Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1164
       By Senator Perry
       8-00236B-20                                           20201164__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Gardiner Scholarship; amending
    3         s. 1002.385, F.S.; revising eligibility requirements
    4         for the Gardiner Scholarship Program; revising an
    5         authorized use of scholarship funds; providing that
    6         scholarship funds may be spent for tuition and fees
    7         associated with programs relating to art, music, or
    8         theater; providing requirements for instructors of
    9         such programs; revising terms under which a student’s
   10         scholarship account is closed and program funds revert
   11         to the state; authorizing certain students to continue
   12         spending scholarship funds under certain
   13         circumstances; revising a certain obligation of
   14         scholarship-funding organizations; providing an
   15         effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3), subsection (5),
   20  paragraph (b) of subsection (6), subsection (11), and paragraph
   21  (j) of subsection (12) of section 1002.385, Florida Statutes,
   22  are amended to read:
   23         1002.385 The Gardiner Scholarship.—
   24         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
   25  disability may request and receive from the state a Gardiner
   26  Scholarship for the purposes specified in subsection (5) if:
   27         (a) The student:
   28         1. Is a resident of this state;
   29         2. Is 3 or 4 years of age on or before September 1 of the
   30  year in which the student applies for program participation, or
   31  is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a
   32  public school in this state;
   33         3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d); and
   34         4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
   35  rules of the State Board of Education or with the applicable
   36  rules of another state or has received a diagnosis of a
   37  disability from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or
   38  chapter 459, a psychologist who is licensed under chapter 490,
   39  or a physician who holds an active license issued by another
   40  state or territory of the United States, the District of
   41  Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
   43  A student with a disability who meets the requirements of this
   44  paragraph, but who turns 3 years of age after September 1, may
   45  be determined to be eligible for a Gardiner Scholarship on or
   46  after his or her third birthday if program funds are available
   47  and there are no other students on the wait list.
   48         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds must be
   49  used to meet the individual educational needs of an eligible
   50  student and may be spent for the following purposes:
   51         (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
   52  digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
   53  allow a student to access instruction or instructional content
   54  and training on the use of and maintenance agreements for these
   55  devices.
   56         (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(b).
   57         (c) Specialized services by approved providers or by a
   58  hospital in this state which are selected by the parent. These
   59  specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
   60         1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
   61  627.6686 and 641.31098.
   62         2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
   63  defined in s. 468.1125.
   64         3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
   65         4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
   66  s. 486.021.
   67         5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
   68  specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
   69  child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
   70  implant or assistive hearing device.
   71         (d) Tuition or fees associated with full-time or part-time
   72  enrollment in a home education program, an eligible private
   73  school, an eligible postsecondary educational institution or a
   74  program offered by the postsecondary institution, a private
   75  tutoring program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program
   76  offered by a department-approved private online provider that
   77  meets the provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a),
   78  the Florida Virtual School as a private paying student, or an
   79  approved online course offered pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s.
   80  1004.0961.
   81         (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
   82  achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
   83  certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
   84  education, or other assessments.
   85         (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
   86  College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98 or the Florida College
   87  Savings Program pursuant to s. 1009.981, for the benefit of the
   88  eligible student.
   89         (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
   90  school district, including classes. A student who receives
   91  services under a contract under this paragraph is not considered
   92  enrolled in a public school for eligibility purposes as
   93  specified in subsection (4).
   94         (h) Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services
   95  provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s
   96  certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56; a person who holds an
   97  adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; a person
   98  who has a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in the subject
   99  area in which instruction is given; or a person who has
  100  demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant to s.
  101  1012.56(5). As used in this paragraph, the term “part-time
  102  tutoring services” does not qualify as regular school attendance
  103  as defined in s. 1003.01(13)(e).
  104         (i) Fees for specialized summer education programs.
  105         (j) Fees for specialized after-school education programs.
  106         (k) Transition services, including a coordinated set of
  107  activities that are focused on improving the academic and
  108  functional achievement of the student to facilitate his or her
  109  movement from school to post-school activities and are based on
  110  the individual student’s needs. Transition services may be
  111  provided by job coaches.
  112         (l) Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress
  113  by a state-certified teacher under s. 1002.41(1)(f), if this
  114  option is chosen for a home education student.
  115         (m) Tuition and fees associated with programs offered by
  116  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers approved
  117  pursuant to s. 1002.55 and school readiness providers approved
  118  pursuant to s. 1002.88.
  119         (n) Fees for services provided at a center that is a member
  120  of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
  121  International.
  122         (o) Fees for services provided by a therapist who is
  123  certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists or
  124  credentialed by the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc.
  125         (p) Tuition or fees associated with enrollment in a
  126  nationally or internationally recognized research-based training
  127  program for a child with a neurological disorder or brain
  128  damage.
  129         (q)Tuition and fees associated with a student’s
  130  participation in a series of classes or lessons relating to art,
  131  music, or theater. The instructor of the classes or lessons
  132  must:
  133         1.Hold a valid or expired Florida educator’s certificate
  134  pursuant to s. 1012.56 in art, music, or theater;
  135         2.Have 3 years of employment experience in art, music, or
  136  theater, as demonstrated by employment records;
  137         3.Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher from a
  138  postsecondary educational institution with a major in music,
  139  art, theater, or drama; or
  140         4.Hold a certification or national accreditation in music,
  141  art, theater, or drama.
  143  A provider of any services receiving payments pursuant to this
  144  subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any moneys from the
  145  Gardiner Scholarship with the parent or participating student in
  146  any manner. A parent, student, or provider of any services may
  147  not bill an insurance company, Medicaid, or any other agency for
  148  the same services that are paid for using Gardiner Scholarship
  149  funds.
