Florida Senate - 2014              PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE
       Bill No. CS for SB 1512
       Proposed Committee Substitute by the Committee on Appropriations
       (Appropriations Subcommittee on Education)
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to education; creating s. 1002.385,
    3         F.S.; establishing the Florida Personal Learning
    4         Scholarship Accounts; defining terms; specifying
    5         criteria for students who are eligible to participate
    6         in the program; identifying certain students who are
    7         not eligible to participate in the program;
    8         authorizing the use of awarded funds for specific
    9         purposes; prohibiting specific providers, schools,
   10         institutions, school districts, and other entities
   11         from sharing, refunding, or rebating program funds;
   12         specifying the terms of the program; providing that
   13         the school district retains all duties, authority, and
   14         responsibilities specified in the Florida K-20
   15         Education Code; specifying the duties of the
   16         Department of Education relating to the program;
   17         providing that the Commissioner of Education retains
   18         all current duties, authority, and responsibilities as
   19         specified in the Florida K-20 Education Code;
   20         requiring the executive director of the Agency for
   21         Persons with Disabilities to deny, suspend, or revoke
   22         participation in the program or use of program funds
   23         under certain circumstances; providing additional
   24         factors under which the executive director may deny,
   25         suspend, or revoke a participation in the program or
   26         program funds; requiring a parent to sign an agreement
   27         with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to
   28         enroll his or her child in the program which specifies
   29         the responsibilities of a parent or student for using
   30         funds in a personal learning scholarship account and
   31         for submitting a compliance statement to the agency;
   32         providing that a parent who fails to comply with the
   33         responsibilities of the agreement forfeits the
   34         personal learning scholarship account; providing
   35         eligibility requirements and obligations for private
   36         schools under the program; specifying agency
   37         obligations under the program; authorizing the agency
   38         to contract for services; providing for funding and
   39         payment; providing the Auditor General’s obligations
   40         under the program; providing that the state is not
   41         liable for the use of awarded funds; providing for the
   42         scope of authority; requiring the agency to adopt
   43         rules; providing for implementation of the program in
   44         a specified school year; providing an appropriation;
   45         amending s. 1003.4282, F.S.; providing standard high
   46         school diploma requirements for certain students with
   47         disabilities; authorizing certain students with
   48         disabilities to continue to receive certain
   49         instructions and services; requiring an independent
   50         review and a parent’s approval to waive statewide,
   51         standardized assessment requirements by the individual
   52         education plan (IEP) team; repealing s. 1003.438,
   53         F.S., relating to special high school graduation
   54         requirements for certain exceptional students;
   55         creating s. 1003.5716, F.S.; providing that certain
   56         students with disabilities have a right to free,
   57         appropriate public education; requiring an IEP team to
   58         begin the process of, and to develop an IEP for,
   59         identifying transition services needs for a student
   60         with a disability before the student attains a
   61         specified age; providing requirements for the process;
   62         requiring certain statements to be included and
   63         annually updated in the IEP; providing that changes in
   64         the goals specified in an IEP are subject to
   65         independent review and parental approval; requiring
   66         the school district to reconvene the IEP team to
   67         identify alternative strategies to meet transition
   68         objectives if a participating agency fails to provide
   69         transition services specified in the IEP; providing
   70         that the agency’s failure does not relieve the agency
   71         of the responsibility to provide or pay for the
   72         transition services that the agency otherwise would
   73         have provided; amending s. 1003.572, F.S.; prohibiting
   74         a school district from imposing additional
   75         requirements on private instructional personnel or
   76         charging fees; creating s. 1008.2121, F.S.; requiring
   77         the Commissioner of Education to permanently exempt
   78         certain students with disabilities from taking
   79         statewide, standardized assessments; requiring the
   80         State Board of Education to adopt rules; amending s.
   81         1008.25, F.S.; requiring written notification relating
   82         to portfolios to a parent of a student with a
   83         substantial reading deficiency; requiring a student
   84         promoted to a certain grade with a good cause
   85         exemption to receive intensive reading instruction and
   86         intervention; requiring a school district to assist
   87         schools and teachers with the implementation of
   88         reading strategies; revising good cause exemptions;
   89         amending ss. 120.81, 409.1451, and 1007.263, F.S.;
   90         conforming cross-references; providing effective
   91         dates.
