. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is created
209 to read:
210 1002.385 Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts.—
211 (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personal Learning
212 Scholarship Accounts is established to provide the option for a
213 parent to better meet the individual educational needs of his or
214 her eligible child.
215 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
216 (a) “Agency” means the Agency for Persons with
218 (b) “Approved provider” means a provider approved by the
219 Agency for Persons with Disabilities, including an educational
220 consultant, a health care practitioner as defined in s.
221 456.001(4), or a provider approved by the Department of
222 Education pursuant to s. 1002.66. An educational consultant is a
223 provider who is approved by the agency, has a bachelor’s degree
224 from an accredited college or university, holds a Florida
225 professional educator certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56 in
226 exceptional student education, and has 3 years of supervised
227 experience in working with individuals with disabilities. The
228 educational consultant assists in the development of an
229 individual learning services plan, monitors a student’s
230 progress, and reports to the agency.
231 (c) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
232 particular content area or grade level, including any required
233 supplemental materials.
234 (d) “Disability” means, for a student in kindergarten to
235 grade 12, autism, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral palsy,
236 as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in s.
237 393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
238 393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
239 393.063(25); Spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); for a
240 student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as defined in
241 s. 393.063(20)(a); or Williams syndrome, which is a
242 developmental disorder that is characterized by mild to moderate
243 intellectual disability or learning problems, unique personality
244 characteristics, distinctive facial features, and cardiovascular
246 (e) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
247 a Florida College System institution, a state university, a
248 school district technical center, a school district adult
249 general education center, or an accredited nonpublic
250 postsecondary educational institution, as defined in s. 1005.02,
251 which is licensed to operate in the state pursuant to
252 requirements specified in part III of chapter 1005.
253 (f) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
254 defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
255 offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
256 to grade 12, and which meets the requirements of:
257 1. Sections 1002.42 and 1002.421; and
258 2. A scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395,
259 as applicable, if the private school participates in a
260 scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
261 (g) “ILSP” means an individual learning services plan that
262 is developed for a student who participates in the program. The
263 ILSP must include funding categories that are specified in
264 accordance with rules of the Agency for Persons with
266 (h) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
267 parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
268 (i) “Program” means the Florida Personal Learning
269 Scholarship Accounts established in this section.
270 (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
271 disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
272 personal learning scholarship account for the purposes specified
273 in subsection (5) if:
274 (a) The student:
275 1. Is a resident of this state;
276 2. Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12
277 in a public school in this state;
278 3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d);
279 4. Has an ILSP developed by the agency in consultation with
280 the parent and written in accordance with rules of the Agency
281 for Persons with Disabilities; and
282 5. Complies with regular school attendance pursuant to s.
283 1003.01(13); and
284 (b) The parent has applied to the agency to participate in
285 the program by February 1 before the school year in which the
286 student will participate or an alternate date adopted by the
287 agency in rule for any vacant, funded slots. The request must be
288 communicated directly to the agency in a manner that creates a
289 written or electronic record of the request and the date of
290 receipt of the request. The agency must notify the school
291 district and the Department of Education of the parent’s intent
292 upon receipt of the parent’s request.
293 (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—A student is not eligible for the
294 program if:
295 (a) The student or student’s parent has accepted any
296 payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
297 any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
298 (b) The student’s participation in the program has been
299 denied or revoked by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
300 pursuant to subsection (10); or
301 (c) The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
302 program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
303 subsection (11).
304 (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
305 spent for the following purposes, according to the goals and
306 objectives identified in the student’s ILSP:
307 (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
308 digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
309 allow a student to access instruction or instructional content.
310 (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(c).
311 (c) Specialized services by approved providers that are
312 selected by the parent and specified in the student’s ILSP.
313 These specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
314 1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
315 627.6686 and 641.31098.
316 2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
317 defined in s. 468.1125.
318 3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
319 4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
320 s. 486.021.
321 5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
322 specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
323 child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
324 implant or assistive hearing device.
325 (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
326 enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
327 postsecondary educational institution, a private tutoring
328 program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program offered
329 by a department-approved private online provider that meets the
330 provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), or an
331 approved online course offered pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s.
333 (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
334 achievement tests, Advanced Placement examinations, industry
335 certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
336 education, or other assessments specified in the student’s ILSP.
337 (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
338 College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98, for the benefit of the
339 eligible student.
340 (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
341 school district, including classes for the services specified in
342 the ILSP or additional services. A student who receives services
343 under a contract under this paragraph may not be considered to
344 be enrolled in a public school.
346 A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
347 eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
348 program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
349 school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
350 pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
351 moneys from a Florida personal learning scholarship account with
352 the parent or participating student in any manner.
353 (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
354 educational choice, the program payments made under this section
355 shall remain in force until a student participating in the
356 program participates in any of the prohibited activities
357 specified in subsection (4), has funds revoked by the agency
358 pursuant to subsection (10), graduates from high school, or
359 reaches 22 years of age, whichever occurs first.
360 (7) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS.—The school district
361 retains all current duties, authority, and responsibilities as
362 specified in the Florida K-20 Education Code.
363 (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
365 (a) Maintain a list of eligible private schools as defined
366 in paragraph (2)(f) and private tutoring programs pursuant to s.
368 (b) Compare the list of students participating in the
369 program with the public school enrollment lists before each
370 program payment to avoid duplicate payments.
372 The department retains all current duties, authority, and
373 responsibilities as specified in the Florida K-20 Education
375 (9) COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS.
376 The Commissioner of Education retains all current duties,
377 authority, and responsibilities as specified in the Florida K-20
378 Education Code.
379 (10) AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE AGENCY FOR PERSONS
380 WITH DISABILITIES; ENFORCEMENT.—
381 (a) The agency:
382 1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
383 in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
384 is threatened or fraud is suspected.
385 2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
386 program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
387 is threatened or fraud is suspected.
388 3. May deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
389 program funds for material failure to comply with this section
390 and applicable agency rules if the noncompliance is correctable
391 within a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, the agency shall
392 deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use for failure to
393 materially comply with the law and rules adopted under this
395 4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
396 date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
397 section and applicable agency rules. The agency may deny,
398 suspend, or revoke program participation under this section
400 (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke an
401 approved provider in accordance with this subsection, the agency
402 may consider factors that include, but are not limited to, acts
403 or omissions by a participating entity which led to a previous
404 denial or revocation of participation in an education
405 scholarship program under this chapter; failure to reimburse the
406 agency for program funds improperly received or retained by the
407 entity; imposition of a prior criminal sanction related to the
408 entity or its officers or employees; imposition of a civil fine
409 or administrative fine, license revocation or suspension, or
410 program eligibility suspension, termination, or revocation
411 related to an entity’s management or operation; or other types
412 of criminal proceedings in which the entity or its officers or
413 employees were found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or
414 entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense
415 involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or moral turpitude.
416 (11) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
417 PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
418 under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
419 determine the appropriate placement or services that best meet
420 the needs of his or her student. To enroll an eligible student
421 in the program, the parent must sign an agreement with the
422 agency and annually submit a notarized, sworn compliance
423 statement to the agency to:
424 (a) Affirm that the student is enrolled in a school or
425 program that meets minimum student attendance requirements as
426 provided in s. 1003.21.
427 (b) Comply with the ILSP and use the program funds only for
428 authorized purposes to meet the student’s goals and objectives
429 in the ILSP as described in subsection (2).
430 (c) Provide for an appropriate assessment that documents
431 the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level
432 commensurate with her or his ability, in accordance with the
433 requirements for the academic program selected by the parent who
434 enrolls the student in a private school pursuant to paragraph
435 (2)(f), a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41, or a
436 scholarship program pursuant to s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
437 (d) Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
438 assessments as specified in the student’s ILSP. The parent is
439 responsible for transporting the student to the assessment site
440 designated by the school district if the parent selects a
441 statewide, standardized assessment pursuant to s. 1008.22.
442 (e) Notify the school district that the student is
443 participating in the program if the parent chooses to enroll the
444 student in an eligible private school pursuant to paragraph
445 (2)(f), a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41, a
446 scholarship program pursuant to this chapter, or a private
447 tutoring program authorized under s. 1002.43.
