Florida Senate - 2014                             CS for SB 1512
       By the Committee on Education; and Senators Stargel, Thrasher,
       Gardiner, and Galvano
       581-02750-14                                          20141512c1
    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 regarding the
   19         amount of the awarded funds; authorizing the school
   20         district to change the matrix under certain
   21         circumstances; requiring the school district in which
   22         a student resides to provide locations and times to
   23         take all statewide assessments; requiring the school
   24         district to notify parents of the availability of a
   25         reevaluation; specifying the duties of the Department
   26         of Education relating to the program; requiring the
   27         Commissioner of Education to deny, suspend, or revoke
   28         participation in the program or use of program funds
   29         under certain circumstances; providing additional
   30         factors under which the commissioner may deny,
   31         suspend, or revoke a participation in the program or
   32         program funds; requiring a parent to sign an agreement
   33         with the Department of Education to enroll his or her
   34         child in the program which specifies the
   35         responsibilities of a parent or student for using
   36         funds in an account and for submitting a compliance
   37         statement to the department; providing that a parent
   38         who fails to comply with the responsibilities of the
   39         agreement forfeits the personalized account for
   40         learning; providing for funding and payments;
   41         requiring the department to request from the
   42         Department of Financial Services a sample of payments
   43         from the authorized financial institution for
   44         specified purposes; providing for the closing of a
   45         student’s account and reversion of funds to the state;
   46         requiring the department to make payments to the
   47         personalized accounts for learning at the authorized
   48         financial institution, select an authorized financial
   49         institution through a competitive bidding process to
   50         administer the personalized accounts for learning, and
   51         require audits of the authorized financial
   52         institution’s personalized accounts for learning;
   53         requiring the Chief Financial Officer to conduct
   54         audits; providing that the state is not liable for the
   55         award or use of awarded funds; providing for the scope
   56         of authority of the act; requiring the State Board of
   57         Education to adopt rules to administer the program;
   58         amending s. 1003.4282, F.S.; providing standard high
   59         school diploma requirements for certain students with
   60         an intellectual disability or cognitive disability;
   61         authorizing certain students with disabilities to
   62         continue to receive certain instructions and services;
   63         requiring an independent review and a parent’s
   64         approval to waive statewide, standardized assessment
   65         requirements by the IEP team; repealing s. 1003.438,
   66         F.S., relating to special high school graduation
   67         requirements for certain exceptional students;
   68         creating s. 1003.5716, F.S.; providing that certain
   69         students with disabilities have a right to free,
   70         appropriate public education; requiring an individual
   71         education plan (IEP) team to begin the process of, and
   72         to develop an IEP for, identifying transition services
   73         needs for a student with a disability before the
   74         student attains a specified age; providing
   75         requirements for the process; requiring certain
   76         statements to be included and annually updated in the
   77         IEP; providing that changes in the goals specified in
   78         an IEP are subject to independent review and parental
   79         approval; requiring the school district to reconvene
   80         the IEP team to identify alternative strategies to
   81         meet transition objectives if a participating agency
   82         fails to provide transition services specified in the
   83         IEP; providing that the agency’s failure does not
   84         relieve the agency of the responsibility to provide or
   85         pay for the transition services that the agency
   86         otherwise would have provided; amending s. 1003.572,
   87         F.S.; prohibiting a school district from charging fees
   88         or imposing additional requirements on private
   89         instructional personnel; creating s. 1008.2121, F.S.;
   90         requiring the Commissioner of Education to permanently
   91         exempt certain students with disabilities from taking
   92         statewide, standardized assessments; requiring the
   93         State Board of Education to adopt rules; amending s.
   94         1008.25, F.S.; requiring written notification relating
   95         to portfolios to a parent of a student with a
   96         substantial reading deficiency; requiring a student
   97         promoted to a certain grade with a good cause
   98         exemption to receive intensive reading instruction and
   99         intervention; requiring a school district to assist
  100         schools and teachers with the implementation of
  101         reading strategies; revising good cause exemptions;
  102         amending ss. 120.81, 409.1451, and 1007.263, F.S.;
  103         conforming cross-references; providing effective
  104         dates.
  106  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  108         Section 1. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is created
  109  to read:
  110         1002.385 Florida Personalized Accounts for Learning.—
  111         (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personalized
  112  Accounts for Learning is established to provide the option for a
  113  parent to better meet the individual educational needs of his or
  114  her eligible child.
  115         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  116         (a) “Approved provider” means a provider approved by the
  117  Agency for Persons with Disabilities and a provider approved by
  118  the department pursuant to s. 1002.66.