   93  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   95         Section 1. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is created
   96  to read:
   97         1002.385 Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts.—
   98         (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personal Learning
   99  Scholarship Accounts is established to provide the option for a
  100  parent to better meet the individual educational needs of his or
  101  her eligible child.
  102         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  103         (a) “Agency” means the Agency for Persons with
  104  Disabilities.
  105         (b) “Approved provider” means a provider approved by the
  106  Agency for Persons with Disabilities, a health care practitioner
  107  as defined in s. 456.001(4), or a provider approved by the
  108  Department of Education pursuant to s. 1002.66.
  109         (c) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
  110  particular content area or grade level, including any required
  111  supplemental materials.
  112         (d) “Disability” means, for a student in kindergarten to
  113  grade 12, autism, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral palsy,
  114  as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in s.
  115  393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
  116  393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
  117  393.063(25); Spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); for a
  118  student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as defined in
  119  s. 393.063(20)(a); or Williams syndrome.
  120         (e) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
  121  a Florida College System institution, a state university, a
  122  school district technical center, a school district adult
  123  general education center, or an accredited nonpublic
  124  postsecondary educational institution, as defined in s. 1005.02,
  125  which is licensed to operate in the state pursuant to
  126  requirements specified in part III of chapter 1005.
  127         (f) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
  128  defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
  129  offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
  130  to grade 12, and which meets the requirements of:
  131         1. Sections 1002.42 and 1002.421; and
  132         2. A scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395,
  133  as applicable, if the private school participates in a
  134  scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
  135         (g) “ILSP” means an individual learning services plan that
  136  is developed for a student who participates in the program.
  137         (h) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
  138  parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
  139         (i) “Program” means the Florida Personal Learning
  140  Scholarship Accounts established in this section.
  141         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
  142  disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
  143  personal learning scholarship account for the purposes specified
  144  in subsection (5) if:
  145         (a) The student:
  146         1. Is a resident of this state;
  147         2. Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12
  148  in a public school in this state;
  149         3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d) and
  150  meets the agency’s eligibility criteria;
  151         4. Has an ILSP developed by the agency in consultation with
  152  the parent and written in accordance with rules of the Agency
  153  for Persons with Disabilities; and
  154         5.Complies with regular school attendance pursuant to s.
  155  1003.01(13); and
  156         (b) The parent has applied to the agency to participate in
  157  the program by February 1 prior to the school year in which the
  158  student will participate or an alternate date adopted by the
  159  agency in rule for any vacant, funded slots. The request must be
  160  communicated directly to the agency in a manner that creates a
  161  written or electronic record of the request and the date of
  162  receipt of the request. The agency must notify the school
  163  district and the Department of Education of the parent’s intent
  164  upon receipt of the parent’s request.
  165         (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—A student is not eligible for the
  166  program if:
  167         (a) The student or student’s parent has accepted any
  168  payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
  169  any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
  170         (b) The student’s participation in the program has been
  171  denied or revoked by the executive director of the Agency for
  172  Persons with Disabilities pursuant to subsection (10); or
  173         (c) The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
  174  program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
  175  subsection (11).
  176         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
  177  spent for the following purposes, according to the goals and
  178  objectives identified in the student’s ILSP:
  179         (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
  180  digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
  181  allow a student to access instruction or instructional content.
  182         (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(c).
  183         (c) Specialized services by approved providers that are
  184  selected by the parent and specified in the student’s ILSP.
  185  These specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
  186         1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
  187  627.6686 and 641.31098.
  188         2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
  189  defined in s. 468.1125.
  190         3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
  191         4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
  192  s. 486.021.
  193         5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
  194  specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
  195  child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
  196  implant or assistive hearing device.
