Florida Senate - 2014                      CS for CS for SB 1512
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education; and Senators
       Stargel, Thrasher, Gardiner, and Galvano
       576-04499-14                                          20141512c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to education; amending s. 11.45, F.S.;
    3         authorizing the Auditor General to conduct audits of
    4         the accounts and records of nonprofit scholarship
    5         funding organizations; creating s. 1002.385, F.S.;
    6         establishing the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
    7         Accounts; defining terms; specifying criteria for
    8         students who are eligible to participate in the
    9         program; identifying certain students who are not
   10         eligible to participate in the program; authorizing
   11         the use of awarded funds for specific purposes;
   12         prohibiting specific providers, schools, institutions,
   13         school districts, and other entities from sharing,
   14         refunding, or rebating program funds; specifying the
   15         terms of the program; providing that the school
   16         district retains all duties, authority, and
   17         responsibilities specified in the Florida K-20
   18         Education Code; specifying the duties of the
   19         Department of Education relating to the program;
   20         providing that the Commissioner of Education retains
   21         all current duties, authority, and responsibilities as
   22         specified in the Florida K-20 Education Code;
   23         requiring the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to
   24         deny, suspend, or revoke participation in the program
   25         or use of program funds under certain circumstances;
   26         providing additional factors under which the agency
   27         may deny, suspend, or revoke a participation in the
   28         program or program funds; requiring a parent to sign
   29         an agreement with the Agency for Persons with
   30         Disabilities to enroll his or her child in the program
   31         which specifies the responsibilities of a parent or
   32         student for using funds in a personal learning
   33         scholarship account and for submitting a compliance
   34         statement to the agency; providing that a parent who
   35         fails to comply with the responsibilities of the
   36         agreement forfeits the personal learning scholarship
   37         account; providing eligibility requirements and
   38         obligations for private schools under the program;
   39         specifying agency obligations under the program;
   40         authorizing the agency to contract for services;
   41         providing for funding and payment; providing the
   42         Auditor General’s obligations under the program;
   43         providing that the state is not liable for the use of
   44         awarded funds; providing for the scope of authority;
   45         requiring the agency to adopt rules; providing for
   46         implementation of the program in a specified school
   47         year; providing an appropriation; amending s.
   48         1002.395, F.S.; revising purpose; revising
   49         definitions; revising eligibility requirements for the
   50         Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program; requiring the
   51         Department of Education and Department of Revenue to
   52         publish the tax credit cap on their websites when it
   53         is increased; requiring the Department of Revenue to
   54         provide a copy of a letter approving a taxpayer for a
   55         specified tax credit to the eligible nonprofit
   56         scholarship-funding organization; authorizing certain
   57         entities to convey, transfer, or assign certain tax
   58         credits; providing for the calculation of underpayment
   59         of estimated corporate income taxes and tax
   60         installation payments for taxes on insurance premiums
   61         and assessments and the determination of whether
   62         penalties or interest shall be imposed on the
   63         underpayment; revising the disqualifying offenses for
   64         nonprofit scholarship-funding organization owners and
   65         operators; revising priority for new applicants;
   66         allowing a student in foster care or out-of-home care
   67         to apply for a scholarship at any time; prohibiting
   68         use of eligible contributions from being used for
   69         lobbying or political activity or related expenses;
   70         requiring application fees to be expended for student
   71         scholarships in any year a nonprofit scholarship
   72         funding organization uses eligible contributions for
   73         administrative expenses; requiring amounts carried
   74         forward to be specifically reserved for particular
   75         students and schools for audit purposes; revising
   76         audit and report requirements for nonprofit
   77         scholarship-funding organizations and Auditor General
   78         review of all reports; requiring nonprofit
   79         scholarship-funding organizations to maintain a surety
   80         bond or letter of credit and to adjust the bond or
   81         letter of credit quarterly based upon a statement from
   82         a certified public accountant; providing exceptions;
   83         requiring the nonprofit scholarship-funding
   84         organization to provide the Auditor General any
   85         information or documentation requested in connection
   86         with an operational audit; requiring a private school
   87         to provide agreed upon transportation and make
   88         arrangements for taking statewide assessments at the
   89         school district testing site and in accordance with
   90         the district’s testing schedule if the student chooses
   91         to take the statewide assessment; requiring parental
   92         authorization for access to income eligibility
   93         information; specifying that the independent research
   94         organization is the Learning System Institute at the
   95         Florida State University; identifying grant terms and
   96         payments; revising statewide and individual school
   97         report requirements; revising limitations on annual
   98         scholarship amounts; providing initial and renewal
   99         application requirements and an approval process for a
  100         charitable organization that seeks to be a nonprofit
  101         scholarship-funding organization; requiring the State
  102         Board of Education to adopt rules; providing a
  103         registration notice requirement for public and private
  104         universities to be nonprofit scholarship-funding
  105         organizations; requiring the State Board of Education
  106         to adopt rules; allowing existing nonprofit
  107         scholarship-funding organizations to provide the
  108         required bond at a specified date; amending s.
