Florida Senate - 2017                              CS for SB 902
       By the Committee on Education; and Senator Simmons
       581-03948-17                                           2017902c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Gardiner Scholarship Program;
    3         amending s. 1002.385, F.S.; redefining the terms
    4         “disability” and “IEP”; defining the term “inactive”;
    5         prohibiting a student who is enrolled in the Florida
    6         School for the Deaf and the Blind from being eligible
    7         for the program; revising the purposes for which
    8         program funds may be used; requiring that a student’s
    9         account be closed and program funds revert to the
   10         state after the account is inactive for a specified
   11         number of years; revising the date upon which certain
   12         private schools must submit a required report;
   13         specifying that certain actions of the private school
   14         are a basis for program ineligibility; revising parent
   15         and student responsibilities for program
   16         participation; revising obligations of scholarship
   17         funding organizations; providing an effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Paragraphs (d) and (h) of subsection (2) of
   22  section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, are amended, present
   23  paragraphs (i) and (j) of that subsection are redesignated as
   24  paragraphs (j) and (k), respectively, a new paragraph (i) is
   25  added to that subsection, paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of
   26  that section is amended, paragraph (e) is added to subsection
   27  (4) of that section, and subsection (5), paragraph (b) of
   28  subsection (6), subsection (8), paragraph (f) of subsection
   29  (11), and paragraph (j) of subsection (12) of that section are
   30  amended, to read:
   31         1002.385 The Gardiner Scholarship.—
   32         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   33         (d) “Disability” means, for a 3- or 4-year-old child or for
   34  a student in kindergarten to grade 12, autism spectrum disorder,
   35  as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
   36  Disorders, Fifth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric
   37  Association; cerebral palsy, as defined in s. 393.063(6); Down
   38  syndrome, as defined in s. 393.063(15); an intellectual
   39  disability, as defined in s. 393.063(24); Phelan-McDermid
   40  syndrome, as defined in s. 393.063(28); Prader-Willi syndrome,
   41  as defined in s. 393.063(29); spina bifida, as defined in s.
   42  393.063(40); being a high-risk child, as defined in s.
   43  393.063(23)(a); muscular dystrophy; and Williams syndrome; rare
   44  diseases which affect patient populations of fewer than 200,000
   45  individuals in the United States; anaphylaxis; or identification
   46  as deaf, visually impaired, hospital or homebound, dual sensory
   47  impaired, or traumatic brain injured, as defined by rules of the
   48  State Board of Education and evidenced by reports from local
   49  school districts. The term “hospital or homebound” includes a
   50  student who has a medically diagnosed physical or psychiatric
   51  condition or illness, as defined by the state board in rule, and
   52  who is confined to the home or hospital for more than 6 months.
   53         (h) “IEP” means individual education plan, regardless of
   54  whether the plan has been reviewed or revised within the last 12
   55  months.
   56         (i)“Inactive” means that eligible expenditures have not
   57  been made from an account funded pursuant to paragraph (13)(d).
   58         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
   59  disability may request and receive from the state a Gardiner
   60  Scholarship for the purposes specified in subsection (5) if:
   61         (a) The student:
   62         1. Is a resident of this state;
   63         2. Is 3 or 4 years of age on or before September 1 of the
   64  year in which the student applies for program participation, or
   65  is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a
   66  public school in this state;
   67         3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d); and
   68         4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
   69  rules of the State Board of Education or with the applicable
   70  rules of another state or has received a diagnosis of a
   71  disability from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or
   72  chapter 459, or a psychologist who is licensed under chapter
   73  490, or a physician who holds an active license issued by
   74  another state or territory of the United States, the District of
   75  Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
   76         (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—A student is not eligible for the
   77  program if he or she is:
   78         (e) Enrolled in the Florida School for the Deaf and the
   79  Blind.
   80         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds must be
   81  used to meet the individual educational needs of an eligible
   82  student and may be spent for the following purposes:
   83         (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
   84  digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
   85  allow a student to access instruction or instructional content
   86  and training on the use of and maintenance agreements for these
   87  devices.
   88         (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(b).
   89         (c) Specialized services by approved providers or by a
   90  hospital in this state which that are selected by the parent.
   91  These specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
   92         1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
   93  627.6686 and 641.31098.
   94         2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
   95  defined in s. 468.1125.
   96         3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
   97         4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
   98  s. 486.021.
   99         5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
  100  specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
  101  child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
  102  implant or assistive hearing device.
  103         (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
  104  enrollment in, a home education program, an eligible private
  105  school, an eligible postsecondary educational institution or a
  106  program offered by the institution, a private tutoring program
  107  authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program offered by a
  108  department-approved private online provider that meets the
  109  provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), the
  110  Florida Virtual School as a private paying student, or an
  111  approved online course offered pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s.
  112  1004.0961.
  113         (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
  114  achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
  115  certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
  116  education, or other assessments.
  117         (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
  118  College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98 or the Florida College
  119  Savings Program pursuant to s. 1009.981, for the benefit of the
  120  eligible student.
  121         (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
  122  school district, including classes. A student who receives
  123  services under a contract under this paragraph is not considered
  124  enrolled in a public school for eligibility purposes as
  125  specified in subsection (4).
  126         (h) Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services
  127  provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s
  128  certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56; a person who holds an
  129  adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; or a person
  130  who has demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge
  131  pursuant to s. 1012.56(5). As used in this paragraph, the term
  132  “part-time tutoring services” does not qualify as regular school
  133  attendance as defined in s. 1003.01(13)(e).
  134         (i) Fees for specialized summer education programs.