  197         (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
  198  enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
  199  postsecondary educational institution, a private tutoring
  200  program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program offered
  201  by a department-approved private online provider that meets the
  202  provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), or an
  203  approved online course offered pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s.
  204  1004.0961.
  205         (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
  206  achievement tests, Advanced Placement examinations, industry
  207  certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
  208  education, or other assessments specified in the student’s ILSP.
  209         (f) Contributions to a Coverdell education savings
  210  established pursuant to 26 U.S.C. s. 530 of the Internal Revenue
  211  Code for the benefit of the eligible student.
  212         (g) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
  213  College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98, for the benefit of the
  214  eligible student.
  215         (h) Contracted services provided by a public school or
  216  school district, including classes for the services specified in
  217  the ILSP or additional services. A student who receives services
  218  under a contract under this paragraph shall not be considered to
  219  be enrolled in a public school for eligibility purposes as
  220  specified in subsection (3).
  222  A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
  223  eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
  224  program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
  225  school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
  226  pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
  227  moneys from a Florida personal learning scholarship account with
  228  the parent or participating student in any manner.
  229         (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
  230  educational choice, the program payments made under this section
  231  shall remain in force until a student participating in the
  232  program participates in any of the prohibited activities
  233  specified in subsection (4), has funds revoked by the agency
  234  pursuant to subsection (10), graduates from high school, or
  235  reaches 22 years of age, whichever occurs first.
  236         (7) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS.—The school district
  237  retains all current duties, authority, and responsibilities as
  238  specified in the Florida K-20 Education Code.
  239         (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
  240  shall:
  241         (a) Maintain a list of eligible private schools as defined
  242  in paragraph (2)(f) and private tutoring programs pursuant to s.
  243  1002.43.
  244         (b) Compare the list of students participating in the
  245  program with the public school enrollment lists before each
  246  program payment to avoid duplicate payments.
  248  The department retains all current duties, authority, and
  249  responsibilities as specified in the Florida K-20 Education
  250  Code.
  252  The Commissioner of Education retains all current duties,
  253  authority, and responsibilities as specified in the Florida K-20
  254  Education Code.
  257         (a) The executive director:
  258         1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
  259  in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  260  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  261         2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  262  program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  263  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  264         3. May deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  265  program funds for material failure to comply with this section
  266  and applicable agency rules if the noncompliance is correctable
  267  within a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, the executive
  268  director shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use for
  269  failure to materially comply with the law and rules adopted
  270  under this section.
  271         4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
  272  date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
  273  section and applicable agency rules. The executive director may
  274  deny, suspend, or revoke program participation under this
  275  section thereafter.
  276         (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke in
  277  accordance with this subsection, the executive director may
  278  consider factors that include, but are not limited to, acts or
  279  omissions by a participating entity which led to a previous
  280  denial or revocation of participation in an education
  281  scholarship program under this chapter; failure to reimburse the
  282  agency for program funds improperly received or retained by the
  283  entity; imposition of a prior criminal sanction related to the
  284  entity or its officers or employees; imposition of a civil fine
  285  or administrative fine, license revocation or suspension, or
  286  program eligibility suspension, termination, or revocation
  287  related to an entity’s management or operation; or other types
  288  of criminal proceedings in which the entity or its officers or
  289  employees were found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or
  290  entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense
  291  involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or moral turpitude.
  293  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  294  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  295  determine the appropriate placement or services that best meet
  296  the needs of his or her student. To enroll an eligible student
  297  in the program, the parent must sign an agreement with the
  298  agency and annually submit a notarized, sworn compliance
  299  statement to the agency to:
  300         (a) Affirm that the student is enrolled in a school or
  301  program that meets minimum student attendance requirements as
  302  provided in s. 1003.21.
  303         (b) Comply with the ILSP and use the program funds only for
  304  authorized purposes to meet the student’s goals and objectives
  305  in the ILSP as described in subsection (2).
