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.
   22  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   24         Section 1. Section 1002.4111, Florida Statutes, is created
   25  to read:
   26         1002.4111 Education recovery scholarship accounts.—
   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).
   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.
   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.
  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.
  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.