Florida Senate - 2019                                    SB 1410
       By Senator Diaz
       36-01421-19                                           20191410__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Hope Scholarship Program;
    3         amending s. 1002.40, F.S.; revising the definition of
    4         the term “school”; revising the Hope Scholarship
    5         Program eligibility requirements; revising the term of
    6         the scholarship so that it remains in force until a
    7         student graduates from high school; revising school
    8         district obligations relating to the program;
    9         authorizing parents of certain public school students
   10         to apply for a scholarship to a private school by
   11         taking a certain action; providing requirements for
   12         the application; authorizing parents of certain
   13         private school students to apply for a transportation
   14         scholarship by taking a certain action; deleting a
   15         requirement for the Department of Education to
   16         contract with an independent entity for a specified
   17         purpose; requiring a parent who applies for a
   18         scholarship to notify the student’s school district
   19         when the parent withdraws his or her student to attend
   20         an eligible private school; providing requirements for
   21         the notification; authorizing eligible nonprofit
   22         scholarship funding organizations to carry forward
   23         certain contributions for a specified purpose;
   24         providing an effective date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Paragraph (j) of subsection (2), subsections
   29  (3), (5), (6), and (8), and paragraph (b) of subsection (9) of
   30  section 1002.40, Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph
   31  (i) is added to subsection (11) of that section, to read:
   32         1002.40 The Hope Scholarship Program.—
   33         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   34         (j) “School” means any educational program or activity
   35  conducted by a public K-12 educational institution, a private
   36  school as defined in s. 1002.01, any school-related or school
   37  sponsored program or activity, and riding on a school bus, as
   38  defined in s. 1006.25(1), including waiting at a school bus
   39  stop.
   40         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—
   41         (a) Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, contingent
   42  upon available funds, and on a first-come, first-served basis, a
   43  student enrolled in a Florida public school or private school in
   44  kindergarten through grade 12 is eligible for a scholarship
   45  under this program if the student reported an incident in
   46  accordance with subsection (6). For purposes of this section,
   47  the term “incident” means battery; harassment; hazing; bullying;
   48  kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses,
   49  harassment, assault, or battery; threat or intimidation; or
   50  fighting at school, as defined by the department in accordance
   51  with s.1006.09(6).
   52         (b)A student enrolled in a Florida private school in
   53  kindergarten through grade 12 is eligible for a transportation
   54  scholarship provided in paragraph (11)(b) if the student
   55  reported an incident in accordance with subsection (6).
   56         (5) TERM OF HOPE SCHOLARSHIP.—For purposes of continuity of
   57  educational choice, a Hope scholarship shall remain in force
   58  until the student returns to public school or graduates from
   59  high school, whichever occurs first. A scholarship student who
   60  enrolls in a public school or public school program is
   61  considered to have returned to a public school for the purpose
   62  of determining the end of the scholarship’s term.
   64         (a) Upon receipt of a report of an incident, the school
   65  principal, or his or her designee, shall provide a copy of the
   66  report to the parent and investigate the incident to determine
   67  if the incident must be reported as required by s. 1006.09(6).
   68  Within 24 hours after receipt of the report, the principal or
   69  his or her designee shall provide a copy of the report to the
   70  parent of the alleged offender and to the superintendent. Upon
   71  conclusion of the investigation or within 15 days after the
   72  incident was reported, whichever occurs first, the school
   73  district shall notify the parent of the program and offer the
   74  parent an opportunity to enroll his or her student in another
   75  public school that has capacity or to request and receive a
   76  scholarship to attend an eligible private school, subject to
   77  available funding. A parent who chooses to enroll his or her
   78  student in a public school located outside the district in which
   79  the student resides pursuant to s. 1002.31 shall be eligible for
   80  a scholarship to transport the student as provided in paragraph
   81  (11)(b).
   82         (b) For each student participating in the program in an
   83  eligible private school who chooses to participate in the
   84  statewide assessments under s. 1008.22 or the Florida Alternate
   85  Assessment, the school district in which the student resides
   86  must notify the student and his or her parent about the
   87  locations and times to take all statewide assessments.
   88         (c)A parent of a public school student who was subjected
   89  to an incident may apply for a scholarship to a participating
   90  private school by reporting the incident to an approved
   91  scholarship funding organization. The application must include,
   92  at a minimum, the name of the school where the incident
   93  occurred, the date on which the incident occurred, and the type
   94  of incident that occurred.
   95         (d)A parent of a private school student who was subjected
   96  to an incident may apply for a transportation scholarship by
   97  reporting the incident to an approved scholarship funding
   98  organization.
   99         (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
  100  shall:
  101         (a) Cross-check the list of participating scholarship
  102  students with the public school enrollment lists to avoid
  103  duplication.
  104         (b) Maintain a list of nationally norm-referenced tests
  105  identified for purposes of satisfying the testing requirement in
  106  paragraph (9)(f). The tests must meet industry standards of
  107  quality in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
  108         (c) Require quarterly reports by an eligible nonprofit
  109  scholarship-funding organization regarding the number of
  110  students participating in the program, the private schools in
  111  which the students are enrolled, and other information deemed
  112  necessary by the department.
  113         (d) Contract with an independent entity to provide an
  114  annual evaluation of the program by:
  115         1. Reviewing the school bullying prevention education
  116  program, climate, and code of student conduct of each public
  117  school from which 10 or more students transferred to another
  118  public school or private school using the Hope scholarship to
  119  determine areas in the school or school district procedures
  120  involving reporting, investigating, and communicating a parent’s
  121  and student’s rights that are in need of improvement. At a
  122  minimum, the review must include:
  123         a. An assessment of the investigation time and quality of
  124  the response of the school and the school district.
  125         b. An assessment of the effectiveness of communication
  126  procedures with the students involved in an incident, the
  127  students’ parents, and the school and school district personnel.
  128         c. An analysis of school incident and discipline data.
  129         d. The challenges and obstacles relating to implementing
  130  recommendations from the review.
  131         2. Reviewing the school bullying prevention education
  132  program, climate, and code of student conduct of each public
  133  school to which a student transferred if the student was from a
  134  school identified in subparagraph 1. in order to identify best
  135  practices and make recommendations to a public school at which
  136  the incidents occurred.
  137         3. Reviewing the performance of participating students
  138  enrolled in a private school in which at least 51 percent of the
  139  total enrolled students in the prior school year participated in
  140  the program and in which there are at least 10 participating
  141  students who have scores for tests administered.
  142         4. Surveying the parents of participating students to
  143  determine academic, safety, and school climate satisfaction and
  144  to identify any challenges to or obstacles in addressing the
  145  incident or relating to the use of the scholarship.
  147  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for a Hope scholarship is
  148  exercising his or her parental option to place his or her
  149  student in an eligible private school.
  150         (b) The parent must notify inform the student’s school
  151  district when the parent withdraws his or her student to attend
  152  an eligible private school. The notification must indicate that
  153  the student was subjected to an incident that qualifies him or
  154  her for a Hope Scholarship.
  155         (11) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
  156         (i) An eligible nonprofit scholarship funding organization
  157  may carry forward contributions in a state fiscal year to ensure
  158  continuity of scholarships in the following state fiscal year.
  159  At the end of each state fiscal year, an eligible nonprofit
  160  scholarship funding organization may redirect unspent
  161  contributions in excess of 5 percent of the total contributions
  162  to fund scholarships for students under s. 1002.395 in the
  163  following state fiscal year.
  164         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.