  306         (c) Provide for an appropriate assessment that documents
  307  the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level
  308  commensurate with her or his ability, in accordance with the
  309  requirements for the academic program selected by the parent who
  310  enrolls the student in a private school pursuant to paragraph
  311  (2)(f), a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41, or a
  312  scholarship program pursuant to s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
  313         (d) Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
  314  assessments as specified in the student’s ILSP. The parent is
  315  responsible for transporting the student to the assessment site
  316  designated by the school district if the parent selects a
  317  statewide, standardized assessment pursuant to s. 1008.22.
  318         (e)Notify the school district that the student is
  319  participating in the program if the parent chooses to enroll the
  320  student in an eligible private school pursuant to paragraph
  321  (2)(f), a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41, a
  322  scholarship program pursuant to this chapter, or a private
  323  tutoring program authorized under s. 1002.43.
  324         (f) Request participation in the program at least 60 days
  325  before the date of the first program payment.
  326         (g) Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
  327  the provider or school if those options are selected by the
  328  parent.
  329         (h) Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
  330  school option is selected by the parent.
  331         (i) Annually renew participation in the program.
  332         (j) Be responsible for the payment of all eligible expenses
  333  in excess of the amount of the personal learning scholarship
  334  account.
  335         (k) Affirm that the parent will not transfer any college
  336  savings funds to another beneficiary.
  337         (l) Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
  338  funding contributed by the state.
  339         (m) Maintain a portfolio of records and materials which
  340  must be preserved by the parent for 2 years and be made
  341  available for inspection by the district school superintendent
  342  or the superintendent’s designee upon 15 days’ written notice.
  343  This paragraph does not require the superintendent to inspect
  344  the portfolio. The portfolio of records and materials consists
  345  of:
  346         1. A log of educational instruction and services which is
  347  made contemporaneously with delivery of the instruction and
  348  services and which designates by title any reading materials
  349  used; and
  350         2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
  351  creative materials used or developed by the student.
  353  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  354  personal learning scholarship account.
  356  eligible private school as defined in paragraph (2)(f) must:
  357         (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools in ss.
  358  1002.42 and 1002.421. A private school participating in a
  359  scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395 must also
  360  comply with the requirements of that scholarship program.
  361         (b) Provide to the agency, upon request, all documentation
  362  required for the student’s participation, including the private
  363  school’s and student’s fee schedules.
  364         (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
  365  the educational needs of the student.
  366         (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
  367  direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
  368  this section at the school’s physical location.
  370  The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
  371  this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
  372  of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
  373  as determined by the Department of Education.
  375         (a) The agency shall:
  376         1. Monitor and provide oversight for the program.
  377         2. Receive applications and determine student eligibility
  378  in accordance with the requirements of this section. The agency
  379  must notify the Department of Education of the applicants for
  380  the program by February 1 prior to the school year in which the
  381  student intends to participate and indicate how the student will
  382  comply with regular school attendance pursuant to ss.
  383  1003.01(13) and 1003.23.
  384         3.Notify parents of their receipt of a scholarship on a
  385  first-come, first-served basis based upon the funds provided for
  386  this program in the General Appropriations Act.
  387         4.Establish a date by which a parent must confirm initial
  388  or continuing participation in the program and confirm the
  389  establishment or continuance of a personal learning scholarship
  390  account.
  391         5.Establish a date and process by which students on the
  392  wait list or late-filing applicants may be allowed to
  393  participate in the program during the school year, within the
  394  amount of funds provided for this program in the General
  395  Appropriations Act.
  396         6.Develop an ILSP, in consultation with the parent, which
  397  documents the following:
  398         a.That the student has an eligible disability.
  399         b.Learning goals and objectives for the student which are
  400  linked directly to how program funds will be spent for
  401  authorized services.
  402         c.How attendance requirements in s. 1003.21 will be met.
  403         d.How progress towards meeting the individual learning
  404  goals and objectives will be assessed and documented for
  405  purposes of continued participation in the program.
  406         7.Assign a level of services category for each student
  407  that documents the nature and intensity of services that the
  408  student will need to meet the learning outcomes specified in his
  409  or her ILSP. The level of services determines the amount of the
  410  award for the student.
