Florida Senate - 2014                                    SB 1512
       By Senator Stargel
       15-01167D-14                                          20141512__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to students with disabilities;
    3         creating s. 1002.385, F.S.; establishing the Florida
    4         Personalized Accounts for Learning; defining terms;
    5         specifying criteria for students who are eligible to
    6         participate in the program; identifying certain
    7         students who are not eligible to participate in the
    8         program; authorizing the use of awarded funds for
    9         specific purposes; prohibiting specific providers,
   10         schools, institutions, school districts, and other
   11         entities from sharing, refunding, or rebating program
   12         funds; specifying the terms of the program; requiring
   13         a school district to notify the parent regarding the
   14         option to participate in the program; specifying the
   15         school district’s responsibilities for completing a
   16         matrix of services and notifying the Department of
   17         Education of the completion of the matrix; requiring
   18         the department to notify the parent and the Chief
   19         Financial Officer regarding the amount of the awarded
   20         funds; authorizing the school district to change the
   21         matrix under certain circumstances; requiring the
   22         school district in which a student resides to provide
   23         locations and times to take all statewide assessments;
   24         requiring the school district to notify parents of the
   25         availability of a reevaluation; specifying the duties
   26         of the Department of Education relating to the
   27         program; requiring the Commissioner of Education to
   28         deny, suspend, or revoke participation in the program
   29         or use of program funds under certain circumstances;
   30         providing additional factors under which the
   31         commissioner may deny, suspend, or revoke a
   32         participation in the program or program funds;
   33         requiring a parent to sign an agreement with the
   34         Department of Education to enroll his or her child in
   35         the program which specifies the responsibilities of a
   36         parent or student for using funds in an account and
   37         for submitting a compliance statement to the
   38         department; providing that a parent who fails to
   39         comply with the responsibilities of the agreement
   40         forfeits the personalized account for learning;
   41         providing for funding and payments; requiring the
   42         department to request from the Department of Financial
   43         Services a sample of payments from the authorized
   44         financial institution for specified purposes;
   45         providing for the closing of a student’s account and
   46         reversion of funds to the state; requiring the Chief
   47         Financial Officer to make payments to the personalized
   48         accounts for learning at the authorized financial
   49         institution, select an authorized financial
   50         institution through a competitive bidding process to
   51         administer the personalized accounts for learning, and
   52         require audits of the authorized financial
   53         institution’s personalized accounts for learning;
   54         providing that the state is not liable for the award
   55         or use of awarded funds; providing for the scope of
   56         authority of the act; requiring the State Board of
   57         Education to adopt rules to administer the program;
   58         requiring the Chief Financial Officer to adopt rules
   59         to administer its responsibilities under the program;
   60         amending s. 1003.4282, F.S.; providing standard high
   61         school diploma requirements for a student with a
   62         disability; authorizing certain students with
   63         disabilities to continue to receive certain
   64         instructions and services; requiring an independent
   65         review and a parent’s approval to waive statewide,
   66         standardized assessment requirements by the IEP team;
   67         amending s. 1003.4285, F.S.; including the Specialty
   68         designation as one of the designations for a standard
   69         high school diploma; repealing s. 1003.438, F.S.,
   70         relating to special high school graduation
   71         requirements for certain exceptional students;
   72         creating s. 1003.5716, F.S.; providing that certain
   73         students with disabilities have a right to free,
   74         appropriate public education; requiring an individual
   75         education plan (IEP) team to begin the process of, and
   76         to develop an IEP for, identifying transition services
   77         needs for a student with a disability before the
   78         student attains a specified age; providing
   79         requirements for the process; requiring certain
   80         statements to be included and annually updated in the
   81         IEP; providing changes in the goals specified in an
   82         IEP are subject to independent review and parental
   83         approval; requiring the school district to reconvene
   84         the IEP team to identify alternative strategies to
   85         meet transition objectives if a participating agency
   86         fails to provide transition services specified in the
   87         IEP; providing that the agency’s failure does not
   88         relieve the agency of the responsibility to provide or
   89         pay for the transition services that the agency
   90         otherwise would have provided; amending s. 1003.572,
   91         F.S.; prohibiting a school district from charging fees
   92         or imposing additional requirements on private
   93         instructional personnel; creating s. 1008.2121, F.S.;
   94         requiring the Commissioner of Education to permanently
   95         exempt certain students with disabilities from taking
   96         statewide, standardized assessments; requiring the
   97         State Board of Education to adopt rules; amending s.
   98         1008.25, F.S.; requiring written notification relating
   99         to portfolios to a parent of a student with a
  100         substantial reading deficiency; amending ss. 120.81,
  101         409.1451, and 1007.263, F.S.; conforming cross
  102         references; providing effective dates.