448 (f) Request participation in the program pursuant to
449 paragraph (3)(b).
450 (g) Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
451 the provider or school if those options are selected by the
453 (h) Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
454 school option is selected by the parent.
455 (i) Annually renew participation in the program.
456 (j) Be responsible for the payment of all eligible expenses
457 in excess of the amount of the personal learning scholarship
459 (k) Affirm that the parent will not transfer any college
460 savings funds to another beneficiary.
461 (l) Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
462 funding provided by the state for the Florida Personal Learning
463 Scholarship Accounts.
464 (m) Maintain a portfolio of records and materials which
465 must be preserved by the parent for 2 years and be made
466 available for inspection by the district school superintendent
467 or the superintendent’s designee upon 15 days’ written notice.
468 This paragraph does not require the superintendent to inspect
469 the portfolio. The portfolio of records and materials consists
471 1. A log of educational instruction and services which is
472 made contemporaneously with delivery of the instruction and
473 services and which designates by title any reading materials
474 used; and
475 2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
476 creative materials used or developed by the student.
478 A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
479 personal learning scholarship account.
480 (12) PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—An
481 eligible private school as defined in paragraph (2)(f) must:
482 (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools in ss.
483 1002.42 and 1002.421. A private school participating in a
484 scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395 must also
485 comply with the requirements of that scholarship program.
486 (b) Provide to the agency, upon request, all documentation
487 required for the student’s participation, including the private
488 school’s and student’s fee schedules.
489 (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
490 the educational needs of the student.
491 (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
492 direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
493 this section at the school’s physical location.
495 The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
496 this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
497 of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
498 as determined by the Department of Education.
499 (13) AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES OBLIGATIONS.—
500 (a) The agency shall:
501 1. Monitor and provide oversight for the program.
502 2. Receive applications and determine student eligibility
503 in accordance with the requirements of this section. The agency
504 shall notify the Department of Education of the applicants for
505 the program by February 15 before the school year in which the
506 student intends to participate and indicate how the student will
507 comply with regular school attendance pursuant to ss.
508 1003.01(13) and 1003.23.
509 3. Notify parents of their receipt of a scholarship on a
510 first-come, first-served basis based upon the funds provided for
511 this program in the General Appropriations Act.
512 4. Establish a date by which a parent must confirm initial
513 or continuing participation in the program and confirm the
514 establishment or continuance of a personal learning scholarship
516 5. Establish a date and process by which students on the
517 wait list or late-filing applicants may be allowed to
518 participate in the program during the school year, within the
519 amount of funds provided for this program in the General
520 Appropriations Act.
521 6. Develop an ILSP, in consultation with the parent and the
522 educational consultant, which documents the following:
523 a. That the student has an eligible disability as defined
524 in paragraph (2)(d).
525 b. Learning goals and objectives for the student which are
526 linked directly to how program funds will be spent for
527 authorized services.
528 c. How attendance requirements in s. 1003.21 will be met.
529 d. How progress toward meeting the individual learning
530 goals and objectives will be assessed and documented for
531 purposes of continued participation in the program.
532 7. Assign a funding category for each student that
533 documents the nature and intensity of services that the student
534 will need to meet the learning outcomes specified in his or her
535 ILSP. The funding category determines the amount of the award
536 for the student.
537 8. Receive an administrative fee of up to 10 percent from
538 the appropriation to operate the Florida Personal Learning
539 Scholarship Accounts.
540 9. Establish and maintain a separate account for each
541 eligible student.
542 10. Establish and maintain a list of approved providers
543 pursuant to paragraph (2)(b).
544 11. Verify eligible expenditures prior to the distribution
545 of funds for any expenditures made pursuant to paragraphs (5)(a)
546 and (b). The review of expenditures for services in paragraphs
547 (5)(c) through (g) may be completed after the payment has been
549 12. Develop a system for payment of benefits by electronic
550 funds transfer, including, but not limited to, debit cards,
551 electronic payment cards, or any other means of electronic
552 payment that the agency deems to be commercially viable or cost
553 effective. Commodities or services related to the development of
554 such a system shall be procured by competitive solicitation
555 unless they are purchased from a state term contract pursuant to
556 s. 287.056.
557 (b) The agency may contract for services.
558 (14) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
559 (a) Funding for the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
560 Accounts shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act,
561 which shall specify the annual amount per funding category for
562 public school students, private school students, home education
563 students, students receiving a scholarship pursuant to s.
564 1002.39 or s. 1002.395, and students participating in a private
565 tutoring program.
566 (b) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
567 postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
568 consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
569 student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
570 institution, the student’s personal learning scholarship account
571 shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
573 (c) Moneys received pursuant to this section do not
574 constitute taxable income to the eligible student or the parent
575 of an eligible student.
576 (15) OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—The Auditor
577 General shall conduct an annual financial and operational audit
578 of accounts and records of the Florida Personal Learning
579 Scholarship Accounts. As a part of this audit, the Auditor
580 General shall verify, at a minimum, the total amount of students
581 served and eligibility of reimbursement made by the agency and
582 transmit that information to the agency.
583 (16) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
584 any use of awarded funds under this section.
585 (17) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
586 regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
587 district to impose additional regulation on participating
588 private schools, nonpublic postsecondary educational
589 institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
590 necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
592 (18) RULES.—The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall
593 adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer
594 this section.
595 (19) IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE FOR THE 2014-2015 SCHOOL
597 (a) The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall, in
598 consultation with an advisory work group, develop an ILSP and an
599 ILSP process, funding category requirements, a system for
600 payment of claims and providers, and a system to document and
601 assess progress toward meeting the individual learning goals and
602 objectives in the ILSP. The advisory work group shall make
603 specific recommendations to the agency by October 1, 2014. The
604 agency shall adopt rules to implement the recommendations of the
605 advisory group by December 31, 2014. The Commissioner of
606 Education, the executive director of the agency, the Chancellor
607 of the State University System, and the director of the Division
608 of Vocational Rehabilitation shall appoint staff to work on the
609 advisory group with stakeholders.
610 (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section related
611 to notification and eligibility timelines, the agency may enroll
612 parents in a statewide pilot program on a rolling schedule on a
613 first-come, first-served basis, no later than February 1, 2015,
614 within the amount of funds provided in the General
615 Appropriations Act.
616 (c) There is hereby appropriated for the 2014-2015 fiscal
617 year to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities a sum of $18.4
618 million from the Operations and Maintenance Trust Fund for the
619 implementation of the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts
620 Program. From these funds, $1.5 million shall be allocated to
621 the Agency for Persons with Disabilities for startup costs for
622 planning and implementation of the pilot program. For the pilot
623 program in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the agency shall provide
624 awards for eligible students which range from $5,000 to $19,000
625 per recipient and shall be based on funding categories
626 established by the agency. Public school students and students
627 who receive a scholarship pursuant to ss. 1002.39 and 1002.395
628 shall receive 50 percent of the designated amount for the
629 student’s funding category.
630 Section 3. Paragraph (c) is added to subsection (1),
631 paragraph (f) of subsection (2), subsection (3), subsection (5),
632 subsection (6), paragraph (e) of subsection (7), paragraphs (c)
633 and (e) of subsection (8), paragraphs (d), (j) and (o) of
634 subsection (9), and paragraph (a) of subsection (12) of section
635 1002.395, Florida Statutes, are amended, paragraphs (h) through
636 (j) of subsection (2) are redesignated as paragraphs (i) through
637 (k), respectively, and a new paragraph (h) is added to that
638 subsection, paragraph (g) is added to subsection (7), and
639 subsection (16) is added to that section, to read:
640 1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.—
641 (1) FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.—
642 (c) The purpose of this section is not to prescribe the
643 standards or curriculum for private schools. A private school
644 retains the authority to determine its own standards and
646 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
647 (f) “Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization”
648 means a state university; or an independent college or
649 university that is eligible to participate in the William L.
650 Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program, located and
651 chartered in this state, is not for profit, and is accredited by
652 the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of
653 Colleges and Schools; or is a charitable organization that:
654 1. Is exempt from federal income tax pursuant to s.