  411         8.Receive an administrative fee of up to 10 percent from
  412  the appropriation to operate the Florida Personal Learning
  413  Scholarship Accounts.
  414         9.Establish and maintain a separate account for each
  415  eligible student.
  416         10. Establish and maintain a list of approved providers
  417  pursuant to paragraph (2)(b).
  418         11.Verify eligible expenditures prior to the distribution
  419  of funds for any expenditures made pursuant to paragraphs (5)(a)
  420  and (b). The review of expenditures for services in paragraphs
  421  (5)(c) through (h) may be completed after the payment has been
  422  made.
  423         12. Develop a system for payment of benefits by electronic
  424  funds transfer, including, but not limited to, debit cards,
  425  electronic payment cards, or any other means of electronic
  426  payment that the agency deems to be commercially viable or cost
  427  effective. Commodities or services related to the development of
  428  such a system shall be procured by competitive solicitation
  429  unless they are purchased from a state term contract pursuant to
  430  s. 287.056.
  431         (b) The agency may contract for services.
  432         (14) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
  433         (a)Funding for the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
  434  Accounts shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act
  435  which shall specify the annual amount per service level for
  436  public school students, private school students, home education
  437  students, students receiving a scholarship pursuant to s.
  438  1002.39 or s. 1002.395, and students participating in a private
  439  tutoring program.
  440         (b) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
  441  postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
  442  consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
  443  student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
  444  institution, the student’s personal learning scholarship account
  445  shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
  446  state.
  447         (c) Moneys received pursuant to this section do not
  448  constitute taxable income to the parent of an eligible student.
  449         (15) OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—The Auditor
  450  General shall conduct an annual financial and operational audit
  451  of accounts and records of the Florida Personal Learning
  452  Scholarship Accounts. As a part of this audit, the Auditor
  453  General shall verify, at a minimum, the total amount of students
  454  served and eligibility of reimbursement made by the agency and
  455  transmit that information to the agency.
  456         (16) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
  457  any use of awarded funds under this section.
  458         (17) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
  459  regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
  460  district to impose additional regulation on participating
  461  private schools, nonpublic postsecondary educational
  462  institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
  463  necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
  464  section.
  465         (18) RULES.—The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall
  466  adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer
  467  this section.
  469  YEAR.—
  470         (a)The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall, in
  471  consultation with an advisory work group, develop an ILSP,
  472  levels of services requirements, a system for payment of claims
  473  and providers, and a system to document and assess progress
  474  toward meeting the individual learning goals and objectives in
  475  the ILSP. The advisory work group shall make specific
  476  recommendations by October 1, 2014, to the agency. The agency
  477  shall adopt rules to implement the recommendations of the
  478  advisory group by December 31, 2014. The Commissioner of
  479  Education, the executive director of the agency, the Chancellor
  480  of the State University System, and the director of the Division
  481  of Vocational Rehabilitation shall appoint staff to work on the
  482  advisory group with representatives from the Center for Autism
  483  and Related Disabilities (CARD) and the Florida Diagnostic and
  484  Learning Resources System (FDLRS).
  485         (b)Notwithstanding the provisions of this section related
  486  to notification and eligibility timelines, the agency may enroll
  487  parents in a statewide pilot program on a rolling schedule on a
  488  first-come, first-served basis, no later than January 31, 2015,
  489  within the amount of funds provided in the General
  490  Appropriations Act.
  491         (c) There is hereby appropriated for the 2014-2015 fiscal
  492  year to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities a sum of
  493  $18,400,000 from the Operations and Maintenance Trust Fund for
  494  the implementation of the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts
  495  Program. From these funds, $1,500,000 shall be allocated to the
  496  Agency for Persons with Disabilities for startup costs for
  497  planning and implementation of the pilot program. For the pilot
  498  program in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the agency shall provide
  499  awards for eligible students which range from $5,000 to $19,000
  500  per recipient and shall be based on service levels established
  501  by the agency. Public school students and students who receive a
  502  scholarship pursuant to ss. 1002.39 and 1002.395 shall receive
  503  50 percent of the designated amount for the student’s service
  504  level.