  104  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  106         Section 1. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is created
  107  to read:
  108         1002.385 Florida Personalized Accounts for Learning.—
  109         (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personalized
  110  Accounts for Learning is established to provide the option for a
  111  parent to better meet the individual educational needs of his or
  112  her eligible child.
  113         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  114         (a) “Authorized financial institution” means the
  115  institution that is designated in writing by the parent to
  116  receive payment of program funds into the parent’s personalized
  117  account for learning at such institution.
  118         (b) “Chief Financial Officer” means the chief fiscal
  119  officer of this state, as defined in s. 17.001.
  120         (c) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
  121  particular content area or grade level, including any required
  122  supplemental materials.
  123         (d) “Department” means the Department of Education.
  124         (e) “Disability” means, for a student in kindergarten to
  125  grade 12, autism, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral palsy,
  126  as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in s.
  127  393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
  128  393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
  129  393.063(25); or Spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); and,
  130  for a student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as
  131  defined in s. 393.063(20)(a).
  132         (f) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
  133  a Florida College System institution, a state university, a
  134  school district technical center, a school district adult
  135  general education center, or an accredited nonpublic
  136  postsecondary educational institution, as defined in s. 1005.02,
  137  which is licensed to operate in the state pursuant to
  138  requirements specified in part III of chapter 1005.
  139         (g) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
  140  defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
  141  offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
  142  to grade 12, and which meets requirements of ss. 1002.42 and
  143  1002.421.
  144         (h) “IEP” means individual education plan.
  145         (i) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
  146  parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
  147         (j) “Program” means the Florida Personalized Accounts for
  148  Learning established in this section.
  149         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
  150  disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
  151  personalized account for learning for the purposes specified in
  152  subsection (5) if:
  153         (a) The student:
  154         1. Is a resident of this state;
  155         2. Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12
  156  in a public school in this state;
  157         3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(e) and is
  158  eligible for Level 3 to Level 5 services; and
  159         4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
  160  rules of the State Board of Education; and
  161         (b)The parent has requested from the department a
  162  participation in the program at least 60 days before the date of
  163  the first payment. The request must be communicated directly to
  164  the department or electronic record of the request and the date
  165  of receipt of the request. The department must notify the
  166  district of the parent’s intent upon receipt of the parent’s
  167  request.
  168         (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—
  169         (a) A student is not eligible for the program while he or
  170  she is:
  171         1.Enrolled in a public school, including, but not limited
  172  to, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Florida
  173  Virtual School, the College-Preparatory Boarding Academy, a
  174  developmental research school authorized under s. 1002.32, a
  175  charter school authorized under s. 1002.33, s. 1002.331, or s.
  176  1002.332, or a virtual education program authorized under s.
  177  1002.45;
  178         2.Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
  179  providing educational services to youth in the Department of
  180  Juvenile Justice commitment programs;
  181         3.Receiving a scholarship pursuant to the Florida Tax
  182  Credit Scholarship Program under s. 1002.395 or the John M.
  183  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program under
  184  s. 1002.39; or
  185         4.Receiving an educational scholarship pursuant to this
  186  chapter.
  187         (b) A student is not eligible for the program if:
  188         1.The student or student’s parent has accepted any
  189  payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
  190  any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
  191         2.The student’s participation in the program has been
  192  denied or revoked by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to
  193  subsection (9); or
  194         3.The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
  195  program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
  196  subsection (10).
  197         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
  198  spent for the following purposes, as specified in the student’s
  199  IEP or the portion of the IEP regarding the transition of the
  200  student to postsecondary education and career opportunities
  201  pursuant to s. 1003.5716:
  202         (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
  203  digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
  204  allow a student to access instruction or instructional content.
  205         (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(c).
  206         (c) Specialized services selected by the parent and
  207  specified in the student’s IEP. These specialized services may
  208  include, but are not limited to:
  209         1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
  210  627.6686 and 641.31098.
  211         2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
  212  defined in s. 468.1125.