  135         (j) Fees for specialized after-school education programs.
  136         (k) Transition services provided by job coaches.
  137         (l) Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress
  138  by a state-certified teacher under s. 1002.41(1)(c), if this
  139  option is chosen for a home education student.
  140         (m) Tuition and fees associated with programs offered by
  141  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers approved
  142  pursuant to s. 1002.55 and school readiness providers approved
  143  pursuant to s. 1002.88.
  144         (n) Fees for services provided at a center that is a member
  145  of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
  146  International.
  147         (o) Fees for services provided by a therapist who is
  148  certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists or
  149  credentialed by the Art Therapy Credentials Board.
  151  A provider of any services receiving payments pursuant to this
  152  subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any moneys from the
  153  Gardiner Scholarship with the parent or participating student in
  154  any manner. A parent, student, or provider of any services may
  155  not bill an insurance company, Medicaid, or any other agency for
  156  the same services that are paid through the Gardiner Scholarship
  157  funds.
  158         (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
  159  educational choice and program integrity:
  160         (b)1. A student’s scholarship account must be closed and
  161  any remaining funds, including, but not limited to,
  162  contributions made to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
  163  College Program or earnings from or contributions made to the
  164  Florida College Savings Program using program funds pursuant to
  165  paragraph (5)(f), shall revert to the state after upon:
  166         a. Denial or revocation of program eligibility by the
  167  commissioner for fraud or abuse, including, but not limited to,
  168  the student or student’s parent accepting any payment, refund,
  169  or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of any services
  170  received pursuant to subsection (5); or
  171         b. After Any period of 3 consecutive years after high
  172  school completion or graduation during which the student has not
  173  been enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
  174  institution or a program offered by the institution; or.
  175         c. Three consecutive fiscal years in which an account has
  176  been inactive.
  177         2. The commissioner must notify the parent and the
  178  organization when a Gardiner Scholarship account is closed and
  179  program funds revert to the state.
  181  private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and shall:
  182         (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools
  183  participating in state school choice scholarship programs
  184  pursuant to s. 1002.421.
  185         (b) Provide to the organization, upon request, all
  186  documentation required for the student’s participation,
  187  including the private school’s and student’s fee schedules.
  188         (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
  189  the educational needs of the student by:
  190         1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
  191  explanation of the student’s progress.
  192         2. Annually administering or making provision for students
  193  participating in the program in grades 3 through 10 to take one
  194  of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified by the
  195  Department of Education or the statewide assessments pursuant to
  196  s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom standardized
  197  testing is not appropriate are exempt from this requirement. A
  198  participating private school shall report a student’s scores to
  199  the parent.
  200         3. Cooperating with the scholarship student whose parent
  201  chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
  202  assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 or, if a private school
  203  chooses to offer the statewide assessments, administering the
  204  assessments at the school.
  205         a. A participating private school may choose to offer and
  206  administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend
  207  the private school in grades 3 through 10.
  208         b. A participating private school shall submit a request in
  209  writing to the Department of Education by March 1 of each year
  210  in order to administer the statewide assessments in the
  211  subsequent school year.
  212         (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
  213  direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
  214  this section at the school’s physical location.
  215         (e) Annually contract with an independent certified public
  216  accountant to perform the agreed-upon procedures developed under
  217  s. 1002.395(6)(o) and produce a report of the results if the
  218  private school receives more than $250,000 in funds from
  219  scholarships awarded under this section in the 2014-2015 state
  220  fiscal year or a state fiscal year thereafter. A private school
  221  subject to this paragraph must submit the report by September
  222  15, 2015, and annually thereafter by August 15 to the
  223  organization that awarded the majority of the school’s
  224  scholarship funds. The agreed-upon procedures must be conducted
  225  in accordance with attestation standards established by the
  226  American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  228  If The inability of a private school is unable to meet the
  229  requirements of this subsection or has in consecutive years had
  230  material exceptions listed in its agreed-upon procedures
  231  reports, there is constitutes a basis for the ineligibility of
  232  the private school to participate in the program as determined
  233  by the commissioner.
  235  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  236  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  237  determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
  238  meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
  239  student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
  240  Level III services. If a parent receives an IEP and a matrix of
  241  services from the school district pursuant to subsection (7),
  242  the amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
  243  school district completes the matrix.
  244         (f) The parent is responsible for procuring the services
  245  necessary to educate the student. If a parent does not procure
  246  the necessary educational services for the student and the
  247  student’s account has been inactive for 2 consecutive fiscal
  248  years, the student is ineligible for additional scholarship
  249  payments until the scholarship-funding organization verifies
  250  that expenditures from the account have occurred. When the
  251  student receives a Gardiner Scholarship, the district school
  252  board is not obligated to provide the student with a free
  253  appropriate public education. For purposes of s. 1003.57 and the
  254  Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, a participating
  255  student has only those rights that apply to all other
  256  unilaterally parentally placed students, except that, when
  257  requested by the parent, school district personnel must develop
  258  an individual education plan or matrix level of services.
  260  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  261  Gardiner Scholarship.
  263  organization may establish Gardiner Scholarships for eligible
  264  students by:
  265         (j) Documenting each scholarship student’s eligibility for
  266  a fiscal year before granting a scholarship for that fiscal year
  267  pursuant to paragraph (3)(b). A student is ineligible for a
  268  scholarship if the student’s account has been inactive for 2
  269  consecutive fiscal years. However, once an eligible expenditure
  270  is made pursuant to paragraph (11)(f), the student is eligible
  271  for a scholarship, based on available funds.
  272         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.