  119         (b) “Authorized financial institution” means the
  120  institution that is designated in writing by the parent to
  121  receive payment of program funds into the parent’s personalized
  122  account for learning at such institution.
  123         (c) “Chief Financial Officer” means the chief fiscal
  124  officer of this state, as defined in s. 17.001.
  125         (d) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
  126  particular content area or grade level, including any required
  127  supplemental materials.
  128         (e) “Department” means the Department of Education.
  129         (f) “Disability” means, for a student in kindergarten to
  130  grade 12, autism, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral palsy,
  131  as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in s.
  132  393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
  133  393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
  134  393.063(25); or Spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); for
  135  a student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as defined
  136  in s. 393.063(20)(a); and Williams syndrome.
  137         (g) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
  138  a Florida College System institution, a state university, a
  139  school district technical center, a school district adult
  140  general education center, or an accredited nonpublic
  141  postsecondary educational institution, as defined in s. 1005.02,
  142  which is licensed to operate in the state pursuant to
  143  requirements specified in part III of chapter 1005.
  144         (h) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
  145  defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
  146  offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
  147  to grade 12, and which meets requirements of ss. 1002.42 and
  148  1002.421.
  149         (i) “IEP” means individual education plan.
  150         (j) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
  151  parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
  152         (k) “Program” means the Florida Personalized Accounts for
  153  Learning established in this section.
  154         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
  155  disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
  156  personalized account for learning for the purposes specified in
  157  subsection (5) if:
  158         (a) The student:
  159         1. Is a resident of this state;
  160         2. Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12
  161  in a public school in this state;
  162         3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(f) and is
  163  eligible for Level 3 to Level 5 services; and
  164         4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
  165  rules of the State Board of Education; and
  166         (b) The parent has requested from the department a
  167  participation in the program at least 60 days before the date of
  168  the first payment. The request must be communicated directly to
  169  the department in a manner that creates a written or electronic
  170  record of the request and the date of receipt of the request.
  171  The department must notify the district of the parent’s intent
  172  upon receipt of the parent’s request.
  173         (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—
  174         (a) A student is not eligible for the program while he or
  175  she is:
  176         1. Enrolled in a public school, including, but not limited
  177  to, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Florida
  178  Virtual School, the College-Preparatory Boarding Academy, a
  179  developmental research school authorized under s. 1002.32, a
  180  charter school authorized under s. 1002.33, s. 1002.331, or s.
  181  1002.332, or a virtual education program authorized under s.
  182  1002.45;
  183         2. Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
  184  providing educational services to youth in the Department of
  185  Juvenile Justice commitment programs;
  186         3. Receiving a scholarship pursuant to the Florida Tax
  187  Credit Scholarship Program under s. 1002.395 or the John M.
  188  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program under
  189  s. 1002.39; or
  190         4. Receiving an educational scholarship pursuant to this
  191  chapter.
  192         (b) A student is not eligible for the program if:
  193         1. The student or student’s parent has accepted any
  194  payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
  195  any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
  196         2. The student’s participation in the program has been
  197  denied or revoked by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to
  198  subsection (9); or
  199         3. The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
  200  program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
  201  subsection (10).
  202         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
  203  spent for the following purposes, as specified in the student’s
  204  IEP or the portion of the IEP regarding the transition of the
  205  student to postsecondary education and career opportunities
  206  pursuant to s. 1003.5716:
  207         (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
  208  digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
  209  allow a student to access instruction or instructional content.
  210         (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(d).
  211         (c) Specialized services by approved providers that are
  212  selected by the parent and specified in the student’s IEP. These
  213  specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
  214         1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
  215  627.6686 and 641.31098.
  216         2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
  217  defined in s. 468.1125.
  218         3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
  219         4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
  220  s. 486.021.
  221         5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
  222  specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
  223  child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
  224  implant or assistive hearing device.
  225         (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
  226  enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
  227  postsecondary educational institution, a private tutoring
  228  program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program offered
  229  by a department-approved private online provider that meets the
  230  provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), or an
  231  approved online course offered pursuant to ss. 1003.499 or
  232  1004.0961.
  233         (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
  234  achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
  235  certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
  236  education, or other assessments specified in the student’s IEP.
  237         (f) Contributions to a Coverdell education savings account
  238  established pursuant to 26 U.S.C. s. 530 of the Internal Revenue
  239  Code for the benefit of the eligible student.
  240         (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
  241  school district, including classes and extracurricular programs
  242  for the services specified in the IEP or additional services. A
  243  student who receives services under a contract under this
  244  paragraph shall not be considered to be enrolled in a public
  245  school for eligibility purposes as specified in subsection (4).