  213         3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
  214         4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
  215  s. 486.021.
  216         5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
  217  specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
  218  child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
  219  implant or assistive hearing device.
  220         (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
  221  enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
  222  postsecondary educational institution, a private tutoring
  223  program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program offered
  224  by a department-approved private online provider that meets the
  225  provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), or an
  226  approved online course offered pursuant to ss. 1003.499 or
  227  1004.0961.
  228         (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
  229  achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
  230  certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
  231  education, or other assessments specified in the student’s IEP.
  232         (f) Contributions to a Coverdell education savings account
  233  established pursuant to 26 U.S.C. s. 530 of the Internal Revenue
  234  Code for the benefit of the eligible student.
  235         (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
  236  school district, including classes and extracurricular programs
  237  for the services specified in the IEP or additional services. A
  238  student who receives services under a contract under this
  239  paragraph shall not be considered to be enrolled in a public
  240  school for eligibility purposes as specified in subsection (4).
  242  A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
  243  eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
  244  program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
  245  school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
  246  pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
  247  moneys from the Florida Personalized Account for Learning with
  248  the parent or participating student in any manner.
  249         (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
  250  educational choice, the program payments made under this section
  251  shall remain in force until a student participating in the
  252  program participates in any of the prohibited activities
  253  specified in subsection (4), has funds revoked by the
  254  Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (9), or returns
  255  to a public school, graduates from high school, or reaches 22
  256  years of age, whichever occurs first. A participating student
  257  who enrolls in a public school or public school program is
  258  considered to have returned to a public school for the purpose
  259  of determining the end of the program’s term.
  261         (a) By April 1 of each year and within 10 days after an IEP
  262  meeting, a school district shall notify the parent of the
  263  student who meets eligibility requirements under subsection (3)
  264  of the option to participate in the program.
  265         (b)1. For a student with a disability who does not have a
  266  matrix of services under s. 1011.62(1)(e), the school district
  267  shall complete a matrix that assigns the student to one of the
  268  levels of service as they existed before the 2000-2001 school
  269  year.
  270         2.a. Within 10 school days after a school district receives
  271  notification of a parent’s request for participation in the
  272  program under this section, the school district shall notify the
  273  student’s parent if the matrix of services has not been
  274  completed and inform the parent that the district is required to
  275  complete the matrix within 30 days after receiving notice of the
  276  parent’s request for participation. This notice must include the
  277  required completion date for the matrix.
  278         b. The school district shall complete the matrix of
  279  services for a student who is participating in the program and
  280  shall notify the department of the student’s matrix level within
  281  30 days after receiving notification of a request to participate
  282  in the program. The school district must provide the student’s
  283  parent with the student’s matrix level within 10 school days
  284  after its completion.
  285         c. The department shall notify the parent and the Chief
  286  Financial Officer of the amount of the funds awarded within 10
  287  days after receiving the school district’s notification of the
  288  student’s matrix level.
  289         d. A school district may change a matrix of services only
  290  if the change is to correct a technical, typographical, or
  291  calculation error.
  292         (c) For each student participating in the program who takes
  293  statewide, standardized assessments under s. 1008.22, the school
  294  district in which the student resides must notify the student
  295  and his or her parent about the locations and times to take all
  296  statewide, standardized assessments.
  297         (d) For each student participating in the program, a school
  298  district shall notify the parent about the availability of a
  299  reevaluation at least every 3 years.
  300         (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
  301  shall:
  302         (a) Establish an annual enrollment period and a process in
  303  which a parent may apply to enroll his or her student in the
  304  program. The enrollment period shall begin on July 1 and end on
  305  May 1 of each year for applications for the following state
  306  fiscal year. All applications must be approved by June 1 of each
  307  year for program participation for the following fiscal year.
  308         (b) Conduct or contract for annual audits of the program to
  309  ensure compliance with this section.
  310         (c) Notify the authorized financial institution of students
  311  who are approved to participate in the program. The notice must
  312  be made annually by June 1, after the department processes all
  313  applications to participate in the program.
  314         (d) Establish a process by which a person may notify the
  315  department of any violation of laws or rules relating to
  316  participation in the program. The department shall conduct an
  317  inquiry of all signed, written, and legally sufficient
  318  complaints that allege a violation of this section or make a
  319  referral to the appropriate agency for an investigation. A
  320  complaint is legally sufficient if it contains ultimate facts
  321  showing that a violation of this section or a violation of a
  322  rule adopted under this section has occurred. In order to
  323  determine legal sufficiency, the department may require
  324  supporting information or documentation from the complainant. A
  325  department inquiry is not subject to the requirements of chapter
  326  120.