655 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
656 2. Is a Florida entity formed under chapter 607, chapter
657 608, or chapter 617 and whose principal office is located in the
658 state; and
659 3. Complies with subsections
the provisions of subsection
660 (6) and (16).
661 (h) “Household income” has the same meaning as the term
662 “income” is defined in the Income Eligibility Guidelines for
663 free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch
664 Program in 7 C.F.R. part 210 as published in the Federal
665 Register by the United States Department of Agriculture.
666 (3) PROGRAM; SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY.—
667 (a) The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is
669 (b) For the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years,
670 contingent upon available funds, a student is eligible for a
671 Florida tax credit scholarship under this section if the student
672 meets one or more of the following criteria:
673 1. The student qualifies for free or reduced-price school
674 lunches under the National School Lunch Act or is on the direct
675 certification list; and:
676 a. Was counted as a full-time equivalent student during the
677 previous state fiscal year for purposes of state per-student
679 b. Received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit
680 scholarship-funding organization or from the State of Florida
681 during the previous school year; or
682 c. Is eligible to enter kindergarten through fifth grade.
683 2. The student is currently placed, or during the previous
684 state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home
685 care as defined in s. 39.01; or .
686 3. The student continues in the scholarship program as long
687 as the student’s household income level does not exceed 230
688 percent of the federal poverty level.
689 4. The student, who is a first-time tax credit scholarship
690 recipient, is a sibling of a student who is continuing in the
691 scholarship program and who resides in the same household as the
692 student if the sibling meets one or more of the criteria
693 specified in subparagraphs 1. and 2. and as long as the
694 student’s and sibling’s household income level does not exceed
695 230 percent of the federal poverty level.
696 (c) For the 2016-2017 school year and thereafter,
697 contingent upon available funds, a student is eligible for a
698 Florida tax credit scholarship under this section if the student
699 meets one or more of the following criteria:
700 1. The student is on the direct certification list or the
701 student’s household income level does not exceed 185 percent of
702 the federal poverty level; or
703 2. The student is currently placed, or during the previous
704 state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home
705 care as defined in s. 39.01.
707 A student who initially receives a scholarship based on
708 eligibility under subparagraph (b)2. or subparagraph (c)2.
709 remains eligible until the student graduates from high school or
710 attains the age of 21 years, whichever occurs first, regardless
711 of the student’s household income level. A sibling of a student
712 who is participating in the scholarship program under this
713 subsection is eligible for a scholarship if the student resides
714 in the same household as the sibling.
715 (5) SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING TAX CREDITS; LIMITATIONS.—
716 (a)1. The tax credit cap amount is $229 million in the
717 2012-2013 state fiscal year.
718 2. In the 2013-2014 state fiscal year and each state fiscal
719 year thereafter, the tax credit cap amount is the tax credit cap
720 amount in the prior state fiscal year. However, in any state
721 fiscal year when the annual tax credit amount for the prior
722 state fiscal year is equal to or greater than 90 percent of the
723 tax credit cap amount applicable to that state fiscal year, the
724 tax credit cap amount shall increase by 25 percent. The
725 Department of Education and Department of Revenue department
726 shall publish on their websites its website information
727 identifying the tax credit cap amount when it is increased
728 pursuant to this subparagraph.
729 (b) A taxpayer may submit an application to the department
730 for a tax credit or credits under one or more of s. 211.0251, s.
731 212.1831, s. 220.1875, s. 561.1211, or s. 624.51055.
732 1. The taxpayer shall specify in the application each tax
733 for which the taxpayer requests a credit and the applicable
734 taxable year for a credit under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055 or
735 the applicable state fiscal year for a credit under s. 211.0251,
736 s. 212.1831, or s. 561.1211. The department shall approve tax
737 credits on a first-come, first-served basis and must obtain the
738 division’s approval before prior to approving a tax credit under
739 s. 561.1211.
740 2. Within 10 days after approving an application, the
741 department shall provide a copy of its approval letter to the
742 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization specified by
743 the taxpayer in the application.
744 (c) If a tax credit approved under paragraph (b) is not
745 fully used within the specified state fiscal year for credits
746 under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, or s. 561.1211 or against taxes
747 due for the specified taxable year for credits under s. 220.1875
748 or s. 624.51055 because of insufficient tax liability on the
749 part of the taxpayer, the unused amount may be carried forward
750 for a period not to exceed 5 years. However, any taxpayer that
751 seeks to carry forward an unused amount of tax credit must
752 submit an application to the department for approval of the
753 carryforward tax credit in the year that the taxpayer intends to
754 use the carryforward. The department must obtain the division’s
755 approval prior to approving the carryforward of a tax credit
756 under s. 561.1211.
757 (d) A taxpayer may not convey, assign, or transfer an
758 approved tax credit or a carryforward tax credit to another
759 entity unless all of the assets of the taxpayer are conveyed,
760 assigned, or transferred in the same transaction. However, a tax
761 credit under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, s. 220.1875, s. 561.1211,
762 or s. 624.51055 may be conveyed, transferred, or assigned
763 between members of an affiliated group of corporations if the
764 type of tax credit under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, s. 220.1875,
765 s. 561.1211, or s. 624.51055 remains the same. A taxpayer shall
766 notify the department of its intent to convey, transfer, or
767 assign a tax credit to another member within an affiliated group
768 of corporations. The amount conveyed, transferred, or assigned
769 is available to another member of the affiliated group of
770 corporations upon approval by the department. The department
771 shall obtain the division’s approval before approving a
772 conveyance, transfer, or assignment of a tax credit under s.
774 (e) Within any state fiscal year, a taxpayer may rescind
775 all or part of a tax credit approved under paragraph (b). The
776 amount rescinded shall become available for that state fiscal
777 year to another eligible taxpayer as approved by the department
778 if the taxpayer receives notice from the department that the
779 rescindment has been accepted by the department. The department
780 must obtain the division’s approval prior to accepting the
781 rescindment of a tax credit under s. 561.1211. Any amount
782 rescinded under this paragraph shall become available to an
783 eligible taxpayer on a first-come, first-served basis based on
784 tax credit applications received after the date the rescindment
785 is accepted by the department.
786 (f) For purposes of calculating the underpayment of
787 estimated corporate income taxes pursuant to s. 220.34 and tax
788 installment payments for taxes on insurance premiums or
789 assessments under s. 624.5092, the final amount due is the
790 amount after credits earned under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055
791 for contributions to eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
792 organizations are deducted.
793 1. For purposes of determining if a penalty or interest
794 shall be imposed for underpayment of estimated corporate income
795 tax pursuant to s. 220.34(2)(d)1., a taxpayer may, after earning
796 a credit under s. 220.1875, reduce the following estimated
797 payment in that taxable year by the amount of the credit. This
798 subparagraph applies to contributions made on or after July 1,
800 2. For purposes of determining if a penalty under s.
801 624.5092 shall be imposed, an insurer may, after earning a
802 credit under s. 624.51055, reduce the following installment
803 payment of 27 percent of the amount of the net tax due as
804 reported on the return for the preceding year under s.
805 624.5092(2)(b) by the amount of the credit. This subparagraph
806 applies to contributions made on or after July 1, 2014.
807 (6) OBLIGATIONS OF ELIGIBLE NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING
808 ORGANIZATIONS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
810 (a) Must comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of
811 42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.
812 (b) Must comply with the following background check
814 1. All owners and operators as defined in subparagraph
815 (2)(i)1. (2)(h)1. are, before upon employment or engagement to
816 provide services, subject to level 2 background screening as
817 provided under chapter 435. The fingerprints for the background
818 screening must be electronically submitted to the Department of
819 Law Enforcement and can be taken by an authorized law
820 enforcement agency or by an employee of the eligible nonprofit
821 scholarship-funding organization or a private company who is
822 trained to take fingerprints. However, the complete set of
823 fingerprints of an owner or operator may not be taken by the
824 owner or operator. The results of the state and national
825 criminal history check shall be provided to the Department of
826 Education for screening under chapter 435. The cost of the
827 background screening may be borne by the eligible nonprofit
828 scholarship-funding organization or the owner or operator.