  109         1003.4282, F.S.; providing standard high school
  110         diploma requirements for certain students with
  111         disabilities; requiring the State Board of Education
  112         to adopt rules; authorizing a student with a
  113         disability to defer the receipt of a standard high
  114         school diploma if certain conditions are met;
  115         authorizing certain students with disabilities to
  116         continue to receive certain instructions and services;
  117         requiring an independent review and a parent’s
  118         approval to waive statewide, standardized assessment
  119         requirements by the individual education plan (IEP)
  120         team; repealing s. 1003.438, F.S., relating to special
  121         high school graduation requirements for certain
  122         exceptional students; creating s. 1003.5716, F.S.;
  123         providing that certain students with disabilities have
  124         a right to free, appropriate public education;
  125         requiring an IEP team to begin the process of, and to
  126         develop an IEP for, identifying transition services
  127         needs for a student with a disability before the
  128         student attains a specified age; providing
  129         requirements for the process; requiring certain
  130         statements to be included and annually updated in the
  131         IEP; providing that changes in the goals specified in
  132         an IEP are subject to independent review and parental
  133         approval; requiring the school district to reconvene
  134         the IEP team to identify alternative strategies to
  135         meet transition objectives if a participating agency
  136         fails to provide transition services specified in the
  137         IEP; providing that the agency’s failure does not
  138         relieve the agency of the responsibility to provide or
  139         pay for the transition services that the agency
  140         otherwise would have provided; amending s. 1003.572,
  141         F.S.; prohibiting a school district from imposing
  142         additional requirements on private instructional
  143         personnel or charging fees; creating s. 1008.2121,
  144         F.S.; requiring the Commissioner of Education to
  145         permanently exempt certain students with disabilities
  146         from taking statewide, standardized assessments;
  147         requiring the State Board of Education to adopt rules;
  148         amending s. 1008.25, F.S.; requiring written
  149         notification relating to portfolios to a parent of a
  150         student with a substantial reading deficiency;
  151         requiring a student promoted to a certain grade with a
  152         good cause exemption to receive intensive reading
  153         instruction and intervention; requiring a school
  154         district to assist schools and teachers with the
  155         implementation of reading strategies; revising good
  156         cause exemptions; amending ss. 120.81, 409.1451, and
  157         1007.263, F.S.; conforming cross-references; providing
  158         effective dates.
  160  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  162         Section 1. Paragraph (k) is added to subsection (2) and
  163  paragraph (y) is added to subsection (3) of section 11.45,
  164  Florida Statutes, and subsection (8) of that section is amended,
  165  to read:
  166         11.45 Definitions; duties; authorities; reports; rules.—
  167         (2) DUTIES.—The Auditor General shall:
  168         (k) Annually conduct operational audits of the accounts and
  169  records of eligible non-profit scholarship-funding organizations
  170  receiving eligible contributions under s. 1002.395, including
  171  any contracts for services with related entities, to determine
  172  compliance with the provisions of that section. Such audits
  173  shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the
  174  eligible non-profit scholarship funding organization’s
  175  compliance with s. 1002.395(6)(j). The Auditor General shall
  176  provide its report on the results of the audits to the Governor,
  177  the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  178  Representatives, the Chief Financial Officer, and the
  179  Legislative Auditing Committee, within 30 days of completion of
  180  the audit.