  327         (e) Compare the list of students participating in the
  328  program with the public school enrollment lists before each
  329  program payment to avoid duplicate payments.
  330         (f) Select an independent research organization, which may
  331  be a public or private entity or university, to which
  332  participating entities must report the scores of students
  333  participating in the program on the statewide, standardized
  334  assessments administered by the schools as specified in the IEP.
  335         1. The independent research organization shall annually
  336  issue a report to the department which includes:
  337         a. The year-to-year learning gains of students
  338  participating in the program.
  339         b. To the extent possible, a comparison of the learning
  340  gains of students in the program to the statewide learning gains
  341  of public school students having backgrounds similar to those of
  342  the students in the program. In order to minimize the costs and
  343  time that the independent research organization requires for
  344  analysis and evaluation, the department shall conduct analyses
  345  of assessment data from matched students in public schools and
  346  shall calculate the learning gains of control groups using a
  347  methodology outlined in the contract with the independent
  348  research organization.
  349         c. The aggregate year-to-year learning gains of students in
  350  the program in each participating entity in which there are at
  351  least 30 participating students that have scores for tests for 2
  352  consecutive years at that entity.
  353         2. The sharing and reporting of the learning gains of
  354  students pursuant to this paragraph must be in accordance with
  355  the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. s.
  356  1232g, and shall be for the sole purpose of creating the annual
  357  report required under subparagraph 1. All parties shall preserve
  358  the confidentiality of such information as required by law. The
  359  independent research organization may not disaggregate data in
  360  its annual report to a level that identifies individual
  361  participating entities, except as required under sub
  362  subparagraph 1.c., or disclose the academic level of individual
  363  students.
  364         3. The department shall publish on its website the annual
  365  report required by subparagraph 1.
  366         (g)Coordinate with state-funded or federally funded
  367  benefits programs to advise a parent about the possible effect
  368  his or her child’s participation in the program under this
  369  section may have on the child’s eligibility for participating in
  370  those state-funded or federally funded benefits programs.
  371         (h) Issue a report by December 15, 2014, and annually
  372  thereafter to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  373  Speaker of the House of Representatives describing the
  374  implementation of accountability mechanisms for the program,
  375  identifying any substantial allegations and violations of a law
  376  or rule governing the program, and describing the corrective
  377  actions taken by the department relating to violations of a law
  378  or rule governing the program.
  380         (a) The Commissioner of Education:
  381         1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
  382  in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  383  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  384         2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  385  program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  386  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  387         3. May deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  388  program funds for material failure to comply with this section
  389  and applicable department rules if the noncompliance is
  390  correctable within a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, the
  391  commissioner shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use
  392  for failure to materially comply with the law and rules adopted
  393  under this section.
  394         4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
  395  date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
  396  section and applicable department rules. The commissioner may
  397  deny, suspend, or revoke program participation under this
  398  section thereafter.
  399         (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke in
  400  accordance with this subsection, the commissioner may consider
  401  factors that include, but are not limited to, acts or omissions
  402  by a participating entity which led to a previous denial or
  403  revocation of participation in an education scholarship program;
  404  failure to reimburse the department for program funds improperly
  405  received or retained by the entity; imposition of a prior
  406  criminal sanction related to the entity or its officers or
  407  employees; imposition of a civil fine or administrative fine,
  408  license revocation or suspension, or program eligibility
  409  suspension, termination, or revocation related to an entity’s
  410  management or operation; or other types of criminal proceedings
  411  in which the entity or its officers or employees were found
  412  guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo
  413  contendere or guilty to, any offense involving fraud, deceit,
  414  dishonesty, or moral turpitude.
  416  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  417  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  418  determine the appropriate placement or services that best meet
  419  the needs of his or her student. To enroll an eligible student
  420  in the program, the parent must sign an agreement with the
  421  department and annually submit a notarized, sworn compliance
  422  statement to the department to:
  423         (a) Affirm that the student meets minimum student
  424  attendance requirements as provided in s. 1003.21.
  425         (b) Use the program funds only for authorized purposes, as
  426  described in subsection (5).