  150         (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
  151  educational choice and program integrity:
  152         (b)1. A student’s scholarship account must be closed and
  153  any remaining funds, including, but not limited to,
  154  contributions made to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
  155  College Program or earnings from or contributions made to the
  156  Florida College Savings Program using program funds pursuant to
  157  paragraph (5)(f), shall revert to the state after:
  158         a. Denial or revocation of program eligibility by the
  159  commissioner for fraud or abuse, including, but not limited to,
  160  the student or student’s parent accepting any payment, refund,
  161  or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of any services
  162  received pursuant to subsection (5);
  163         b. Any period of 3 consecutive years after high school
  164  completion or graduation during which the student has not been
  165  enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational institution or
  166  a program offered by the institution; or
  167         c. Two Three consecutive fiscal years in which an account
  168  has been inactive.
  169         2. The commissioner must notify the parent and the
  170  organization when a Gardiner Scholarship account is closed and
  171  program funds revert to the state.
  173  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  174  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  175  determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
  176  meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
  177  student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
  178  Level III services. If a parent receives an IEP and a matrix of
  179  services from the school district pursuant to subsection (7),
  180  the amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
  181  school district completes the matrix.
  182         (a) To satisfy or maintain program eligibility, including
  183  eligibility to receive and spend program payments, the parent
  184  must sign an agreement with the organization and annually submit
  185  a notarized, sworn compliance statement to the organization to:
  186         1. Affirm that the student is enrolled in a program that
  187  meets regular school attendance requirements as provided in s.
  188  1003.01(13)(b)-(d).
  189         2. Affirm that the program funds are used only for
  190  authorized purposes serving the student’s educational needs, as
  191  described in subsection (5).
  192         3. Affirm that the parent is responsible for the education
  193  of his or her student by, as applicable:
  194         a. Requiring the student to take an assessment in
  195  accordance with paragraph (8)(b);
  196         b. Providing an annual evaluation in accordance with s.
  197  1002.41(1)(f); or
  198         c. Requiring the child to take any preassessments and
  199  postassessments selected by the provider if the child is 4 years
  200  of age and is enrolled in a program provided by an eligible
  201  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program provider. A student
  202  with disabilities for whom a preassessment and postassessment is
  203  not appropriate is exempt from this requirement. A participating
  204  provider shall report a student’s scores to the parent.
  205         4. Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
  206  the provider or school if those options are selected by the
  207  parent.
  208         (b) The parent must file an application for initial program
  209  participation with an organization by the dates established
  210  pursuant to this section.
  211         (c) The parent must notify the school district that the
  212  student is participating in the Gardiner Scholarship Program if
  213  the parent chooses to enroll the student in a home education
  214  program as provided in s. 1002.41. This notification is not in
  215  lieu of the required notification a parent must submit to the
  216  district when establishing a home education program pursuant to
  217  s. 1002.41(1)(a).
  218         (d) The parent must enroll his or her child in a program
  219  from a Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program provider
  220  authorized under s. 1002.55, a school readiness provider
  221  authorized under s. 1002.88, or an eligible private school if
  222  either option is selected by the parent.
  223         (e) The parent must annually renew participation in the
  224  program in order for a student to be eligible to receive
  225  funding. A student whose participation in the program is not
  226  renewed may continue to spend scholarship funds that are in his
  227  or her account from prior years unless the account must be
  228  closed pursuant to paragraph (6)(b). Notwithstanding any changes
  229  to the student’s IEP, a student who was previously eligible for
  230  participation in the program shall remain eligible to apply for
  231  renewal. However, for a high-risk child to continue to
  232  participate in the program in the school year after he or she
  233  reaches 6 years of age, the child’s application for renewal of
  234  program participation must contain documentation that the child
  235  has a disability defined in paragraph (2)(d) other than high
  236  risk status.
  237         (f) The parent is responsible for procuring the services
  238  necessary to educate the student. If a parent does not procure
  239  the necessary educational services for the student and the
  240  student’s account has been inactive for 2 consecutive fiscal
  241  years, the student is ineligible and the student’s account must
  242  be closed pursuant to paragraph (6)(b) for additional
  243  scholarship payments until the scholarship funding organization
  244  verifies that expenditures from the account have occurred. When
  245  the student receives a Gardiner Scholarship, the district school
  246  board is not obligated to provide the student with a free
  247  appropriate public education. For purposes of s. 1003.57 and the
  248  Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, a participating
  249  student has only those rights that apply to all other
  250  unilaterally parentally placed students, except that, when
  251  requested by the parent, school district personnel must develop
  252  an individual education plan or matrix level of services.
  253         (g) The parent is responsible for all eligible expenses in
  254  excess of the amount of the Gardiner Scholarship.
  255         (h) The parent may not transfer any prepaid college plan or
  256  college savings plan funds contributed pursuant to paragraph
  257  (5)(f) to another beneficiary while the plan contains funds
  258  contributed pursuant to this section.
  259         (i) The parent may not receive a payment, refund, or rebate
  260  from an approved provider of any services under this program.
  262  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  263  Gardiner Scholarship.
  265  organization may establish Gardiner Scholarships for eligible
  266  students by:
  267         (j) Documenting each scholarship student’s eligibility for
  268  a fiscal year before granting a scholarship for that fiscal year
  269  pursuant to paragraph (3)(b). A student is ineligible for a
  270  scholarship if the student’s account has been inactive for 2
  271  consecutive fiscal years and the student’s account has been
  272  closed pursuant to paragraph (6)(b). However, once an eligible
  273  expenditure is made pursuant to paragraph (11)(f), the student
  274  is eligible for a scholarship based on available funds.
  275         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.