  247  A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
  248  eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
  249  program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
  250  school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
  251  pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
  252  moneys from the Florida Personalized Account for Learning with
  253  the parent or participating student in any manner.
  254         (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
  255  educational choice, the program payments made under this section
  256  shall remain in force until a student participating in the
  257  program participates in any of the prohibited activities
  258  specified in subsection (4), has funds revoked by the
  259  Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (9), or returns
  260  to a public school, graduates from high school, or reaches 22
  261  years of age, whichever occurs first. A participating student
  262  who enrolls in a public school or public school program is
  263  considered to have returned to a public school for the purpose
  264  of determining the end of the program’s term.
  266         (a) By April 1 of each year and within 10 days after an IEP
  267  meeting, a school district shall notify the parent of the
  268  student who meets eligibility requirements under subsection (3)
  269  of the option to participate in the program.
  270         (b)1. For a student with a disability who does not have a
  271  matrix of services under s. 1011.62(1)(e), the school district
  272  shall complete a matrix that assigns the student to one of the
  273  levels of service as they existed before the 2000-2001 school
  274  year.
  275         2.a. Within 10 school days after a school district receives
  276  notification of a parent’s request for participation in the
  277  program under this section, the school district shall notify the
  278  student’s parent if the matrix of services has not been
  279  completed and inform the parent that the district is required to
  280  complete the matrix within 30 days after receiving notice of the
  281  parent’s request for participation. This notice must include the
  282  required completion date for the matrix.
  283         b. The school district shall complete the matrix of
  284  services for a student who is participating in the program and
  285  shall notify the department of the student’s matrix level within
  286  30 days after receiving notification of a request to participate
  287  in the program. The school district must provide the student’s
  288  parent with the student’s matrix level within 10 school days
  289  after its completion.
  290         c. The department shall notify the parent of the amount of
  291  the funds awarded within 10 days after receiving the school
  292  district’s notification of the student’s matrix level.
  293         d. A school district may change a matrix of services only
  294  if the change is to correct a technical, typographical, or
  295  calculation error.
  296         (c) For each student participating in the program who takes
  297  statewide, standardized assessments under s. 1008.22, the school
  298  district in which the student resides must notify the student
  299  and his or her parent about the locations and times to take all
  300  statewide, standardized assessments.
  301         (d) For each student participating in the program, a school
  302  district shall notify the parent about the availability of a
  303  reevaluation at least every 3 years.
  304         (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
  305  shall:
  306         (a) Establish an annual enrollment period and a process in
  307  which a parent may apply to enroll his or her student in the
  308  program. The enrollment period shall begin on July 1 and end on
  309  May 1 of each year for applications for the following state
  310  fiscal year. All applications must be approved by June 1 of each
  311  year for program participation for the following fiscal year.
  312         (b) Conduct or contract for annual audits of the program to
  313  ensure compliance with this section.
  314         (c) Notify the authorized financial institution of students
  315  who are approved to participate in the program. The notice must
  316  be made annually by June 1, after the department processes all
  317  applications to participate in the program.
  318         (d) Establish a process by which a person may notify the
  319  department of any violation of laws or rules relating to
  320  participation in the program. The department shall conduct an
  321  inquiry of all signed, written, and legally sufficient
  322  complaints that allege a violation of this section or make a
  323  referral to the appropriate agency for an investigation. A
  324  complaint is legally sufficient if it contains ultimate facts
  325  showing that a violation of this section or a violation of a
  326  rule adopted under this section has occurred. In order to
  327  determine legal sufficiency, the department may require
  328  supporting information or documentation from the complainant. A
  329  department inquiry is not subject to the requirements of chapter
  330  120.
  331         (e) Compare the list of students participating in the
  332  program with the public school enrollment lists before each
  333  program payment to avoid duplicate payments.
  334         (f) Select an independent research organization, which may
  335  be a public or private entity or university, to which
  336  participating entities must report the scores of students
  337  participating in the program on the standardized assessments
  338  administered by the schools as specified in the IEP.
  339         1. The independent research organization shall annually
  340  issue a report to the department which includes:
  341         a. The year-to-year learning gains of students
  342  participating in the program.