  427         (c) Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
  428  standardized assessments as specified in the student’s IEP. The
  429  parent is responsible for transporting the student to the
  430  assessment site designated by the school district.
  431         (d) Request participation in the program at least 60 days
  432  before the date of the first program payment.
  433         (e) Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
  434  the provider or school if those options are selected by the
  435  parent.
  436         (f) Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
  437  school option is selected by the parent.
  438         (g) Annually renew participation in the program.
  439  Notwithstanding any changes to the student’s IEP, a student who
  440  was previously eligible for participation in the program shall
  441  remain eligible to apply for renewal as provided in subsection
  442  (6).
  443         (h) Designate in writing the authorized financial
  444  institution to receive payment of program funds and maintain a
  445  separate personalized account for learning at that institution.
  446         (i) Affirm that the parent will not transfer any college
  447  savings funds to another beneficiary.
  448         (j)Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
  449  funding contributed by the state.
  451  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  452  personalized account for learning.
  453         (11)  FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
  454         (a)1. The maximum funding amount granted for an eligible
  455  student with a disability, pursuant to subsection (3), shall be
  456  equivalent to the base student allocation in the Florida
  457  Education Finance Program multiplied by the appropriate cost
  458  factor for the educational program which would have been
  459  provided for the student in the district school to which he or
  460  she would have been assigned, multiplied by the district cost
  461  differential.
  462         2. In addition, an amount equivalent to a share of the
  463  guaranteed allocation for exceptional students in the Florida
  464  Education Finance Program shall be determined and added to the
  465  amount in subparagraph 1. The calculation shall be based on the
  466  methodology and the data used to calculate the guaranteed
  467  allocation for exceptional students for each district in chapter
  468  2000-166, Laws of Florida. Except as provided in subparagraph
  469  3., the calculation shall be based on the student’s grade, the
  470  matrix level of services, and the difference between the 2000
  471  2001 basic program and the appropriate level of services cost
  472  factor, multiplied by the 2000-2001 base student allocation and
  473  the 2000-2001 district cost differential for the sending
  474  district. The calculated amount must also include an amount
  475  equivalent to the per-student share of supplemental academic
  476  instruction funds, instructional materials funds, technology
  477  funds, and other categorical funds as provided in the General
  478  Appropriations Act.
  479         3. Until the school district completes the matrix required
  480  under paragraph (7)(b), the calculation shall be based on the
  481  matrix that assigns the student to support level 3 of services.
  482  When the school district completes the matrix, the amount of the
  483  payment shall be adjusted as needed.
  484         (b) The amount of the awarded funds shall be 90 percent of
  485  the calculated amount.
  486         (c) The school district shall report all students who are
  487  participating in the program. The participating students who
  488  have previously been included in the Florida Education Finance
  489  Program and are included in public school enrollment counts
  490  shall be reported separately from other students reported for
  491  purposes of the Florida Education Finance Program. Participating
  492  students who have been enrolled in nonpublic schools shall also
  493  be reported separately.
  494         (d) Following notification on July 1, September 1, December
  495  1, or February 1 of the number of program participants:
  496         1. For students who have been enrolled in public schools
  497  and are included in public school enrollment counts, the
  498  department shall transfer, from General Revenue funds only, the
  499  amount of the awarded program funds calculated pursuant to
  500  paragraph (b) from the school district’s total funding
  501  entitlement under the Florida Education Finance Program and from
  502  authorized categorical accounts to a separate account for the
  503  program for quarterly disbursement to the personalized account
  504  for learning at an authorized financial institution on behalf of
  505  the parent and student; and
  506         2. For students who have been and will continue to be
  507  enrolled in nonpublic schools, the department shall also
  508  transfer from an appropriation for the program the amount
  509  calculated under paragraph (b) to a separate account for the
  510  program for quarterly disbursement to the personalized account
  511  for learning at an authorized financial institution on behalf of
  512  the parent and student. Nonpublic school students shall be
  513  provided awarded funds on a first-come, first-served basis.
  514         (e) When a student enters the program, the department must
  515  receive, at least 30 days before the first quarterly program
  516  payment is made to the personalized account for learning for the
  517  student, all documentation required for the student’s
  518  participation in the program.