829 2. Every 5 years following employment or engagement to
830 provide services or association with an eligible nonprofit
831 scholarship-funding organization, each owner or operator must
832 meet level 2 screening standards as described in s. 435.04, at
833 which time the nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall
834 request the Department of Law Enforcement to forward the
835 fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2
836 screening. If the fingerprints of an owner or operator are not
837 retained by the Department of Law Enforcement under subparagraph
838 3., the owner or operator must electronically file a complete
839 set of fingerprints with the Department of Law Enforcement. Upon
840 submission of fingerprints for this purpose, the eligible
841 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall request that
842 the Department of Law Enforcement forward the fingerprints to
843 the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2 screening, and
844 the fingerprints shall be retained by the Department of Law
845 Enforcement under subparagraph 3.
846 3. All Fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law
847 Enforcement as required by this paragraph must be retained by
848 the Department of Law Enforcement in a manner approved by rule
849 and entered in the statewide automated biometric identification
850 system authorized by s. 943.05(2)(b). The fingerprints must
851 thereafter be available for all purposes and uses authorized for
852 arrest fingerprints entered in the statewide automated biometric
853 identification system pursuant to s. 943.051.
854 4. The Department of Law Enforcement shall search all
855 arrest fingerprints received under s. 943.051 against the
856 fingerprints retained in the statewide automated biometric
857 identification system under subparagraph 3. Any arrest record
858 that is identified with an owner’s or operator’s fingerprints
859 must be reported to the Department of Education. The Department
860 of Education shall participate in this search process by paying
861 an annual fee to the Department of Law Enforcement and by
862 informing the Department of Law Enforcement of any change in the
863 employment, engagement, or association status of the owners or
864 operators whose fingerprints are retained under subparagraph 3.
865 The Department of Law Enforcement shall adopt a rule setting the
866 amount of the annual fee to be imposed upon the Department of
867 Education for performing these services and establishing the
868 procedures for the retention of owner and operator fingerprints
869 and the dissemination of search results. The fee may be borne by
870 the owner or operator of the nonprofit scholarship-funding
872 5. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose owner
873 or operator fails the level 2 background screening is not shall
874 not be eligible to provide scholarships under this section.
875 6. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose owner
876 or operator in the last 7 years has filed for personal
877 bankruptcy or corporate bankruptcy in a corporation of which he
878 or she owned more than 20 percent shall not be eligible to
879 provide scholarships under this section.
880 7. In addition to the offenses listed in s. 435.04, a
881 person required to undergo background screening pursuant to this
882 part or authorizing statutes must not have an arrest awaiting
883 final disposition for, must not have been found guilty of, or
884 entered a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of
885 adjudication, and must not have been adjudicated delinquent, and
886 the record must not have been sealed or expunged for, any of the
887 following offenses or any similar offense of another
889 a. Any authorizing statutes, if the offense was a felony.
890 b. This chapter, if the offense was a felony.
891 c. Section 409.920, relating to Medicaid provider fraud.
892 d. Section 409.9201, relating to Medicaid fraud.
893 e. Section 741.28, relating to domestic violence.
894 f. Section 817.034, relating to fraudulent acts through
895 mail, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or
896 photooptical systems.
897 g. Section 817.234, relating to false and fraudulent
898 insurance claims.
899 h. Section 817.505, relating to patient brokering.
900 i. Section 817.568, relating to criminal use of personal
901 identification information.
902 j. Section 817.60, relating to obtaining a credit card
903 through fraudulent means.
904 k. Section 817.61, relating to fraudulent use of credit
905 cards, if the offense was a felony.
906 l. Section 831.01, relating to forgery.
907 m. Section 831.02, relating to uttering forged instruments.
908 n. Section 831.07, relating to forging bank bills, checks,
909 drafts, or promissory notes.
910 o. Section 831.09, relating to uttering forged bank bills,
911 checks, drafts, or promissory notes.
912 p. Section 831.30, relating to fraud in obtaining medicinal
914 q. Section 831.31, relating to the sale, manufacture,
915 delivery, or possession with the intent to sell, manufacture, or
916 deliver any counterfeit controlled substance, if the offense was
917 a felony.
918 (c) Must not have an owner or operator who owns or operates
919 an eligible private school that is participating in the
920 scholarship program.
921 (d) Must provide scholarships, from eligible contributions,
922 to eligible students for the cost of:
923 1. Tuition and fees for an eligible private school; or
924 2. Transportation to a Florida public school that is
925 located outside the district in which the student resides or to
926 a lab school as defined in s. 1002.32.
927 (e) Must give first priority to eligible students who
928 received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit scholarship
929 funding organization or from the State of Florida during the
930 previous school year. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, an
931 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall give
932 priority to new applicants whose household income levels do not
933 exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty level or who are in
934 foster care or out-of-home care.
935 (f) Must provide a scholarship to an eligible student on a
936 first-come, first-served basis unless the student qualifies for
937 priority pursuant to paragraph (e).
938 (g) May not restrict or reserve scholarships for use at a
939 particular private school or provide scholarships to a child of
940 an owner or operator.
941 (h) Must allow a student in foster care or out-of-home care
942 to apply for a scholarship at any time.
943 (i) (h) Must allow an eligible student to attend any
944 eligible private school and must allow a parent to transfer a
945 scholarship during a school year to any other eligible private
946 school of the parent’s choice.
947 (j) (i)1. May use up to 3 percent of eligible contributions
948 received during the state fiscal year in which such
949 contributions are collected for administrative expenses if the
950 organization has operated under this section for at least 3
951 state fiscal years and did not have any negative financial
952 findings in its most recent audit under paragraph (m) (l). Such
953 administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary for the
954 organization’s management and distribution of eligible
955 contributions under this section. No funds authorized under this
956 subparagraph shall be used for lobbying or political activity or
957 expenses related to lobbying or political activity. Up to No
958 more than one-third of the funds authorized for administrative
959 expenses under this subparagraph may be used for expenses
960 related to the recruitment of contributions from taxpayers. In
961 any year an eligible nonprofit scholarship funding organization
962 is permitted under this subparagraph to use eligible
963 contributions for administrative expenses, any application fee
964 charged by the organization for an application for scholarship
965 shall be expended for scholarships to students.
966 2. Must expend for annual or partial-year scholarships an
967 amount equal to or greater than 75 percent of the net eligible
968 contributions remaining after administrative expenses during the
969 state fiscal year in which such contributions are collected. No
970 more than 25 percent of such net eligible contributions may be
971 carried forward to the following state fiscal year. All amounts
972 carried forward, for audit purposes, must be specifically
973 identified for particular students, by student name and the name
974 of the school to which the student is admitted, subject to the
975 requirements of s. 1002.22, s. 1002.221, 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, and
976 the applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
977 Any amounts carried forward shall be expended for annual or
978 partial-year scholarships in the following state fiscal year.
979 Net eligible contributions remaining on June 30 of each year
980 that are in excess of the 25 percent that may be carried forward
981 shall be returned to the State Treasury for deposit in the
982 General Revenue Fund.
983 3. Must, before granting a scholarship for an academic
984 year, document each scholarship student’s eligibility for that
985 academic year. A scholarship-funding organization may not grant
986 multiyear scholarships in one approval process.
987 (k) (j) Must maintain separate accounts for scholarship
988 funds and operating funds.
989 (l) (k) With the prior approval of the Department of
990 Education, may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit
991 scholarship-funding organization if additional funds are
992 required to meet scholarship demand at the receiving nonprofit
993 scholarship-funding organization. A transfer is shall be limited
994 to the greater of $500,000 or 20 percent of the total
995 contributions received by the nonprofit scholarship-funding
996 organization making the transfer. All transferred funds must be
997 deposited by the receiving nonprofit scholarship-funding
998 organization into its scholarship accounts. All transferred
999 amounts received by any nonprofit scholarship-funding
1000 organization must be separately disclosed in the annual
1001 financial and compliance audit required in this section.