  182  The Auditor General shall perform his or her duties
  183  independently but under the general policies established by the
  184  Legislative Auditing Committee. This subsection does not limit
  185  the Auditor General’s discretionary authority to conduct other
  186  audits or engagements of governmental entities as authorized in
  187  subsection (3).
  189  General may, pursuant to his or her own authority, or at the
  190  direction of the Legislative Auditing Committee, conduct audits
  191  or other engagements as determined appropriate by the Auditor
  192  General of:
  193         (y) The accounts and records of a nonprofit scholarship
  194  funding organization participating in a state sponsored
  195  scholarship program authorized by chapter 1002.
  196         (8) RULES OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—The Auditor General, in
  197  consultation with the Board of Accountancy, shall adopt rules
  198  for the form and conduct of all financial audits performed by
  199  independent certified public accountants pursuant to ss.
  200  215.981, 218.39, 1001.453, 1002.395, 1004.28, and 1004.70. The
  201  rules for audits of local governmental entities, charter
  202  schools, charter technical career centers, and district school
  203  boards must include, but are not limited to, requirements for
  204  the reporting of information necessary to carry out the purposes
  205  of the Local Governmental Entity, Charter School, Charter
  206  Technical Career Center, and District School Board Financial
  207  Emergencies Act as stated in s. 218.501.
  208         Section 2. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is created
  209  to read:
  210         1002.385 Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts.—
  211         (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personal Learning
  212  Scholarship Accounts is established to provide the option for a
  213  parent to better meet the individual educational needs of his or
  214  her eligible child.
  215         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  216         (a) “Agency” means the Agency for Persons with
  217  Disabilities.
  218         (b) “Approved provider” means a provider approved by the
  219  Agency for Persons with Disabilities, including an educational
  220  consultant, a health care practitioner as defined in s.
  221  456.001(4), or a provider approved by the Department of
  222  Education pursuant to s. 1002.66. An educational consultant is a
  223  provider who is approved by the agency, has a bachelor’s degree
  224  from an accredited college or university, holds a Florida
  225  professional educator certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56 in
  226  exceptional student education, and has 3 years of supervised
  227  experience in working with individuals with disabilities. The
  228  educational consultant assists in the development of an
  229  individual learning services plan, monitors a student’s
  230  progress, and reports to the agency.
  231         (c) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
  232  particular content area or grade level, including any required
  233  supplemental materials.
  234         (d) “Disability” means, for a student in kindergarten to
  235  grade 12, autism, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral palsy,
  236  as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in s.
  237  393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
  238  393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
  239  393.063(25); Spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); for a
  240  student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as defined in
  241  s. 393.063(20)(a); or Williams syndrome, which is a
  242  developmental disorder that is characterized by mild to moderate
  243  intellectual disability or learning problems, unique personality
  244  characteristics, distinctive facial features, and cardiovascular
  245  problems.
  246         (e) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
  247  a Florida College System institution, a state university, a
  248  school district technical center, a school district adult
  249  general education center, or an accredited nonpublic
  250  postsecondary educational institution, as defined in s. 1005.02,
  251  which is licensed to operate in the state pursuant to
  252  requirements specified in part III of chapter 1005.