  519         (f) Upon notification by the department that it has
  520  received the documentation required under paragraph (d), the
  521  Chief Financial Officer shall make payments in four equal
  522  amounts no later than September 1, November 1, February 1, and
  523  April 1 of each academic year in which the awarded funds are in
  524  force. The initial payment shall be made after department
  525  verification of the establishment of the personalized account
  526  for learning at an authorized financial institution, and
  527  subsequent payments shall be made upon verification of parental
  528  obligations under subsection (10). Payment must be by individual
  529  warrant made payable to the personalized account for learning on
  530  behalf of the parent and student. The authorized financial
  531  institution shall mail or electronically process payments as
  532  directed by the parent for authorized uses.
  533         (g) Subsequent to each payment, the department shall
  534  request from the Department of Financial Services a sample of
  535  payments from the authorized financial institution for
  536  authorized uses to endorsed warrants to review and confirm
  537  compliance with this section.
  538         (h) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
  539  postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
  540  consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
  541  student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
  542  institution, the student’s personalized account for learning
  543  shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
  544  state.
  546  Financial Officer shall:
  547         (a) Make payments to fund personalized accounts for
  548  learning at the authorized financial institution pursuant to
  549  this section.
  550         (b) Select through the state’s competitive bidding process
  551  an authorized financial institution to administer personalized
  552  accounts for learning.
  553         (c) Require audits of the authorized financial
  554  institution’s personalized accounts for learning.
  555         (13) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
  556  any use of awarded funds under this section.
  557         (14) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
  558  regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
  559  district to impose additional regulation on participating
  560  private schools, nonpublic postsecondary educational
  561  institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
  562  necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
  563  section.
  564         (15) RULES.—
  565         (a) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant
  566  to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section. The
  567  rules must identify the appropriate school district personnel
  568  who must complete the matrix of services.
  569         (b) The Chief Financial Officer shall adopt rules pursuant
  570  to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section.
  571         Section 2. Present subsection (10) of section 1003.4282,
  572  Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (11), and a new
  573  subsection (10) is added to that section, to read:
  574         1003.4282 Requirements for a standard high school diploma.—
  575         (10) STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.—Beginning with students
  576  entering grade 9 in the 2014-2015 school year, this subsection
  577  applies to a student with a disability.
  578         (a) A parent of a student with a disability shall, in
  579  collaboration with the individual education plan team pursuant
  580  to s. 1003.5716, declare an intent for the student to graduate
  581  from high school with either a standard high school diploma or a
  582  certificate of completion. A student with a disability who does
  583  not satisfy the standard high school diploma requirements
  584  pursuant to this section shall be awarded a certificate of
  585  completion.
  586         (b) The following options, in addition to the other options
  587  specified in this section, may be used to satisfy the standard
  588  high school diploma requirements, as specified in the student’s
  589  individual education plan:
  590         1.A combination of course substitutions, assessments,
  591  industry certifications, and other acceleration options
  592  appropriate to the student’s unique skills and abilities that
  593  meet the criteria established by State Board of Education rule.
  594         2.A portfolio of quantifiable evidence that documents a
  595  student’s mastery of academic standards through rigorous metrics
  596  established by State Board of Education rule. A portfolio may
  597  include, but is not limited to, documentation of work
  598  experience, internships, community service, and postsecondary
  599  credit.
  600         (c)A student with a disability who meets the standard high
  601  school diploma requirements in this section may defer the
  602  receipt of a standard high school diploma if the student:
  603         1.Has an individual education plan that prescribes special
  604  education, transition planning, transition services, or related
  605  services through age 21; and
  606         2.Is enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction
  607  pursuant to s. 1007.27, industry certification courses that lead
  608  to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses
  609  necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a
  610  structured work-study, internship, or pre-apprenticeship
  611  program.
  612         (d)A student with a disability who receives a certificate
  613  of completion and has an individual education plan that
  614  prescribes special education, transition planning, transition
  615  services, or related services through 21 years of age may
  616  continue to receive the specified instruction and services.
  617         (e)Any waiver of the statewide, standardized assessment
  618  requirements by the individual education plan team, pursuant to
  619  s. 1008.22(3)(c), must be approved by the parent and is subject
  620  to verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
  621  selected by the parent as provided for in s. 1003.572.