  505         Section 2. Present subsection (10) of section 1003.4282,
  506  Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (11), and a new
  507  subsection (10) is added to that section, to read:
  508         1003.4282 Requirements for a standard high school diploma.—
  509         (10) STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.—Beginning with students
  510  entering grade 9 in the 2014-2015 school year, this subsection
  511  applies to a student with a disability for whom the IEP team has
  512  determined that the Florida Alternate Assessment is the most
  513  appropriate measure of the student’s skills.
  514         (a) A parent of the student with a disability shall, in
  515  collaboration with the individual education plan team pursuant
  516  to s. 1003.5716, declare an intent for the student to graduate
  517  from high school with either a standard high school diploma or a
  518  certificate of completion. A student with a disability who does
  519  not satisfy the standard high school diploma requirements
  520  pursuant to this section shall be awarded a certificate of
  521  completion.
  522         (b) The following options, in addition to the other options
  523  specified in this section, may be used to satisfy the standard
  524  high school diploma requirements, as specified in the student’s
  525  individual education plan:
  526         1. A combination of course substitutions, assessments,
  527  industry certifications, and other acceleration options
  528  appropriate to the student’s unique skills and abilities that
  529  meet the criteria established by State Board of Education rule.
  530         2. A portfolio of quantifiable evidence that documents a
  531  student’s mastery of academic standards through rigorous metrics
  532  established by State Board of Education rule. A portfolio may
  533  include, but is not limited to, documentation of work
  534  experience, internships, community service, and postsecondary
  535  credit.
  536         (c) A student with a disability who meets the standard high
  537  school diploma requirements in this section may defer the
  538  receipt of a standard high school diploma if the student:
  539         1. Has an individual education plan that prescribes special
  540  education, transition planning, transition services, or related
  541  services through age 21; and
  542         2. Is enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction
  543  pursuant to s. 1007.27, industry certification courses that lead
  544  to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses
  545  necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a
  546  structured work-study, internship, or preapprenticeship program.
  547         (d) A student with a disability who receives a certificate
  548  of completion and has an individual education plan that
  549  prescribes special education, transition planning, transition
  550  services, or related services through 21 years of age may
  551  continue to receive the specified instruction and services.
  552         (e) Any waiver of the statewide, standardized assessment
  553  requirements by the individual education plan team, pursuant to
  554  s. 1008.22(3)(c), must be approved by the parent and is subject
  555  to verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
  556  selected by the parent as provided for in s. 1003.572.
  557         Section 3. Effective July 1, 2015, section 1003.438,
  558  Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  559         Section 4. Section 1003.5716, Florida Statutes, is created
  560  to read:
  561         1003.5716 Transition to postsecondary education and career
  562  opportunities.—All students with disabilities who are 3 years of
  563  age to 21 years of age have the right to a free, appropriate
  564  public education. As used in this section, the term “IEP” means
  565  individual education plan.
  566         (1) To ensure quality planning for a successful transition
  567  of a student with a disability to postsecondary education and
  568  career opportunities, an IEP team shall begin the process of,
  569  and develop an IEP for, identifying the need for transition
  570  services before the student with a disability attains the age of
  571  14 years in order for his or her postsecondary goals and career
  572  goals to be identified and in place when he or she attains the
  573  age of 16 years. This process must include, but is not limited
  574  to:
  575         (a) Consideration of the student’s need for instruction in
  576  the area of self-determination and self-advocacy to assist the
  577  student’s active and effective participation in an IEP meeting;
  578  and
  579         (b) Preparation for the student to graduate from high
  580  school with a standard high school diploma pursuant to s.
  581  1003.4282 with a Scholar designation unless the parent chooses a
  582  Merit designation.
  583         (2) Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect
  584  when the student turns 16, or younger, if determined appropriate
  585  by the parent and the IEP team, the IEP must include the
  586  following statements that must be updated annually:
  587         (a) A statement of intent to pursue a standard high school
  588  diploma and a Scholar or Merit designation, pursuant to s.
  589  1003.4285, as determined by the parent.