  343         b. To the extent possible, a comparison of the learning
  344  gains of students in the program to the statewide learning gains
  345  of public school students having backgrounds similar to those of
  346  the students in the program. In order to minimize the costs and
  347  time that the independent research organization requires for
  348  analysis and evaluation, the department shall conduct analyses
  349  of assessment data from matched students in public schools and
  350  shall calculate the learning gains of control groups using a
  351  methodology outlined in the contract with the independent
  352  research organization.
  353         c. The aggregate year-to-year learning gains of students in
  354  the program in each participating entity in which there are at
  355  least 30 participating students that have scores for tests for 2
  356  consecutive years at that entity.
  357         2. The sharing and reporting of the learning gains of
  358  students pursuant to this paragraph must be in accordance with
  359  the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. s.
  360  1232g, and shall be for the sole purpose of creating the annual
  361  report required under subparagraph 1. All parties shall preserve
  362  the confidentiality of such information as required by law. The
  363  independent research organization may not disaggregate data in
  364  its annual report to a level that identifies individual
  365  participating entities, except as required under sub
  366  subparagraph 1.c., or disclose the academic level of individual
  367  students.
  368         3. The department shall publish on its website the annual
  369  report required by subparagraph 1.
  370         (g) Coordinate with state-funded or federally funded
  371  benefits programs to advise a parent about the possible effect
  372  his or her child’s participation in the program under this
  373  section may have on the child’s eligibility for participating in
  374  those state-funded or federally funded benefits programs.
  375         (h) Issue a report by December 15, 2014, and annually
  376  thereafter to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  377  Speaker of the House of Representatives describing the
  378  implementation of accountability mechanisms for the program,
  379  identifying any substantial allegations and violations of a law
  380  or rule governing the program, and describing the corrective
  381  actions taken by the department relating to violations of a law
  382  or rule governing the program.
  384         (a) The Commissioner of Education:
  385         1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
  386  in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  387  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  388         2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  389  program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  390  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  391         3. May deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  392  program funds for material failure to comply with this section
  393  and applicable department rules if the noncompliance is
  394  correctable within a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, the
  395  commissioner shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use
  396  for failure to materially comply with the law and rules adopted
  397  under this section.
  398         4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
  399  date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
  400  section and applicable department rules. The commissioner may
  401  deny, suspend, or revoke program participation under this
  402  section thereafter.
  403         (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke in
  404  accordance with this subsection, the commissioner may consider
  405  factors that include, but are not limited to, acts or omissions
  406  by a participating entity which led to a previous denial or
  407  revocation of participation in an education scholarship program;
  408  failure to reimburse the department for program funds improperly
  409  received or retained by the entity; imposition of a prior
  410  criminal sanction related to the entity or its officers or
  411  employees; imposition of a civil fine or administrative fine,
  412  license revocation or suspension, or program eligibility
  413  suspension, termination, or revocation related to an entity’s
  414  management or operation; or other types of criminal proceedings
  415  in which the entity or its officers or employees were found
  416  guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo
  417  contendere or guilty to, any offense involving fraud, deceit,
  418  dishonesty, or moral turpitude.
  420  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  421  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  422  determine the appropriate placement or services that best meet
  423  the needs of his or her student. To enroll an eligible student
  424  in the program, the parent must sign an agreement with the
  425  department and annually submit a notarized, sworn compliance
  426  statement to the department to:
  427         (a) Affirm that the student meets minimum student
  428  attendance requirements as provided in s. 1003.21.
  429         (b) Use the program funds only for authorized purposes, as
  430  described in subsection (5).
  431         (c) Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
  432  standardized assessments as specified in the student’s IEP. The
  433  parent is responsible for transporting the student to the
  434  assessment site designated by the school district.
  435         (d) Request participation in the program at least 60 days
  436  before the date of the first program payment.
  437         (e) Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
  438  the provider or school if those options are selected by the
  439  parent.
  440         (f) Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
  441  school option is selected by the parent.
  442         (g) Annually renew participation in the program.
  443  Notwithstanding any changes to the student’s IEP, a student who
  444  was previously eligible for participation in the program shall
  445  remain eligible to apply for renewal as provided in subsection
  446  (6).
  447         (h) Designate in writing the authorized financial
  448  institution to receive payment of program funds and maintain a
  449  separate personalized account for learning at that institution.
  450         (i) Affirm that the parent will not transfer any college
  451  savings funds to another beneficiary.
  452         (j) Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
  453  funding contributed by the state.
  454         (k) Maintain a portfolio of records and materials which
  455  must be preserved by the parent for 2 years and be made
  456  available for inspection by the district school superintendent
  457  or the superintendent’s designee upon 15 days’ written notice.
