Florida Senate - 2022 SB 488 By Senator Brodeur 9-00448A-22 2022488__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to education recovery scholarship 3 accounts; creating s. 1002.4111, F.S.; establishing 4 education recovery scholarship accounts; providing the 5 purpose of the accounts; specifying eligibility 6 requirements; providing requirements for parent and 7 student participation; defining the term “curriculum”; 8 prohibiting providers from sharing scholarship account 9 moneys with parents or students; prohibiting a parent, 10 student, or provider from billing specified entities 11 for the same services that are paid for using 12 scholarship account funds; providing that parents are 13 responsible for certain unreimbursed expenses; 14 providing for administration of the scholarship; 15 specifying Department of Education scholarship 16 obligations; specifying school district scholarship 17 obligations; providing for funding and payment of 18 scholarships; providing immunity from liability for 19 the state; authorizing the State Board of Education to 20 adopt rules; providing an effective date. 21 22 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 23 24 Section 1. Section 1002.4111, Florida Statutes, is created 25 to read: 26 1002.4111 Education recovery scholarship accounts.— 27 (1) EDUCATION RECOVERY SCHOLARSHIP ACCOUNTS.—Education 28 recovery scholarship accounts are established to mitigate 29 learning loss by providing options for students who attend a 30 public school that has been closed because of an emergency. 31 (2) ELIGIBILITY.—Contingent upon available funds 32 appropriated to reading scholarship accounts under s. 1002.411, 33 and on a first-come, first-served basis, a student is eligible 34 for an education recovery scholarship account if that student 35 attends a public school that has been closed for in-person 36 learning for no less than 10 consecutive school days during the 37 school year because of an emergency as defined in s. 252.34(4) 38 and meets one of the following requirements: 39 (a) The student is in grades 3 through 5 and scored below a 40 Level 3 on the grade 3 or grade 5 statewide, standardized 41 English Language Arts or mathematics assessment in the current 42 or prior school year; or 43 (b) The student is in grades 3 through 5 and has been 44 identified as needing additional support based on the school’s 45 early warning system pursuant to s. 1001.42(18)(b). 46 (3) PARENT AND STUDENT REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATION.— 47 (a) For an eligible student to receive an education 48 recovery scholarship, the student’s parent must: 49 1. Submit an application to an eligible nonprofit 50 scholarship-funding organization by the deadline established by 51 such organization; and 52 2. Submit eligible expenses to the eligible nonprofit 53 scholarship-funding organization for reimbursement of qualifying 54 expenditures, which may include only: 55 a. Instructional materials. 56 b. Curriculum. As used in this sub-subparagraph, the term 57 “curriculum” means a complete course of study for a particular 58 content area or grade level, including any required supplemental 59 materials and associated online instruction. 60 c. Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services 61 provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s 62 certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56, a person who holds a 63 baccalaureate or graduate degree in the subject area, a person 64 who holds an adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 65 1012.57, or a person who has demonstrated a mastery of subject 66 area knowledge pursuant to s. 1012.56(5). 67 d. Fees for summer education programs designed to improve 68 mathematics, reading, or literacy skills. 69 e. Fees for after-school education programs designed to 70 improve mathematics, reading, or literacy skills. 71 72 A provider of any services receiving payments pursuant to this 73 paragraph may not share any moneys from the education recovery 74 scholarship with, or provide a refund or rebate of any moneys 75 from such scholarship to, the parent or participating student in 76 any manner. A parent, student, or provider of any services may 77 not bill an insurance company, Medicaid, or any other agency for 78 the same services that are paid for using education recovery 79 scholarship funds. 80 (b) The parent is responsible for the payment of all 81 eligible expenses in excess of the amount in the account in 82 accordance with the terms agreed to between the parent and any 83 providers and may not receive any refund or rebate of any 84 expenditures made in accordance with paragraph (a). 85 (4) ADMINISTRATION.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship 86 funding organization participating in the reading scholarship 87 account program under s. 1002.411 may establish education 88 recovery scholarship accounts for eligible students in 89 accordance with the requirements of eligible nonprofit 90 scholarship-funding organizations under this chapter. 91 (5) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of 92 Education shall: 93 (a) Verify, before the distribution of funds, the 94 eligibility of a student whose family has applied for a 95 scholarship under this section. 96 (b) Require each organization to verify eligible 97 expenditures before the distribution of funds for any 98 expenditures made pursuant to sub-subparagraphs (3)(a)2.a. and 99 b. Review of expenditures made for services specified in sub 100 subparagraphs (3)(a)2.c., d., and e. may be completed after the 101 purchase is made. 102 (c) Require an annual report by each organization which 103 must include, at a minimum, the number of students participating 104 in the program; the demographics of program participants; the 105 total expenditures for the purposes specified in paragraph 106 (3)(a); and any other information deemed necessary by the 107 department. 108 (6) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS.— 109 (a) A school district shall notify the parent of each 110 eligible student within 10 school days after the first day of a 111 qualifying school closure of the process to request and receive 112 an education recovery scholarship, subject to available funds. 113 (b) No later than 20 school days after the first day of a 114 qualifying school closure, a school district shall notify the 115 department of any student at a qualifying public school who is 116 eligible for a scholarship under this section. 117 (7) ACCOUNT FUNDING AND PAYMENT.— 118 (a) The scholarship award shall be as provided in the 119 General Appropriations Act. 120 (b)1. An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding 121 organization may not distribute more than 25 percent of the 122 available remaining funds from the reading scholarships under s. 123 1002.411 before May 1 of each school year. 124 2. On May 1 and thereafter of each school year, an 125 organization may distribute any available remaining funds from 126 the reading scholarship as education recovery scholarships to 127 students eligible under this section. 128 (c) If funds are available from the reading scholarship 129 pursuant to paragraph (b), upon notification from the eligible 130 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization that a student has 131 been determined eligible for an education recovery scholarship, 132 the department must release the student’s scholarship funds to 133 such organization to be deposited into the student’s account. 134 (d) The eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization 135 may develop a system for payment of scholarship funds by funds 136 transfer, including, but not limited to, debit cards, electronic 137 payment cards, or any other means of payment that the department 138 deems to be commercially viable or cost-effective. A student’s 139 scholarship award may not be reduced for debit card or 140 electronic payment fees. Commodities or services related to the 141 development of such a system must be procured by competitive 142 solicitation unless such commodities or services are purchased 143 from a state term contract pursuant to s. 287.056. 144 (e) Payment of the scholarship must be made by the eligible 145 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization no less frequently 146 than on a quarterly basis. 147 (f) Moneys received pursuant to this section do not 148 constitute taxable income to the qualified student or his or her 149 parent. 150 (g) A student’s scholarship account must be closed and any 151 remaining funds must revert to the state after: 152 1. Denial or revocation of scholarship eligibility by the 153 commissioner for fraud or abuse, including, but not limited to, 154 the student or student’s parent accepting any payment, refund, 155 or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of any services 156 received pursuant to subsection (3); or 157 2. One fiscal year in which an account has been inactive. 158 (h) Receipt of an education recovery scholarship does not 159 make a student ineligible for a reading scholarship under s. 160 1002.411. 161 (8) LIABILITY.—No liability shall arise on the part of the 162 state based on the award or use of an education recovery 163 scholarship account. 164 (9) RULES.—The State Board of Education may adopt rules to 165 implement this section. 166 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.