  622         Section 3. Paragraph (c) is added to subsection (1) of
  623  section 1003.4285, Florida Statutes, to read:
  624         1003.4285 Standard high school diploma designations.—
  625         (1) Each standard high school diploma shall include, as
  626  applicable, the following designations if the student meets the
  627  criteria set forth for the designation:
  628         (c) Specialty designation.—In addition to the requirements
  629  of s. 1003.4282, in order to earn the Specialty designation, a
  630  student must, beginning with students entering grade 9 in the
  631  2015-2016 school year:
  632         1.Be a student with a disability, as defined in s.
  633  1003.01(3);
  634         2.Have an individual education plan (IEP) indicating that
  635  the student fully met all requirements of s. 1003.4282 through a
  636  portfolio established in the IEP pursuant to s. 1003.4282(10)(b)
  637  and s. 1003.5716(2)(b); and
  638         3.Earn two or more digital tools industry certifications
  639  from the list established under s. 1003.492.
  640         Section 4. Effective July 1, 2015, section 1003.438,
  641  Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  642         Section 5. Section 1003.5716, Florida Statutes, is created
  643  to read:
  644         1003.5716 Transition to postsecondary education and career
  645  opportunities.—All students with disabilities who are 3 years of
  646  age to 21 years of age have the right to a free, appropriate
  647  public education. As used in this section, the term “IEP” means
  648  individual education plan.
  649         (1)To ensure quality planning for a successful transition
  650  of a student with a disability to postsecondary education and
  651  career opportunities, an IEP team shall begin the process of,
  652  and develop an IEP for, identifying the need for transition
  653  services before the student with a disability attains the age of
  654  14 years in order for his or her postsecondary goals and career
  655  goals to be identified and in place when he or she attains the
  656  age of 16 years. This process must include, but is not limited
  657  to:
  658         (a) Consideration of the student’s need for instruction in
  659  the area of self-determination and self-advocacy to assist the
  660  student’s active and effective participation in an IEP meeting;
  661  and
  662         (b) Preparation for the student to graduate from high
  663  school with a standard high school diploma pursuant to s.
  664  1003.4282 with a Scholar designation unless the parent chooses a
  665  Merit designation or Specialty designation.
  666         (2)Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect
  667  when the student turns 16, or younger, if determined appropriate
  668  by the parent and the IEP team, the IEP must include the
  669  following statements that must be updated annually:
  670         (a) A statement of intent to pursue a standard high school
  671  diploma and a Scholar, Merit, or Specialty designation, pursuant
  672  to s. 1003.4285, as determined by the parent.
  673         (b) A statement of intent to receive a standard high school
  674  diploma before the student reaches the age of 22 and a
  675  description of how the student will fully meet the requirements
  676  in s. 1003.428 or s. 1003.4282, as applicable, including, but
  677  not limited to, a portfolio pursuant to s. 1003.4282(10)(b) that
  678  meets the criteria specified in State Board of Education rule.
  679  The IEP must also specify the outcomes and additional benefits
  680  expected by the parent and the IEP team at the time of the
  681  student’s graduation.
  682         (c)A statement of appropriate measurable long-term
  683  postsecondary education and career goals based upon age
  684  appropriate transition assessments related to training,
  685  education, employment, and, if appropriate, independent living
  686  skills and the transition services, including courses of study
  687  needed to assist the student in reaching those goals.
  688         (3) Any change in the IEP for the goals specified in
  689  subsection (2) must be approved by the parent and is subject to
  690  verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
  691  selected by the parent as provided in s. 1003.572.
  692         (4)If a participating agency responsible for transition
  693  services, other than the school district, fails to provide the
  694  transition services described in the IEP, the school district
  695  shall reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies
  696  to meet the transition objectives for the student that are
  697  specified in the IEP. However, this does not relieve any
  698  participating agency of the responsibility to provide or pay for
  699  any transition service that the agency would otherwise provide
  700  to students with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria
  701  of that agency.
  702         Section 6. Subsection (3) of section 1003.572, Florida
  703  Statutes, is amended to read:
  704         1003.572 Collaboration of public and private instructional
  705  personnel.—
  706         (3) Private instructional personnel who are hired or
  707  contracted by parents to collaborate with public instructional
  708  personnel must be permitted to observe the student in the
  709  educational setting, collaborate with instructional personnel in
  710  the educational setting, and provide services in the educational
  711  setting according to the following requirements:
  712         (a) The student’s public instructional personnel and
  713  principal consent to the time and place.
