Florida Senate - 2014 CS for SB 1512
By the Committee on Education; and Senators Stargel, Thrasher,
Gardiner, and Galvano
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
265 (7) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS; PARENTAL OPTIONS.—
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
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
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
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
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.
383 (9) COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—
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.
419 (10) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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;
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
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.—
747 (5) READING DEFICIENCY AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION.—
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
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.
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.
781 (6) ELIMINATION OF SOCIAL PROMOTION.—
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
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.—
847 (2) POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION SERVICES AND SUPPORT.—
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
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.