  590         (b) A statement of intent to receive a standard high school
  591  diploma before the student reaches the age of 22 and a
  592  description of how the student will fully meet the requirements
  593  in s. 1003.428 or s. 1003.4282, as applicable, including, but
  594  not limited to, a portfolio pursuant to s. 1003.4282(10)(b) that
  595  meets the criteria specified in State Board of Education rule.
  596  The IEP must also specify the outcomes and additional benefits
  597  expected by the parent and the IEP team at the time of the
  598  student’s graduation.
  599         (c) A statement of appropriate measurable long-term
  600  postsecondary education and career goals based upon age
  601  appropriate transition assessments related to training,
  602  education, employment, and, if appropriate, independent living
  603  skills and the transition services, including courses of study
  604  needed to assist the student in reaching those goals.
  605         (3) Any change in the IEP for the goals specified in
  606  subsection (2) must be approved by the parent and is subject to
  607  verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
  608  selected by the parent as provided in s. 1003.572.
  609         (4) If a participating agency responsible for transition
  610  services, other than the school district, fails to provide the
  611  transition services described in the IEP, the school district
  612  shall reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies
  613  to meet the transition objectives for the student that are
  614  specified in the IEP. However, this does not relieve any
  615  participating agency of the responsibility to provide or pay for
  616  any transition service that the agency would otherwise provide
  617  to students with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria
  618  of that agency.
  619         Section 5. Subsection (3) of section 1003.572, Florida
  620  Statutes, is amended to read:
  621         1003.572 Collaboration of public and private instructional
  622  personnel.—
  623         (3) Private instructional personnel who are hired or
  624  contracted by parents to collaborate with public instructional
  625  personnel must be permitted to observe the student in the
  626  educational setting, collaborate with instructional personnel in
  627  the educational setting, and provide services in the educational
  628  setting according to the following requirements:
  629         (a) The student’s public instructional personnel and
  630  principal consent to the time and place.
  631         (b) The private instructional personnel satisfy the
  632  requirements of s. 1012.32 or s. 1012.321.
  634  For the purpose of implementing this subsection, a school
  635  district may not impose any requirements beyond those
  636  requirements specified in this subsection or charge any fees.
  637         Section 6. Section 1008.2121, Florida Statutes, is created
  638  to read:
  639         1008.2121 Students with severe cognitive or physical
  640  disabilities; permanent exemption.—Based on information that a
  641  reasonably prudent person would rely upon, including, but not
  642  limited to, facts contained within an individual education plan
  643  under s. 1008.212, documentation from an appropriate health care
  644  provider, or certification from the district school board
  645  superintendent, the Commissioner of Education shall
  646  perfunctorily grant a permanent exemption to a student who
  647  suffers from such a severe cognitive disability or physical
  648  disability that the student permanently lacks the capacity to
  649  take statewide, standardized assessments. The State Board of
  650  Education shall adopt rules to administer this section,
  651  including, but not limited to, expediting the exemption process
  652  to demonstrate the utmost compassion and consideration for
  653  meeting the parent’s and student’s needs.
  654         Section 7. Paragraph (c) of subsection (5) and paragraph
  655  (b) of subsection (6) of section 1008.25, Florida Statutes, are
  656  amended to read:
  657         1008.25 Public school student progression; remedial
  658  instruction; reporting requirements.—
  660         (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial
  661  deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be
  662  notified in writing of the following:
  663         1. That his or her child has been identified as having a
  664  substantial deficiency in reading.
  665         2. A description of the current services that are provided
  666  to the child.
  667         3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional
  668  services and supports that will be provided to the child that
  669  are designed to remediate the identified area of reading
  670  deficiency.
  671         4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated
  672  by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or
  673  she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
  674         5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child
  675  succeed in reading proficiency.
  676         6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is
  677  not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional
  678  evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to
  679  the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing
  680  when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for
  681  grade promotion.