  458  This paragraph does not require the superintendent to inspect
  459  the portfolio. The portfolio of records and materials consists
  460  of:
  461         1. A log of educational instruction and services which is
  462  made contemporaneously with delivery of the instruction and
  463  services and which designates by title any reading materials
  464  used; and
  465         2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
  466  creative materials used or developed by the student.
  468  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  469  personalized account for learning.
  470         (11) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
  471         (a)1. The maximum funding amount granted for an eligible
  472  student with a disability, pursuant to subsection (3), shall be
  473  equivalent to the base student allocation in the Florida
  474  Education Finance Program multiplied by the appropriate cost
  475  factor for the educational program which would have been
  476  provided for the student in the district school to which he or
  477  she would have been assigned, multiplied by the district cost
  478  differential.
  479         2. In addition, an amount equivalent to a share of the
  480  guaranteed allocation for exceptional students in the Florida
  481  Education Finance Program shall be determined and added to the
  482  amount in subparagraph 1. The calculation shall be based on the
  483  methodology and the data used to calculate the guaranteed
  484  allocation for exceptional students for each district in chapter
  485  2000-166, Laws of Florida. Except as provided in subparagraph
  486  3., the calculation shall be based on the student’s grade, the
  487  matrix level of services, and the difference between the 2000
  488  2001 basic program and the appropriate level of services cost
  489  factor, multiplied by the 2000-2001 base student allocation and
  490  the 2000-2001 district cost differential for the sending
  491  district. The calculated amount must also include an amount
  492  equivalent to the per-student share of supplemental academic
  493  instruction funds, instructional materials funds, technology
  494  funds, and other categorical funds as provided in the General
  495  Appropriations Act.
  496         3. Until the school district completes the matrix required
  497  under paragraph (7)(b), the calculation shall be based on the
  498  matrix that assigns the student to support level 3 of services.
  499  When the school district completes the matrix, the amount of the
  500  payment shall be adjusted as needed.
  501         (b) The amount of the awarded funds shall be 90 percent of
  502  the calculated amount.
  503         (c) The school district shall report all students who are
  504  participating in the program. The participating students who
  505  have previously been included in the Florida Education Finance
  506  Program and are included in public school enrollment counts
  507  shall be reported separately from other students reported for
  508  purposes of the Florida Education Finance Program. Participating
  509  students who have been enrolled in nonpublic schools shall also
  510  be reported separately.
  511         (d) Following notification on July 1, September 1, December
  512  1, or February 1 of the number of program participants:
  513         1. For students who have been enrolled in public schools
  514  and are included in public school enrollment counts, the
  515  department shall transfer, from General Revenue funds only, the
  516  amount of the awarded program funds calculated pursuant to
  517  paragraph (b) from the school district’s total funding
  518  entitlement under the Florida Education Finance Program and from
  519  authorized categorical accounts to a separate account for the
  520  program for quarterly disbursement to the personalized account
  521  for learning at an authorized financial institution on behalf of
  522  the parent and student; and
  523         2. For students who have been and will continue to be
  524  enrolled in nonpublic schools, the department shall also
  525  transfer from an appropriation for the program the amount
  526  calculated under paragraph (b) to a separate account for the
  527  program for quarterly disbursement to the personalized account
  528  for learning at an authorized financial institution on behalf of
  529  the parent and student. Nonpublic school students shall be
  530  provided awarded funds on a first-come, first-served basis.
  531         (e) When a student enters the program, the department must
  532  receive, at least 30 days before the first quarterly program
  533  payment is made to the personalized account for learning for the
  534  student, all documentation required for the student’s
  535  participation in the program.
  536         (f) Upon notification by the department that it has
  537  received the documentation required under paragraph (d), the
  538  department shall make payments in four equal amounts no later
  539  than September 1, November 1, February 1, and April 1 of each
  540  academic year in which the awarded funds are in force. The
  541  initial payment shall be made after department verification of
  542  the establishment of the personalized account for learning at an
  543  authorized financial institution, and subsequent payments shall
  544  be made upon verification of parental obligations under
  545  subsection (10). Payment must be by individual warrant made
  546  payable to the personalized account for learning on behalf of
  547  the parent and student. The authorized financial institution
  548  shall mail or electronically process payments as directed by the
  549  parent for authorized uses.
  550         (g) Subsequent to each payment, the department shall
  551  request from the Department of Financial Services a sample of
  552  payments from the authorized financial institution for
  553  authorized uses to endorsed warrants to review and confirm
  554  compliance with this section.