1002 (m) (l) Must provide to the Auditor General and the
1003 Department of Education a report on the results of an annual
1004 financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records
1005 conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in
1006 accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the
1007 United States, government auditing standards, and rules
1008 promulgated adopted by the Auditor General. The audit report
1009 must be conducted in compliance with generally accepted auditing
1010 standards and must include a report on financial statements
1011 presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting
1012 principles set forth by the American Institute of Certified
1013 Public Accountants for not-for-profit organizations and a
1014 determination of compliance with the statutory eligibility and
1015 expenditure requirements set forth in this section. Audit
1016 reports Audits must be provided to the Auditor General and the
1017 Department of Education within 180 days after completion of the
1018 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization’s fiscal
1019 year. The Auditor General shall review all audit reports
1020 submitted pursuant to this paragraph. The Auditor General shall
1021 request any significant items that were omitted in violation of
1022 a rule adopted by the Auditor General. The items must be
1023 provided within 45 days after the date of the request. If the
1024 scholarship-funding organization does not comply with the
1025 Auditor General’s request, the Auditor General shall notify the
1026 Legislative Auditing Committee.
1027 (n) (m) Must prepare and submit quarterly reports to the
1028 Department of Education pursuant to paragraph (9)(m). In
1029 addition, an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
1030 must submit in a timely manner any information requested by the
1031 Department of Education relating to the scholarship program.
1032 (o) (n)1.a. Must participate in the joint development of
1033 agreed-upon procedures to be performed by an independent
1034 certified public accountant as required under paragraph (8)(e)
1035 if the scholarship-funding organization provided more than
1036 $250,000 in scholarship funds to an eligible private school
1037 under this section during the 2009-2010 state fiscal year. The
1038 agreed-upon procedures must uniformly apply to all private
1039 schools and must determine, at a minimum, whether the private
1040 school has been verified as eligible by the Department of
1041 Education under paragraph (9)(c); has an adequate accounting
1042 system, system of financial controls, and process for deposit
1043 and classification of scholarship funds; and has properly
1044 expended scholarship funds for education-related expenses.
1045 During the development of the procedures, the participating
1046 scholarship-funding organizations shall specify guidelines
1047 governing the materiality of exceptions that may be found during
1048 the accountant’s performance of the procedures. The procedures
1049 and guidelines shall be provided to private schools and the
1050 Commissioner of Education by March 15, 2011.
1051 b. Must participate in a joint review of the agreed-upon
1052 procedures and guidelines developed under sub-subparagraph a.,
1053 by February 2013 and biennially thereafter, if the scholarship
1054 funding organization provided more than $250,000 in scholarship
1055 funds to an eligible private school under this section during
1056 the state fiscal year preceding the biennial review. If the
1057 procedures and guidelines are revised, the revisions must be
1058 provided to private schools and the Commissioner of Education by
1059 March 15, 2013, and biennially thereafter.
1060 c. Must monitor the compliance of a private school with
1061 paragraph (8)(e) if the scholarship-funding organization
1062 provided the majority of the scholarship funding to the school.
1063 For each private school subject to paragraph (8)(e), the
1064 appropriate scholarship-funding organization shall notify the
1065 Commissioner of Education by October 30, 2011, and annually
1066 thereafter of:
1067 (I) A private school’s failure to submit a report required
1068 under paragraph (8)(e); or
1069 (II) Any material exceptions set forth in the report
1070 required under paragraph (8)(e).
1071 2. Must seek input from the accrediting associations that
1072 are members of the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic
1073 Schools when jointly developing the agreed-upon procedures and
1074 guidelines under sub-subparagraph 1.a. and conducting a review
1075 of those procedures and guidelines under sub-subparagraph 1.b.
1076 (p) Must maintain the surety bond or letter of credit
1077 required by subsection (16). The amount of the surety bond or
1078 letter of credit may be adjusted quarterly to equal the actual
1079 amount of undisbursed funds based upon submission by the
1080 organization of a statement from a certified public accountant
1081 verifying the amount of undisbursed funds. The requirements of
1082 this paragraph are waived if the cost of acquiring a surety bond
1083 or letter of credit exceeds the average 10-year cost of
1084 acquiring a surety bond or letter of credit by 200 percent. The
1085 requirements of this paragraph are waived for a state
1086 university; or an independent college or university which is
1087 eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida
1088 Resident Access Grant Program, located and chartered in this
1089 state, is not for profit, and is accredited by the Commission on
1090 Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
1091 (q) Must provide to the Auditor General any information or
1092 documentation requested in connection with an operational audit
1093 of a scholarship funding organization conducted pursuant to s.
1096 Any and all Information and documentation provided to the
1097 Department of Education and the Auditor General relating to the
1098 identity of a taxpayer that provides an eligible contribution
1099 under this section shall remain confidential at all times in
1100 accordance with s. 213.053.
1101 (7) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
1103 (e) The parent shall ensure that the student participating
1104 in the scholarship program takes the norm-referenced assessment
1105 offered by the private school. The parent may also choose to
1106 have the student participate in the statewide assessments
1107 pursuant to s. 1008.22. If the parent requests that the student
1108 participating in the scholarship program take statewide
1109 assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 and the private school has
1110 not chosen to offer and administer the statewide assessments,
1111 the private school parent is responsible for transporting the
1112 student in a manner as agreed upon by the parent, which may
1113 include but not be limited to transportation by the parent, to
1114 the assessment site designated by the school district, and for
1115 making arrangements for the student to take the assessments at
1116 an assessment site designated by the school district in
1117 accordance with the district’s assessment schedule.
1118 (g) The parent shall authorize the nonprofit scholarship
1119 funding organization to access information needed for income
1120 eligibility determination and verification held by other state
1121 or federal agencies, including the Department of Revenue, the
1122 Department of Children and Families, the Department of
1123 Education, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and the
1124 Agency for Health Care Administration.
1125 (8) PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—An eligible
1126 private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and must:
1127 (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
1128 the educational needs of the student by:
1129 1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
1130 explanation of the student’s progress.
1131 2. Annually administering or making provision for students
1132 participating in the scholarship program in grades 3 through 10
1133 to take one of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified
1134 by the Department of Education or the statewide assessments
1135 pursuant to s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom
1136 standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this
1137 requirement. A participating private school must report a
1138 student’s scores to the parent. A participating private school
1139 must annually report by August 15 the scores of all
1140 participating students to the Learning System Institute
1141 independent research organization described in paragraph (9)(j).
1142 3. Providing Cooperating with the scholarship student whose
1143 parent chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
1144 assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22, transportation in a manner
1145 as agreed upon by the parent, which may include but not limited
1146 to transportation by the parent, to the assessment site
1147 designated by the school district, and making arrangements for
1148 the student to take the assessments at an assessment site
1149 designated by the school district in accordance with the
1150 district’s assessment schedule or, if a private school chooses
1151 to offer the statewide assessments, administering the
1152 assessments at the school.
1153 a. A participating private school may choose to offer and
1154 administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend
1155 the private school in grades 3 through 10.
1156 b. A participating private school must submit a request in
1157 writing to the Department of Education by March 1 of each year
1158 in order to administer the statewide assessments in the
1159 subsequent school year.
1160 (e) Annually contract with an independent certified public
1161 accountant to perform the agreed-upon procedures developed under
1162 paragraph (6)(o) (6)(n) and produce a report of the results if
1163 the private school receives more than $250,000 in funds from
1164 scholarships awarded under this section in the 2010-2011 state
1165 fiscal year or a state fiscal year thereafter. A private school
1166 subject to this paragraph must submit the report by September
1167 15, 2011, and annually thereafter to the scholarship-funding
1168 organization that awarded the majority of the school’s
1169 scholarship funds. The agreed-upon procedures must be conducted
1170 in accordance with attestation standards established by the
1171 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
1173 The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
1174 this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
1175 of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
1176 as determined by the Department of Education.
1177 (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of
1178 Education shall:
1179 (d) Annually verify the eligibility of expenditures as
1180 provided in paragraph (6)(d) using the audit required by
1181 paragraph (6)(m) and s. 11.45(2)(k) (6)(l).
1182 (j) Issue a project grant award to the Learning System
1183 Institute at the Florida State University Select an independent
1184 research organization, which may be a public or private entity
1185 or university, to which participating private schools must
1186 report the scores of participating students on the nationally
1187 norm-referenced tests or the statewide assessments administered
1188 by the private school in grades 3 through 10. The project term
1189 is 2 years, and the amount of the project is up to $500,000 per
1190 year. The project grant award must be reissued in 2 year
1191 intervals in accordance with this paragraph.