  253         (f) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
  254  defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
  255  offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
  256  to grade 12, and which meets the requirements of:
  257         1. Sections 1002.42 and 1002.421; and
  258         2. A scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395,
  259  as applicable, if the private school participates in a
  260  scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
  261         (g) “ILSP” means an individual learning services plan that
  262  is developed for a student who participates in the program. The
  263  ILSP must include funding categories that are specified in
  264  accordance with rules of the Agency for Persons with
  265  Disabilities.
  266         (h) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
  267  parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
  268         (i) “Program” means the Florida Personal Learning
  269  Scholarship Accounts established in this section.
  270         (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
  271  disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
  272  personal learning scholarship account for the purposes specified
  273  in subsection (5) if:
  274         (a) The student:
  275         1. Is a resident of this state;
  276         2. Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12
  277  in a public school in this state;
  278         3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d);
  279         4. Has an ILSP developed by the agency in consultation with
  280  the parent and written in accordance with rules of the Agency
  281  for Persons with Disabilities; and
  282         5.Complies with regular school attendance pursuant to s.
  283  1003.01(13); and
  284         (b) The parent has applied to the agency to participate in
  285  the program by February 1 before the school year in which the
  286  student will participate or an alternate date adopted by the
  287  agency in rule for any vacant, funded slots. The request must be
  288  communicated directly to the agency in a manner that creates a
  289  written or electronic record of the request and the date of
  290  receipt of the request. The agency must notify the school
  291  district and the Department of Education of the parent’s intent
  292  upon receipt of the parent’s request.
  293         (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—A student is not eligible for the
  294  program if:
  295         (a) The student or student’s parent has accepted any
  296  payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
  297  any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
  298         (b) The student’s participation in the program has been
  299  denied or revoked by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  300  pursuant to subsection (10); or
  301         (c) The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
  302  program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
  303  subsection (11).
  304         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
  305  spent for the following purposes, according to the goals and
  306  objectives identified in the student’s ILSP:
  307         (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
  308  digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
  309  allow a student to access instruction or instructional content.
  310         (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(c).
  311         (c) Specialized services by approved providers that are
  312  selected by the parent and specified in the student’s ILSP.
  313  These specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
  314         1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
  315  627.6686 and 641.31098.
  316         2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
  317  defined in s. 468.1125.
  318         3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
  319         4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
  320  s. 486.021.
  321         5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
  322  specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
  323  child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
  324  implant or assistive hearing device.
  325         (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
  326  enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
  327  postsecondary educational institution, a private tutoring
  328  program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program offered
  329  by a department-approved private online provider that meets the
  330  provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), or an
  331  approved online course offered pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s.
  332  1004.0961.
  333         (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
  334  achievement tests, Advanced Placement examinations, industry
  335  certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
  336  education, or other assessments specified in the student’s ILSP.
  337         (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
  338  College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98, for the benefit of the
  339  eligible student.
  340         (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
  341  school district, including classes for the services specified in
  342  the ILSP or additional services. A student who receives services
  343  under a contract under this paragraph may not be considered to
  344  be enrolled in a public school.
  346  A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
  347  eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
  348  program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
  349  school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
  350  pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
  351  moneys from a Florida personal learning scholarship account with
  352  the parent or participating student in any manner.
  353         (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
  354  educational choice, the program payments made under this section
  355  shall remain in force until a student participating in the
  356  program participates in any of the prohibited activities
  357  specified in subsection (4), has funds revoked by the agency
  358  pursuant to subsection (10), graduates from high school, or
  359  reaches 22 years of age, whichever occurs first.
  360         (7) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS.—The school district
  361  retains all current duties, authority, and responsibilities as
  362  specified in the Florida K-20 Education Code.
  363         (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
  364  shall:
  365         (a) Maintain a list of eligible private schools as defined
  366  in paragraph (2)(f) and private tutoring programs pursuant to s.
  367  1002.43.
  368         (b) Compare the list of students participating in the
  369  program with the public school enrollment lists before each
  370  program payment to avoid duplicate payments.
  372  The department retains all current duties, authority, and
  373  responsibilities as specified in the Florida K-20 Education
  374  Code.
  376  The Commissioner of Education retains all current duties,
  377  authority, and responsibilities as specified in the Florida K-20
  378  Education Code.
  381         (a) The agency:
  382         1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
  383  in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  384  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  385         2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  386  program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
  387  is threatened or fraud is suspected.