  555         (h) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
  556  postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
  557  consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
  558  student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
  559  institution, the student’s personalized account for learning
  560  shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
  561  state.
  562         (i) The department shall make payments to fund personalized
  563  accounts for learning at the authorized financial institution
  564  pursuant to this section.
  565         (j) The department shall develop a system for payment of
  566  benefits by electronic funds transfer, including, but not
  567  limited to, debit cards, electronic payment cards, or any other
  568  means of electronic payment that the department deems to be
  569  commercially viable or cost-effective. Commodities or services
  570  related to the development of such a system shall be procured by
  571  competitive solicitation unless they are purchased from a state
  572  term contract pursuant to s. 287.056. The State Board of
  573  Education shall adopt rules to administer this paragraph.
  574         (k) The department shall require audits of the authorized
  575  financial institution’s personalized accounts for learning
  576  pursuant to this section. The Chief Financial Officer shall
  577  conduct audits pursuant to this section.
  578         (12) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
  579  any use of awarded funds under this section.
  580         (13) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
  581  regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
  582  district to impose additional regulation on participating
  583  private schools, nonpublic postsecondary educational
  584  institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
  585  necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
  586  section.
  587         (14) RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt rules
  588  pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this
  589  section. The rules must identify the appropriate school district
  590  personnel who must complete the matrix of services.
  591         Section 2. Present subsection (10) of section 1003.4282,
  592  Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (11), and a new
  593  subsection (10) is added to that section, to read:
  594         1003.4282 Requirements for a standard high school diploma.—
  595         (10) STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.—Beginning with students
  596  entering grade 9 in the 2014-2015 school year, this subsection
  597  applies to a student with an intellectual or cognitive
  598  disability for whom the IEP team has determined that the Florida
  599  Alternate Assessment is the most appropriate measure of the
  600  student’s skills.
  601         (a) A parent of the student with a disability shall, in
  602  collaboration with the individual education plan team pursuant
  603  to s. 1003.5716, declare an intent for the student to graduate
  604  from high school with either a standard high school diploma or a
  605  certificate of completion. A student with a disability who does
  606  not satisfy the standard high school diploma requirements
  607  pursuant to this section shall be awarded a certificate of
  608  completion.
  609         (b) The following options, in addition to the other options
  610  specified in this section, may be used to satisfy the standard
  611  high school diploma requirements, as specified in the student’s
  612  individual education plan:
  613         1. A combination of course substitutions, assessments,
  614  industry certifications, and other acceleration options
  615  appropriate to the student’s unique skills and abilities that
  616  meet the criteria established by State Board of Education rule.
  617         2. A portfolio of quantifiable evidence that documents a
  618  student’s mastery of academic standards through rigorous metrics
  619  established by State Board of Education rule. A portfolio may
  620  include, but is not limited to, documentation of work
  621  experience, internships, community service, and postsecondary
  622  credit.
  623         (c) A student with a disability who meets the standard high
  624  school diploma requirements in this section may defer the
  625  receipt of a standard high school diploma if the student:
  626         1. Has an individual education plan that prescribes special
  627  education, transition planning, transition services, or related
  628  services through age 21; and
  629         2. Is enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction
  630  pursuant to s. 1007.27, industry certification courses that lead
  631  to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses
  632  necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a
  633  structured work-study, internship, or pre-apprenticeship
  634  program.
  635         (d) A student with a disability who receives a certificate
  636  of completion and has an individual education plan that
  637  prescribes special education, transition planning, transition
  638  services, or related services through 21 years of age may
  639  continue to receive the specified instruction and services.
  640         (e) Any waiver of the statewide, standardized assessment
  641  requirements by the individual education plan team, pursuant to
  642  s. 1008.22(3)(c), must be approved by the parent and is subject
  643  to verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
  644  selected by the parent as provided for in s. 1003.572.
  645         Section 3. Effective July 1, 2015, section 1003.438,
  646  Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  647         Section 4. Section 1003.5716, Florida Statutes, is created
  648  to read:
  649         1003.5716 Transition to postsecondary education and career
  650  opportunities.—All students with disabilities who are 3 years of
  651  age to 21 years of age have the right to a free, appropriate
  652  public education. As used in this section, the term “IEP” means
  653  individual education plan.