1192 1. The Learning System Institute independent research
1193 organization must annually report to the Department of Education
1194 on the student performance year-to-year learning gains of
1195 participating students:
1196 a. On a statewide basis. The report shall also include, to
1197 the extent possible, a comparison of scholarship students’
1198 performance these learning gains to the statewide student
1199 performance learning gains of public school students with
1200 socioeconomic backgrounds similar to those of students
1201 participating in the scholarship program. To minimize costs and
1202 reduce time required for the Learning System Institute’s
1203 independent research organization’s analysis and evaluation, the
1204 Department of Education shall coordinate with the Learning
1205 System Institute to provide data to the Learning System
1206 Institute in order to conduct analyses of matched students from
1207 public school assessment data and calculate control group
1208 student performance learning gains using an agreed-upon
1209 methodology outlined in the contract with the Learning System
1210 Institute independent research organization; and
1211 b. On an individual school basis. The annual report must
1212 include student performance for each participating private
1213 school in which at least 51 percent of the total enrolled
1214 students in the private school participated in the Florida Tax
1215 Credit Scholarship Program in the prior school year. The report
1216 shall be according to each participating private school, and for
1217 participating students, in which there are at least 30
1218 participating students who have scores for tests administered
1219 during or after the 2009-2010 school year for 2 consecutive
1220 years at that private school. If the Learning System Institute
1221 determines that the 30 participating student cell size may be
1222 reduced without disclosing personally identifiable information,
1223 as described in 34 C.F.R. 99.12, of a participating student, the
1224 Learning System Institute may reduce the participating student
1225 cell size, but the cell size must not be reduced to less than 10
1226 participating students. The department shall provide each
1227 private school’s prior school year’s student enrollment
1228 information to the Learning System Institute no later than June
1229 15 of each year, or as requested by the Learning System
1231 2. The sharing and reporting of student performance
1232 learning gain data under this paragraph must be in accordance
1233 with requirements of s. 1002.22, s. 1002.221, 20 U.S.C. s.
1234 1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the
1235 applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto, and
1236 shall be for the sole purpose of creating the annual report
1237 required by subparagraph 1. All parties must preserve the
1238 confidentiality of such information as required by law. The
1239 annual report must not disaggregate data to a level that will
1240 identify individual participating schools, except as required
1241 under sub-subparagraph 1.b., or disclose the academic level of
1242 individual students.
1243 3. The annual report required by subparagraph 1. shall be
1244 published by the Department of Education on its website.
1245 (o) Provide a process to match the direct certification
1246 list with the scholarship application data submitted by any
1247 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization eligible to receive
1248 the 3-percent administrative allowance under paragraph (6)(j)
1250 (12) SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT AND PAYMENT.—
1251 (a) 1. Except as provided in subparagraph 2., the amount of
1252 a scholarship provided to any student for any single school year
1253 by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization from
1254 eligible contributions shall be for total costs authorized under
1255 paragraph (6)(d), not to exceed annual limits, which shall be
1256 determined as follows:
1257 1.a. For a scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in an
1258 eligible private school :
1259 (I) For the 2009-2010 state fiscal year, the limit shall be
1261 (II) For the 2010-2011 state fiscal year, the limit shall
1262 be 60 percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for that
1264 (III) For the 2011-2012 state fiscal year and thereafter,
1265 the limit shall be determined by multiplying the unweighted FTE
1266 funding amount in that state fiscal year by the percentage used
1267 to determine the limit in the prior state fiscal year. However,
1268 in each state fiscal year that the tax credit cap amount
1269 increases pursuant to paragraph (5)(a) subparagraph (5)(a)2.,
1270 the prior year percentage shall be increased by 4 percentage
1271 points and the increased percentage shall be used to determine
1272 the limit for that state fiscal year. If the percentage so
1273 calculated reaches 80 percent in a state fiscal year, no further
1274 increase in the percentage is allowed and the limit shall be 80
1275 percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for that state
1276 fiscal year and thereafter. Beginning in the 2016-2017 state
1277 fiscal year, the amount of a scholarship awarded to a student
1278 enrolled in an eligible private school shall be equal to 82
1279 percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for that state
1280 fiscal year and thereafter.
1281 b. For a scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in a
1282 Florida public school that is located outside the district in
1283 which the student resides or in a lab school as defined in s.
1284 1002.32, the limit shall be $500.
1285 2. The annual limit for a scholarship under sub
1286 subparagraph 1.a. shall be reduced by:
1287 a. Twenty-five percent if the student’s household income
1288 level is equal to or greater than 200 percent, but less than 215
1289 percent, of the federal poverty level.
1290 b. Fifty percent if the student’s household income level is
1291 equal to or greater than 215 percent, but equal to or less than
1292 230 percent, of the federal poverty level.
1293 (16) NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS;
1294 APPLICATION.—In order to participate in the scholarship program
1295 created under this section, a charitable organization that seeks
1296 to be a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must submit
1297 an application for initial approval or renewal to the Office of
1298 Independent Education and Parental Choice no later than
1299 September 1 of each year before the school year for which the
1300 organization intends to offer scholarships.
1301 (a) An application for initial approval must include:
1302 1. A copy of the organization’s incorporation documents and
1303 registration with the Division of Corporations of the Department
1304 of State.
1305 2. A copy of the organization’s Internal Revenue Service
1306 determination letter as a s. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit
1308 3. A description of the organization’s financial plan that
1309 demonstrates sufficient funds to operate throughout the school
1311 4. A description of the geographic region that the
1312 organization intends to serve and an analysis of the demand and
1313 unmet need for eligible students in that area.
1314 5. The organization’s organizational chart.
1315 6. A description of the criteria and methodology that the
1316 organization will use to evaluate scholarship eligibility.
1317 7. A description of the application process, including
1318 deadlines and any associated fees.
1319 8. A description of the deadlines for attendance
1320 verification and scholarship payments.
1321 9. A copy of the organization’s policies on conflict of
1322 interest and whistleblowers.
1323 10. A copy of a surety bond or letter of credit in an
1324 amount equal to 25 percent of the scholarship funds anticipated
1325 for each school year or $100,000, whichever is greater.
1326 (b) In addition to the information required by
1327 subparagraphs (a)1.-9., an application for renewal must include:
1328 1. A surety bond or letter of credit equal to the amount of
1329 undisbursed donations held by the organization based on the
1330 annual report submitted pursuant to paragraph (6)(m). The amount
1331 of the surety bond or letter of credit must be at least
1332 $100,000, but not more than $25 million.
1333 2. The organization’s completed Internal Revenue Service
1334 Form 990 submitted no later than November 30 of the year before
1335 the school year that the organization intends to offer the
1336 scholarships, notwithstanding the September 1 application
1338 3. A copy of the statutorily required audit to the
1339 Department of Education and Auditor General.
1340 4. An annual report that includes:
1341 a. The number of students who completed applications, by
1342 county and by grade.
1343 b. The number of students who were approved for
1344 scholarships, by county and by grade.
1345 c. The number of students who received funding for
1346 scholarships within each funding category, by county and by
1348 d. The amount of funds received, the amount of funds
1349 distributed in scholarships, and an accounting of remaining
1350 funds and the obligation of those funds.
1351 e. A detailed accounting of how the organization spent the
1352 administrative funds allowable under paragraph (6)(j).
1353 (c) In consultation with the Department of Revenue and the
1354 Chief Financial Officer, the Office of Independent Education and
1355 Parental Choice shall review the application. The Department of
1356 Education shall notify the organization in writing of any
1357 deficiencies within 30 days after receipt of the application and
1358 allow the organization 30 days to correct any deficiencies.