  388         3. May deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
  389  program funds for material failure to comply with this section
  390  and applicable agency rules if the noncompliance is correctable
  391  within a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, the agency shall
  392  deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use for failure to
  393  materially comply with the law and rules adopted under this
  394  section.
  395         4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
  396  date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
  397  section and applicable agency rules. The agency may deny,
  398  suspend, or revoke program participation under this section
  399  thereafter.
  400         (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke an
  401  approved provider in accordance with this subsection, the agency
  402  may consider factors that include, but are not limited to, acts
  403  or omissions by a participating entity which led to a previous
  404  denial or revocation of participation in an education
  405  scholarship program under this chapter; failure to reimburse the
  406  agency for program funds improperly received or retained by the
  407  entity; imposition of a prior criminal sanction related to the
  408  entity or its officers or employees; imposition of a civil fine
  409  or administrative fine, license revocation or suspension, or
  410  program eligibility suspension, termination, or revocation
  411  related to an entity’s management or operation; or other types
  412  of criminal proceedings in which the entity or its officers or
  413  employees were found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or
  414  entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense
  415  involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or moral turpitude.
  417  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  418  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  419  determine the appropriate placement or services that best meet
  420  the needs of his or her student. To enroll an eligible student
  421  in the program, the parent must sign an agreement with the
  422  agency and annually submit a notarized, sworn compliance
  423  statement to the agency to:
  424         (a) Affirm that the student is enrolled in a school or
  425  program that meets minimum student attendance requirements as
  426  provided in s. 1003.21.
  427         (b) Comply with the ILSP and use the program funds only for
  428  authorized purposes to meet the student’s goals and objectives
  429  in the ILSP as described in subsection (2).
  430         (c) Provide for an appropriate assessment that documents
  431  the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level
  432  commensurate with her or his ability, in accordance with the
  433  requirements for the academic program selected by the parent who
  434  enrolls the student in a private school pursuant to paragraph
  435  (2)(f), a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41, or a
  436  scholarship program pursuant to s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
  437         (d) Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
  438  assessments as specified in the student’s ILSP. The parent is
  439  responsible for transporting the student to the assessment site
  440  designated by the school district if the parent selects a
  441  statewide, standardized assessment pursuant to s. 1008.22.
  442         (e)Notify the school district that the student is
  443  participating in the program if the parent chooses to enroll the
  444  student in an eligible private school pursuant to paragraph
  445  (2)(f), a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41, a
  446  scholarship program pursuant to this chapter, or a private
  447  tutoring program authorized under s. 1002.43.
  448         (f) Request participation in the program pursuant to
  449  paragraph (3)(b).
  450         (g) Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
  451  the provider or school if those options are selected by the
  452  parent.
  453         (h) Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
  454  school option is selected by the parent.
  455         (i) Annually renew participation in the program.
  456         (j) Be responsible for the payment of all eligible expenses
  457  in excess of the amount of the personal learning scholarship
  458  account.
  459         (k) Affirm that the parent will not transfer any college
  460  savings funds to another beneficiary.
  461         (l) Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
  462  funding provided by the state for the Florida Personal Learning
  463  Scholarship Accounts.
  464         (m) Maintain a portfolio of records and materials which
  465  must be preserved by the parent for 2 years and be made
  466  available for inspection by the district school superintendent
  467  or the superintendent’s designee upon 15 days’ written notice.
  468  This paragraph does not require the superintendent to inspect
  469  the portfolio. The portfolio of records and materials consists
  470  of:
  471         1. A log of educational instruction and services which is
  472  made contemporaneously with delivery of the instruction and
  473  services and which designates by title any reading materials
  474  used; and
  475         2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
  476  creative materials used or developed by the student.
  478  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  479  personal learning scholarship account.
  481  eligible private school as defined in paragraph (2)(f) must:
  482         (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools in ss.