  682         7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a
  683  portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence
  684  required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s
  685  academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a
  686  student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as
  687  being at risk of retention may request that the school
  688  immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
  689         8.7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for
  690  midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a
  691  retained student at any time during the year of retention once
  692  the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
  694         (b) The district school board may only exempt students from
  695  mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), for good
  696  cause. A student who is promoted to grade 4 with a good cause
  697  exemption shall be provided intensive reading instruction and
  698  intervention that include specialized diagnostic information and
  699  specific reading strategies to meet the needs of each student so
  700  promoted. The school district shall assist schools and teachers
  701  with the implementation of reading strategies for students
  702  promoted with a good cause exemption which research has shown to
  703  be successful in improving reading among students that have
  704  reading difficulties. Good cause exemptions shall be limited to
  705  the following:
  706         1. Limited English proficient students who have had less
  707  than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other
  708  Languages program.
  709         2. Students with disabilities whose individual education
  710  plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment
  711  program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of
  712  State Board of Education rule.
  713         3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of
  714  performance on an alternative standardized reading or English
  715  Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of
  716  Education.
  717         4. A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio
  718  that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on FCAT Reading
  719  or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
  720  applicable under s. 1008.22.
  721         5. Students with disabilities who participate in FCAT
  722  Reading or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
  723  applicable under s. 1008.22, and who have an individual
  724  education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the
  725  student has received intensive remediation in reading and
  726  English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still
  727  demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in
  728  kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
  729         6. Students who have received intensive reading
  730  intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a
  731  deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in
  732  kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2
  733  years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.
  734         7.6. Students who have received intensive remediation in
  735  reading and English Language Arts, as applicable under s.
  736  1008.22, for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency
  737  and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade
  738  2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. Intensive instruction for
  739  students so promoted must include an altered instructional day
  740  that includes specialized diagnostic information and specific
  741  reading strategies for each student. The district school board
  742  shall assist schools and teachers to implement reading
  743  strategies that research has shown to be successful in improving
  744  reading among low-performing readers.
  745         Section 8. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (c) of
  746  subsection (1) of section 120.81, Florida Statutes, is amended
  747  to read:
  748         120.81 Exceptions and special requirements; general areas.—
  749         (1) EDUCATIONAL UNITS.—
  750         (c) Notwithstanding s. 120.52(16), any tests, test scoring
  751  criteria, or testing procedures relating to student assessment
  752  which are developed or administered by the Department of
  753  Education pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.438, s.
  754  1008.22, or s. 1008.25, or any other statewide educational tests
  755  required by law, are not rules.
  756         Section 9. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (a) of
  757  subsection (2) of section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended
  758  to read:
  759         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
  761         (a) A young adult is eligible for services and support
  762  under this subsection if he or she:
  763         1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
  764  or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
  765  years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
  766  court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
  767  months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
  768  preceding such placement or adoption;
  769         2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
  770  his or her 18th birthday;
  771         3. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
  772  pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, or s.
  773  1003.435, or s. 1003.438;
  774         4. Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
  775  or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
  776  institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
  777  section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
  778  vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
  779  he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
  780  challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
  781  attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
  782  other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
  783  his or her academic advisor;
  784         5. Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
  785  age;
  786         6. Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
  787  caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
  788  grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
  789         7. Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  790  which is complete and error free; and
  791         8. Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
  792  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
  793         Section 10. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (4) of
  794  section 1007.263, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  795         1007.263 Florida College System institutions; admissions of
  796  students.—Each Florida College System institution board of
  797  trustees is authorized to adopt rules governing admissions of
  798  students subject to this section and rules of the State Board of
  799  Education. These rules shall include the following:
  800         (4) A student who has been awarded a special diploma as
  801  defined in s. 1003.438 or a certificate of completion as defined
  802  in s. 1003.428(7)(b) is eligible to enroll in certificate career
  803  education programs.
  805  Each board of trustees shall establish policies that notify
  806  students about developmental education options for improving
  807  their communication or computation skills that are essential to
  808  performing college-level work, including tutoring, extended time
  809  in gateway courses, free online courses, adult basic education,
  810  adult secondary education, or private provider instruction.
  811         Section 11. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  812  act, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law.