1359 (d) Within 30 days after receipt of the finalized
1360 application by the Office of Independent Education and Parental
1361 Choice, the Commissioner of Education shall recommend approval
1362 or disapproval of the application to the State Board of
1363 Education. The State Board of Education shall consider the
1364 application and recommendation at the next scheduled meeting,
1365 adhering to appropriate meeting notice requirements. If the
1366 State Board of Education disapproves the organization’s
1367 application, it shall provide the organization with a written
1368 explanation of that determination. The State Board of
1369 Education’s action is not subject to chapter 120.
1370 (e) If the State Board of Education disapproves the renewal
1371 of a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, the
1372 organization must notify the affected eligible students and
1373 parents of the decision within 15 days after disapproval. An
1374 eligible student affected by the disapproval of an
1375 organization’s participation remains eligible under this section
1376 until the end of the school year in which the organization was
1377 disapproved. The student must apply and be accepted by another
1378 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization for the
1379 upcoming school year. The student shall be given priority in
1380 accordance with paragraph (6)(f).
1381 (f) All remaining funds held by a nonprofit scholarship
1382 funding organization that is disapproved for participation must
1383 revert to the Department of Revenue for redistribution to other
1384 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations.
1385 (g) A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization is a
1386 renewing organization if it maintains continuous approval and
1387 participation in the program. An organization that chooses not
1388 to participate for 1 year or more or is disapproved to
1389 participate for 1 year or more must submit an application for
1390 initial approval in order to participate in the program again.
1391 (h) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules
1392 providing guidelines for receiving, reviewing, and approving
1393 applications for new and renewing nonprofit scholarship-funding
1394 organizations. The rules must include a process for compiling
1395 input and recommendations from the Chief Financial Officer, the
1396 Department of Revenue, and the Department of Education. The
1397 rules must also require that the nonprofit scholarship-funding
1398 organization make a brief presentation to assist the State Board
1399 of Education in its decision.
1400 (i) A state university; or an independent college or
1401 university which is eligible to participate in the William L.
1402 Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program, located and
1403 chartered in this state, is not for profit, and is accredited by
1404 the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of
1405 Colleges and Schools, is exempt from the initial or renewal
1406 application process, but must file a registration notice with
1407 the Department of Education to be an eligible nonprofit
1408 scholarship-funding organization. The State Board of Education
1409 shall adopt rules that identify the procedure for filing the
1410 registration notice with the department. The rules must identify
1411 appropriate reporting requirements for fiscal, programmatic, and
1412 performance accountability purposes consistent with this
1413 section, but shall not exceed the requirements for eligible
1414 nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations for charitable
1415 organizations. An nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
1416 that becomes eligible pursuant to this paragraph may begin
1417 providing scholarships to participating students in the 2015
1418 2016 school year.
1419 Section 4. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
1420 whose application for participation in the program established
1421 by s. 1002.395, Florida Statutes, was approved before July 1,
1422 2014, must, by August 1, 2014, provide a copy of a surety bond
1423 or letter of credit meeting the requirements of s. 1002.395(16),
1424 Florida Statutes, to the Office of Independent Education and
1425 Parental Choice.
1426 Section 5. Present subsection (10) of section 1003.4282,
1427 Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (11), and a new
1428 subsection (10) is added to that section, to read:
1429 1003.4282 Requirements for a standard high school diploma.—
1430 (10) STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.—Beginning with students
1431 entering grade 9 in the 2014-2015 school year, this subsection
1432 applies to a student with a disability.
1433 (a) A parent of the student with a disability shall, in
1434 collaboration with the individual education plan (IEP) team
1435 during the transition planning process pursuant to s. 1003.5716,
1436 declare an intent for the student to graduate from high school
1437 with either a standard high school diploma or a certificate of
1438 completion. A student with a disability who does not satisfy the
1439 standard high school diploma requirements pursuant to this
1440 section shall be awarded a certificate of completion.
1441 (b) The following options, in addition to the other options
1442 specified in this section, may be used to satisfy the standard
1443 high school diploma requirements, as specified in the student’s
1444 individual education plan:
1445 1. For a student with a disability for whom the IEP team
1446 has determined that the Florida Alternate Assessment is the most
1447 appropriate measure of the student’s skills:
1448 a. A combination of course substitutions, assessments,
1449 industry certifications, and other acceleration options
1450 appropriate to the student’s unique skills and abilities that
1451 meet the criteria established by State Board of Education rule.
1452 b. A portfolio of quantifiable evidence that documents a
1453 student’s mastery of academic standards through rigorous metrics
1454 established by State Board of Education rule. A portfolio may
1455 include, but is not limited to, documentation of work
1456 experience, internships, community service, and postsecondary
1458 2. For a student with a disability for whom the IEP team
1459 has determined that mastery of academic and employment
1460 competencies is the most appropriate way for a student to
1461 demonstrate his or her skills:
1462 a. Documented completion of the number of course credits
1463 prescribed by the district school board in the district student
1464 progression plan pursuant to s. 1008.25.
1465 b. Documented achievement of all annual goals and short
1466 term objectives for academic and employment competencies and
1467 industry certifications specified in the student’s transition
1468 plan. The documentation must be verified by the IEP team.
1469 c. Documented successful employment for the number of hours
1470 per week specified in the student’s transition plan, for the
1471 equivalent of 1 semester, and payment of a minimum wage in
1472 compliance with the requirements of the federal Fair Labor
1473 Standards Act.
1474 d. Documented mastery of the academic and employment
1475 competencies and industry certifications specified in the
1476 student’s transition plan. The documentation must be verified by
1477 the IEP team, the employer, and the teacher. The transition plan
1478 must be developed and signed by the student, parent, teacher,
1479 and employer before placement in employment and must identify
1480 the following:
1481 (I) The expected academic and employment competencies and
1482 industry certifications;
1483 (II) The criteria for determining and certifying mastery of
1484 the competencies;
1485 (III) The work schedule and the minimum number of hours to
1486 be worked per week; and
1487 (IV) A description of the supervision to be provided by the
1488 school district.
1490 The State Board of Education shall adopt rules under ss.
1491 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this subparagraph, including
1492 rules that establish the minimum requirements for students
1493 described in this subparagraph to earn a standard high school
1495 (c) A student with a disability who meets the standard high
1496 school diploma requirements in this section may defer the
1497 receipt of a standard high school diploma if the student:
1498 1. Has an individual education plan that prescribes special
1499 education, transition planning, transition services, or related
1500 services through age 21; and
1501 2. Is enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction
1502 pursuant to s. 1007.27, industry certification courses that lead
1503 to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses
1504 necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a
1505 structured work-study, internship, or preapprenticeship program.
1506 (d) A student with a disability who receives a certificate
1507 of completion and has an individual education plan that
1508 prescribes special education, transition planning, transition
1509 services, or related services through 21 years of age may
1510 continue to receive the specified instruction and services.
1511 (e) Any waiver of the statewide, standardized assessment
1512 requirements by the individual education plan team, pursuant to
1513 s. 1008.22(3)(c), must be approved by the parent and is subject
1514 to verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
1515 selected by the parent as provided for in s. 1003.572.
1516 Section 6. Effective July 1, 2015, section 1003.438,
1517 Florida Statutes, is repealed.
1518 Section 7. Section 1003.5716, Florida Statutes, is created
1519 to read:
1520 1003.5716 Transition to postsecondary education and career
1521 opportunities.—All students with disabilities who are 3 years of
1522 age to 21 years of age have the right to a free, appropriate
1523 public education. As used in this section, the term “IEP” means
1524 individual education plan.
1525 (1) To ensure quality planning for a successful transition
1526 of a student with a disability to postsecondary education and
1527 career opportunities, an IEP team shall begin the process of,
1528 and develop an IEP for, identifying the need for transition
1529 services before the student with a disability attains the age of
1530 14 years in order for his or her postsecondary goals and career
1531 goals to be identified and in place when he or she attains the
1532 age of 16 years. This process must include, but is not limited,
1534 (a) Consideration of the student’s need for instruction in
1535 the area of self-determination and self-advocacy to assist the
1536 student’s active and effective participation in an IEP meeting;
1538 (b) Preparation for the student to graduate from high
1539 school with a standard high school diploma pursuant to s.
1540 1003.4282 with a Scholar designation unless the parent chooses a
1541 Merit designation.
1542 (2) Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect
1543 when the student turns 16, or younger, if determined appropriate
1544 by the parent and the IEP team, the IEP must include the
1545 following statements that must be updated annually:
1546 (a) A statement of intent to pursue a standard high school
1547 diploma and a Scholar or Merit designation, pursuant to s.