  483  1002.42 and 1002.421. A private school participating in a
  484  scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395 must also
  485  comply with the requirements of that scholarship program.
  486         (b) Provide to the agency, upon request, all documentation
  487  required for the student’s participation, including the private
  488  school’s and student’s fee schedules.
  489         (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
  490  the educational needs of the student.
  491         (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
  492  direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
  493  this section at the school’s physical location.
  495  The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
  496  this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
  497  of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
  498  as determined by the Department of Education.
  500         (a) The agency shall:
  501         1. Monitor and provide oversight for the program.
  502         2. Receive applications and determine student eligibility
  503  in accordance with the requirements of this section. The agency
  504  shall notify the Department of Education of the applicants for
  505  the program by February 15 before the school year in which the
  506  student intends to participate and indicate how the student will
  507  comply with regular school attendance pursuant to ss.
  508  1003.01(13) and 1003.23.
  509         3.Notify parents of their receipt of a scholarship on a
  510  first-come, first-served basis based upon the funds provided for
  511  this program in the General Appropriations Act.
  512         4.Establish a date by which a parent must confirm initial
  513  or continuing participation in the program and confirm the
  514  establishment or continuance of a personal learning scholarship
  515  account.
  516         5.Establish a date and process by which students on the
  517  wait list or late-filing applicants may be allowed to
  518  participate in the program during the school year, within the
  519  amount of funds provided for this program in the General
  520  Appropriations Act.
  521         6.Develop an ILSP, in consultation with the parent and the
  522  educational consultant, which documents the following:
  523         a.That the student has an eligible disability as defined
  524  in paragraph (2)(d).
  525         b.Learning goals and objectives for the student which are
  526  linked directly to how program funds will be spent for
  527  authorized services.
  528         c.How attendance requirements in s. 1003.21 will be met.
  529         d.How progress toward meeting the individual learning
  530  goals and objectives will be assessed and documented for
  531  purposes of continued participation in the program.
  532         7.Assign a funding category for each student that
  533  documents the nature and intensity of services that the student
  534  will need to meet the learning outcomes specified in his or her
  535  ILSP. The funding category determines the amount of the award
  536  for the student.
  537         8.Receive an administrative fee of up to 10 percent from
  538  the appropriation to operate the Florida Personal Learning
  539  Scholarship Accounts.
  540         9.Establish and maintain a separate account for each
  541  eligible student.
  542         10. Establish and maintain a list of approved providers
  543  pursuant to paragraph (2)(b).
  544         11.Verify eligible expenditures prior to the distribution
  545  of funds for any expenditures made pursuant to paragraphs (5)(a)
  546  and (b). The review of expenditures for services in paragraphs
  547  (5)(c) through (g) may be completed after the payment has been
  548  made.
  549         12. Develop a system for payment of benefits by electronic
  550  funds transfer, including, but not limited to, debit cards,
  551  electronic payment cards, or any other means of electronic
  552  payment that the agency deems to be commercially viable or cost
  553  effective. Commodities or services related to the development of
  554  such a system shall be procured by competitive solicitation
  555  unless they are purchased from a state term contract pursuant to
  556  s. 287.056.
  557         (b) The agency may contract for services.
  558         (14) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
  559         (a)Funding for the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
  560  Accounts shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act,
  561  which shall specify the annual amount per funding category for
  562  public school students, private school students, home education
  563  students, students receiving a scholarship pursuant to s.
  564  1002.39 or s. 1002.395, and students participating in a private
  565  tutoring program.
  566         (b) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
  567  postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
  568  consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
  569  student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
  570  institution, the student’s personal learning scholarship account
  571  shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
  572  state.
  573         (c) Moneys received pursuant to this section do not
  574  constitute taxable income to the eligible student or the parent
  575  of an eligible student.