  654         (1) To ensure quality planning for a successful transition
  655  of a student with a disability to postsecondary education and
  656  career opportunities, an IEP team shall begin the process of,
  657  and develop an IEP for, identifying the need for transition
  658  services before the student with a disability attains the age of
  659  14 years in order for his or her postsecondary goals and career
  660  goals to be identified and in place when he or she attains the
  661  age of 16 years. This process must include, but is not limited
  662  to:
  663         (a) Consideration of the student’s need for instruction in
  664  the area of self-determination and self-advocacy to assist the
  665  student’s active and effective participation in an IEP meeting;
  666  and
  667         (b) Preparation for the student to graduate from high
  668  school with a standard high school diploma pursuant to s.
  669  1003.4282 with a Scholar designation unless the parent chooses a
  670  Merit designation.
  671         (2) Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect
  672  when the student turns 16, or younger, if determined appropriate
  673  by the parent and the IEP team, the IEP must include the
  674  following statements that must be updated annually:
  675         (a) A statement of intent to pursue a standard high school
  676  diploma and a Scholar or Merit designation, pursuant to s.
  677  1003.4285, as determined by the parent.
  678         (b) A statement of intent to receive a standard high school
  679  diploma before the student reaches the age of 22 and a
  680  description of how the student will fully meet the requirements
  681  in s. 1003.428 or s. 1003.4282, as applicable, including, but
  682  not limited to, a portfolio pursuant to s. 1003.4282(10)(b) that
  683  meets the criteria specified in State Board of Education rule.
  684  The IEP must also specify the outcomes and additional benefits
  685  expected by the parent and the IEP team at the time of the
  686  student’s graduation.
  687         (c) A statement of appropriate measurable long-term
  688  postsecondary education and career goals based upon age
  689  appropriate transition assessments related to training,
  690  education, employment, and, if appropriate, independent living
  691  skills and the transition services, including courses of study
  692  needed to assist the student in reaching those goals.
  693         (3) Any change in the IEP for the goals specified in
  694  subsection (2) must be approved by the parent and is subject to
  695  verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
  696  selected by the parent as provided in s. 1003.572.
  697         (4) If a participating agency responsible for transition
  698  services, other than the school district, fails to provide the
  699  transition services described in the IEP, the school district
  700  shall reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies
  701  to meet the transition objectives for the student that are
  702  specified in the IEP. However, this does not relieve any
  703  participating agency of the responsibility to provide or pay for
  704  any transition service that the agency would otherwise provide
  705  to students with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria
  706  of that agency.
  707         Section 5. Subsection (3) of section 1003.572, Florida
  708  Statutes, is amended to read:
  709         1003.572 Collaboration of public and private instructional
  710  personnel.—
  711         (3) Private instructional personnel who are hired or
  712  contracted by parents to collaborate with public instructional
  713  personnel must be permitted to observe the student in the
  714  educational setting, collaborate with instructional personnel in
  715  the educational setting, and provide services in the educational
  716  setting according to the following requirements:
  717         (a) The student’s public instructional personnel and
  718  principal consent to the time and place.
  719         (b) The private instructional personnel satisfy the
  720  requirements of s. 1012.32 or s. 1012.321.
  722  For the purpose of implementing this subsection, a school
  723  district may not impose any requirements beyond those
  724  requirements specified in this subsection or charge any fees.
  725         Section 6. Section 1008.2121, Florida Statutes, is created
  726  to read:
  727         1008.2121 Students with severe cognitive or physical
  728  disabilities; permanent exemption.—Based on information that a
  729  reasonably prudent person would rely upon, including, but not
  730  limited to, facts contained within an individual education plan
  731  under s. 1008.212, documentation from an appropriate health care
  732  provider, or certification from the district school board
  733  superintendent, the Commissioner of Education shall
  734  perfunctorily grant a permanent exemption to a student who
  735  suffers from such a severe cognitive disability or physical
  736  disability that the student permanently lacks the capacity to
  737  take statewide, standardized assessments. The State Board of
  738  Education shall adopt rules to administer this section,
  739  including, but not limited to, expediting the exemption process
  740  to demonstrate the utmost compassion and consideration for
  741  meeting the parent’s and student’s needs.
  742         Section 7. Paragraph (c) of subsection (5) and paragraph
  743  (b) of subsection (6) of section 1008.25, Florida Statutes, are
  744  amended to read:
  745         1008.25 Public school student progression; remedial
  746  instruction; reporting requirements.—
  748         (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial
  749  deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be
  750  notified in writing of the following:
  751         1. That his or her child has been identified as having a
  752  substantial deficiency in reading.
  753         2. A description of the current services that are provided
  754  to the child.