1548 1003.4285, as determined by the parent.
1549 (b) A statement of intent to receive a standard high school
1550 diploma before the student reaches the age of 22 and a
1551 description of how the student will fully meet the requirements
1552 in s. 1003.428 or s. 1003.4282, as applicable, including, but
1553 not limited to, a portfolio pursuant to s. 1003.4282(10)(b) that
1554 meets the criteria specified in State Board of Education rule.
1555 The IEP must also specify the outcomes and additional benefits
1556 expected by the parent and the IEP team at the time of the
1557 student’s graduation.
1558 (c) A statement of appropriate measurable long-term
1559 postsecondary education and career goals based upon age
1560 appropriate transition assessments related to training,
1561 education, employment, and, if appropriate, independent living
1562 skills and the transition services, including courses of study
1563 needed to assist the student in reaching those goals.
1564 (3) Any change in the IEP for the goals specified in
1565 subsection (2) must be approved by the parent and is subject to
1566 verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
1567 selected by the parent as provided in s. 1003.572.
1568 (4) If a participating agency responsible for transition
1569 services, other than the school district, fails to provide the
1570 transition services described in the IEP, the school district
1571 shall reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies
1572 to meet the transition objectives for the student that are
1573 specified in the IEP. However, this does not relieve any
1574 participating agency of the responsibility to provide or pay for
1575 any transition service that the agency would otherwise provide
1576 to students with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria
1577 of that agency.
1578 Section 8. Subsection (3) of section 1003.572, Florida
1579 Statutes, is amended to read:
1580 1003.572 Collaboration of public and private instructional
1582 (3) Private instructional personnel who are hired or
1583 contracted by parents to collaborate with public instructional
1584 personnel must be permitted to observe the student in the
1585 educational setting, collaborate with instructional personnel in
1586 the educational setting, and provide services in the educational
1587 setting according to the following requirements:
1588 (a) The student’s public instructional personnel and
1589 principal consent to the time and place.
1590 (b) The private instructional personnel satisfy the
1591 requirements of s. 1012.32 or s. 1012.321.
1593 For the purpose of implementing this subsection, a school
1594 district may not impose any requirements beyond those
1595 requirements specified in this subsection or charge any fees.
1596 Section 9. Section 1008.2121, Florida Statutes, is created
1597 to read:
1598 1008.2121 Students with severe cognitive or physical
1599 disabilities; permanent exemption.—Based on information that a
1600 reasonably prudent person would rely upon, including, but not
1601 limited to, facts contained within an individual education plan
1602 under s. 1008.212, documentation from an appropriate health care
1603 provider, or certification from the district school board
1604 superintendent, the Commissioner of Education shall
1605 perfunctorily grant a permanent exemption to a student who
1606 suffers from such a severe cognitive disability or physical
1607 disability that the student permanently lacks the capacity to
1608 take statewide, standardized assessments. The State Board of
1609 Education shall adopt rules to administer this section,
1610 including, but not limited to, expediting the exemption process
1611 to demonstrate the utmost compassion and consideration for
1612 meeting the parent’s and student’s needs.
1613 Section 10. Paragraph (c) of subsection (5) and paragraph
1614 (b) of subsection (6) of section 1008.25, Florida Statutes, are
1615 amended to read:
1616 1008.25 Public school student progression; remedial
1617 instruction; reporting requirements.—
1618 (5) READING DEFICIENCY AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION.—
1619 (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial
1620 deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be
1621 notified in writing of the following:
1622 1. That his or her child has been identified as having a
1623 substantial deficiency in reading.
1624 2. A description of the current services that are provided
1625 to the child.
1626 3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional
1627 services and supports that will be provided to the child that
1628 are designed to remediate the identified area of reading
1630 4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated
1631 by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or
1632 she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
1633 5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child
1634 succeed in reading proficiency.
1635 6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is
1636 not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional
1637 evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to
1638 the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing
1639 when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for
1640 grade promotion.
1641 7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a
1642 portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence
1643 required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s
1644 academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a
1645 student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as
1646 being at risk of retention may request that the school
1647 immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
1648 8. 7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for
1649 midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a
1650 retained student at any time during the year of retention once
1651 the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
1652 (6) ELIMINATION OF SOCIAL PROMOTION.—
1653 (b) The district school board may only exempt students from
1654 mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), for good
1655 cause. A student who is promoted to grade 4 with a good cause
1656 exemption shall be provided intensive reading instruction and
1657 intervention that include specialized diagnostic information and
1658 specific reading strategies to meet the needs of each student so
1659 promoted. The school district shall assist schools and teachers
1660 with the implementation of reading strategies for students
1661 promoted with a good cause exemption which research has shown to
1662 be successful in improving reading among students that have
1663 reading difficulties. Good cause exemptions shall be limited to
1664 the following:
1665 1. Limited English proficient students who have had less
1666 than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other
1667 Languages program.
1668 2. Students with disabilities whose individual education
1669 plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment
1670 program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of
1671 State Board of Education rule.
1672 3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of
1673 performance on an alternative standardized reading or English
1674 Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of
1676 4. A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio
1677 that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on FCAT Reading
1678 or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
1679 applicable under s. 1008.22.
1680 5. Students with disabilities who participate in FCAT
1681 Reading or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
1682 applicable under s. 1008.22, and who have an individual
1683 education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the
1684 student has received intensive remediation in reading and
1685 English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still
1686 demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in
1687 kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
1688 6. Students who have received intensive reading
1689 intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a
1690 deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in
1691 kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2
1692 years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.
1693 7. 6. Students who have received intensive remediation in
1694 reading and English Language Arts, as applicable under s.
1695 1008.22, for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency
1696 and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade
1697 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. Intensive instruction for
1698 students so promoted must include an altered instructional day
1699 that includes specialized diagnostic information and specific
1700 reading strategies for each student. The district school board
1701 shall assist schools and teachers to implement reading
1702 strategies that research has shown to be successful in improving
1703 reading among low-performing readers.
1704 Section 11. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (c) of
1705 subsection (1) of section 120.81, Florida Statutes, is amended
1706 to read:
1707 120.81 Exceptions and special requirements; general areas.—
1708 (1) EDUCATIONAL UNITS.—
1709 (c) Notwithstanding s. 120.52(16), any tests, test scoring
1710 criteria, or testing procedures relating to student assessment
1711 which are developed or administered by the Department of
1712 Education pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.438, s.
1713 1008.22, or s. 1008.25, or any other statewide educational tests
1714 required by law, are not rules.
1715 Section 12. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (a) of
1716 subsection (2) of section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended
1717 to read:
1718 409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
1719 (2) POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION SERVICES AND SUPPORT.—
1720 (a) A young adult is eligible for services and support
1721 under this subsection if he or she:
1722 1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
1723 or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
1724 years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
1725 court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
1726 months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
1727 preceding such placement or adoption;
1728 2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
1729 his or her 18th birthday;
1730 3. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
1731 pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, or s.
1732 1003.435 , or s. 1003.438;
1733 4. Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
1734 or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
1735 institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
1736 section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
1737 vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
1738 he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
1739 challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
1740 attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
1741 other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
1742 his or her academic advisor;
1743 5. Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
1745 6. Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
1746 caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
1747 grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
1748 7. Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
1749 which is complete and error free; and
1750 8. Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
1751 community-based care lead agency access to school records.
1752 Section 13. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (4) of
1753 section 1007.263, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1754 1007.263 Florida College System institutions; admissions of
1755 students.—Each Florida College System institution board of
1756 trustees is authorized to adopt rules governing admissions of
1757 students subject to this section and rules of the State Board of
1758 Education. These rules shall include the following:
1759 (4) A student who has been awarded a special diploma as
1760 defined in s. 1003.438 or a certificate of completion as defined
1761 in s. 1003.428(7)(b) is eligible to enroll in certificate career
1762 education programs.
1764 Each board of trustees shall establish policies that notify
1765 students about developmental education options for improving
1766 their communication or computation skills that are essential to
1767 performing college-level work, including tutoring, extended time
1768 in gateway courses, free online courses, adult basic education,
1769 adult secondary education, or private provider instruction.
1770 Section 14. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
1771 act, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law.