  714         (b) The private instructional personnel satisfy the
  715  requirements of s. 1012.32 or s. 1012.321.
  717  For the purpose of implementing this subsection, a school
  718  district may not impose any requirements beyond those
  719  requirements specified in this subsection or charge any fees.
  720         Section 7. Section 1008.2121, Florida Statutes, is created
  721  to read:
  722         1008.2121 Students with severe cognitive or physical
  723  disabilities; permanent exemption.—Based on information that a
  724  reasonably prudent person would rely upon, including, but not
  725  limited to, facts contained within an individual education plan
  726  under s. 1008.212, documentation from an appropriate health care
  727  provider, or certification from the district school board
  728  superintendent, the Commissioner of Education shall
  729  perfunctorily grant a permanent exemption to a student who
  730  suffers from such a severe cognitive disability or physical
  731  disability that the student permanently lacks the capacity to
  732  take statewide, standardized assessments. The State Board of
  733  Education shall adopt rules to administer this section,
  734  including, but not limited to, expediting the exemption process
  735  to demonstrate the utmost compassion and consideration for
  736  meeting the parent’s and student’s needs.
  737         Section 8. Paragraph (c) of subsection (5) of section
  738  1008.25, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  739         1008.25 Public school student progression; remedial
  740  instruction; reporting requirements.—
  742         (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial
  743  deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be
  744  notified in writing of the following:
  745         1. That his or her child has been identified as having a
  746  substantial deficiency in reading.
  747         2. A description of the current services that are provided
  748  to the child.
  749         3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional
  750  services and supports that will be provided to the child that
  751  are designed to remediate the identified area of reading
  752  deficiency.
  753         4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated
  754  by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or
  755  she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
  756         5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child
  757  succeed in reading proficiency.
  758         6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is
  759  not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional
  760  evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to
  761  the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing
  762  when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for
  763  grade promotion.
  764         7. The criteria for a portfolio review and the evidence
  765  required to document a student’s mastery of Florida’s academic
  766  standard benchmarks for English Language Arts, as well as sample
  767  portfolios for a parent to use.
  768         8.7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for
  769  midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a
  770  retained student at any time during the year of retention once
  771  the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
  772         Section 9. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (c) of
  773  subsection (1) of section 120.81, Florida Statutes, is amended
  774  to read:
  775         120.81 Exceptions and special requirements; general areas.—
  776         (1) EDUCATIONAL UNITS.—
  777         (c) Notwithstanding s. 120.52(16), any tests, test scoring
  778  criteria, or testing procedures relating to student assessment
  779  which are developed or administered by the Department of
  780  Education pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.438, s.
  781  1008.22, or s. 1008.25, or any other statewide educational tests
  782  required by law, are not rules.
  783         Section 10. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (2) of
  784  section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  785         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
  787         (a) A young adult is eligible for services and support
  788  under this subsection if he or she:
  789         1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
  790  or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
  791  years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
  792  court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
  793  months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
  794  preceding such placement or adoption;
  795         2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
  796  his or her 18th birthday;
  797         3. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
  798  pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, or s.
  799  1003.435, or s. 1003.438;
  800         4. Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
  801  or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
  802  institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
  803  section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
  804  vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
  805  he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
  806  challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
  807  attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
  808  other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
  809  his or her academic advisor;
  810         5. Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
  811  age;
  812         6. Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
  813  caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
  814  grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
  815         7. Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  816  which is complete and error free; and
  817         8. Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
  818  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
  819         Section 11. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (4) of
  820  section 1007.263, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  821         1007.263 Florida College System institutions; admissions of
  822  students.—Each Florida College System institution board of
  823  trustees is authorized to adopt rules governing admissions of
  824  students subject to this section and rules of the State Board of
  825  Education. These rules shall include the following:
  826         (4) A student who has been awarded a special diploma as
  827  defined in s. 1003.438 or a certificate of completion as defined
  828  in s. 1003.428(7)(b) is eligible to enroll in certificate career
  829  education programs.
  831  Each board of trustees shall establish policies that notify
  832  students about developmental education options for improving
  833  their communication or computation skills that are essential to
  834  performing college-level work, including tutoring, extended time
  835  in gateway courses, free online courses, adult basic education,
  836  adult secondary education, or private provider instruction.
  837         Section 12. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  838  act, this act shall take effect July 1, 2014.