  755         3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional
  756  services and supports that will be provided to the child that
  757  are designed to remediate the identified area of reading
  758  deficiency.
  759         4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated
  760  by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or
  761  she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
  762         5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child
  763  succeed in reading proficiency.
  764         6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is
  765  not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional
  766  evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to
  767  the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing
  768  when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for
  769  grade promotion.
  770         7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a
  771  portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence
  772  required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s
  773  academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a
  774  student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as
  775  being at risk of retention may request that the school
  776  immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
  777         8.7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for
  778  midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a
  779  retained student at any time during the year of retention once
  780  the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
  782         (b) The district school board may only exempt students from
  783  mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), for good
  784  cause. A student who is promoted to grade 4 with a good cause
  785  exemption shall be provided intensive reading instruction and
  786  intervention that include specialized diagnostic information and
  787  specific reading strategies to meet the needs of each student so
  788  promoted. The school district shall assist schools and teachers
  789  with the implementation of reading strategies for students
  790  promoted with a good cause exemption which research has shown to
  791  be successful in improving reading among students that have
  792  reading difficulties. Good cause exemptions shall be limited to
  793  the following:
  794         1. Limited English proficient students who have had less
  795  than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other
  796  Languages program.
  797         2. Students with disabilities whose individual education
  798  plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment
  799  program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of
  800  State Board of Education rule.
  801         3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of
  802  performance on an alternative standardized reading or English
  803  Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of
  804  Education.
  805         4. A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio
  806  that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on FCAT Reading
  807  or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
  808  applicable under s. 1008.22.
  809         5. Students with disabilities who participate in FCAT
  810  Reading or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
  811  applicable under s. 1008.22, and who have an individual
  812  education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the
  813  student has received intensive remediation in reading and
  814  English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still
  815  demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in
  816  kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
  817         6. Students who have received intensive reading
  818  intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a
  819  deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in
  820  kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2
  821  years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.
  822         7.6. Students who have received intensive remediation in
  823  reading and English Language Arts, as applicable under s.
  824  1008.22, for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency
  825  and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade
  826  2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. Intensive instruction for
  827  students so promoted must include an altered instructional day
  828  that includes specialized diagnostic information and specific
  829  reading strategies for each student. The district school board
  830  shall assist schools and teachers to implement reading
  831  strategies that research has shown to be successful in improving
  832  reading among low-performing readers.
  833         Section 8. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (c) of
  834  subsection (1) of section 120.81, Florida Statutes, is amended
  835  to read:
  836         120.81 Exceptions and special requirements; general areas.—
  837         (1) EDUCATIONAL UNITS.—
  838         (c) Notwithstanding s. 120.52(16), any tests, test scoring
  839  criteria, or testing procedures relating to student assessment
  840  which are developed or administered by the Department of
  841  Education pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.438, s.
  842  1008.22, or s. 1008.25, or any other statewide educational tests
  843  required by law, are not rules.
  844         Section 9. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (2) of
  845  section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  846         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
  848         (a) A young adult is eligible for services and support
  849  under this subsection if he or she:
  850         1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
  851  or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
  852  years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
  853  court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
  854  months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
  855  preceding such placement or adoption;
  856         2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
  857  his or her 18th birthday;
  858         3. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
  859  pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, or s.
  860  1003.435, or s. 1003.438;
  861         4. Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
  862  or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
  863  institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
  864  section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
  865  vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
  866  he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
  867  challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
  868  attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
  869  other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
  870  his or her academic advisor;
  871         5. Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
  872  age;
  873         6. Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
  874  caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
  875  grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
  876         7. Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  877  which is complete and error free; and
  878         8. Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
  879  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
  880         Section 10. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (4) of
  881  section 1007.263, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  882         1007.263 Florida College System institutions; admissions of
  883  students.—Each Florida College System institution board of
  884  trustees is authorized to adopt rules governing admissions of
  885  students subject to this section and rules of the State Board of
  886  Education. These rules shall include the following:
  887         (4) A student who has been awarded a special diploma as
  888  defined in s. 1003.438 or a certificate of completion as defined
  889  in s. 1003.428(7)(b) is eligible to enroll in certificate career
  890  education programs.
  892  Each board of trustees shall establish policies that notify
  893  students about developmental education options for improving
  894  their communication or computation skills that are essential to
  895  performing college-level work, including tutoring, extended time
  896  in gateway courses, free online courses, adult basic education,
  897  adult secondary education, or private provider instruction.
  898         Section 11. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  899  act, this act shall take effect July 1, 2014.