  576         (15) OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—The Auditor
  577  General shall conduct an annual financial and operational audit
  578  of accounts and records of the Florida Personal Learning
  579  Scholarship Accounts. As a part of this audit, the Auditor
  580  General shall verify, at a minimum, the total amount of students
  581  served and eligibility of reimbursement made by the agency and
  582  transmit that information to the agency.
  583         (16) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
  584  any use of awarded funds under this section.
  585         (17) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
  586  regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
  587  district to impose additional regulation on participating
  588  private schools, nonpublic postsecondary educational
  589  institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
  590  necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
  591  section.
  592         (18) RULES.—The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall
  593  adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer
  594  this section.
  596  YEAR.—
  597         (a)The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall, in
  598  consultation with an advisory work group, develop an ILSP and an
  599  ILSP process, funding category requirements, a system for
  600  payment of claims and providers, and a system to document and
  601  assess progress toward meeting the individual learning goals and
  602  objectives in the ILSP. The advisory work group shall make
  603  specific recommendations to the agency by October 1, 2014. The
  604  agency shall adopt rules to implement the recommendations of the
  605  advisory group by December 31, 2014. The Commissioner of
  606  Education, the executive director of the agency, the Chancellor
  607  of the State University System, and the director of the Division
  608  of Vocational Rehabilitation shall appoint staff to work on the
  609  advisory group with stakeholders.
  610         (b)Notwithstanding the provisions of this section related
  611  to notification and eligibility timelines, the agency may enroll
  612  parents in a statewide pilot program on a rolling schedule on a
  613  first-come, first-served basis, no later than February 1, 2015,
  614  within the amount of funds provided in the General
  615  Appropriations Act.
  616         (c) There is hereby appropriated for the 2014-2015 fiscal
  617  year to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities a sum of $18.4
  618  million from the Operations and Maintenance Trust Fund for the
  619  implementation of the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts
  620  Program. From these funds, $1.5 million shall be allocated to
  621  the Agency for Persons with Disabilities for startup costs for
  622  planning and implementation of the pilot program. For the pilot
  623  program in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the agency shall provide
  624  awards for eligible students which range from $5,000 to $19,000
  625  per recipient and shall be based on funding categories
  626  established by the agency. Public school students and students
  627  who receive a scholarship pursuant to ss. 1002.39 and 1002.395
  628  shall receive 50 percent of the designated amount for the
  629  student’s funding category.
  630         Section 3. Paragraph (c) is added to subsection (1),
  631  paragraph (f) of subsection (2), subsection (3), subsection (5),
  632  subsection (6), paragraph (e) of subsection (7), paragraphs (c)
  633  and (e) of subsection (8), paragraphs (d), (j) and (o) of
  634  subsection (9), and paragraph (a) of subsection (12) of section
  635  1002.395, Florida Statutes, are amended, paragraphs (h) through
  636  (j) of subsection (2) are redesignated as paragraphs (i) through
  637  (k), respectively, and a new paragraph (h) is added to that
  638  subsection, paragraph (g) is added to subsection (7), and
  639  subsection (16) is added to that section, to read:
  640         1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.—
  641         (1) FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.—
  642         (c) The purpose of this section is not to prescribe the
  643  standards or curriculum for private schools. A private school
  644  retains the authority to determine its own standards and
  645  curriculum.
  646         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  647         (f) “Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization”
  648  means a state university; or an independent college or
  649  university that is eligible to participate in the William L.
  650  Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program, located and
  651  chartered in this state, is not for profit, and is accredited by
  652  the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of
  653  Colleges and Schools; or is a charitable organization that:
  654         1. Is exempt from federal income tax pursuant to s.
  655  501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  656         2. Is a Florida entity formed under chapter 607, chapter
  657  608, or chapter 617 and whose principal office is located in the
  658  state; and
  659         3. Complies with subsections the provisions of subsection
  660  (6) and (16).
  661         (h) “Household income” has the same meaning as the term
  662  “income” is defined in the Income Eligibility Guidelines for
  663  free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch
  664  Program in 7 C.F.R. part 210 as published in the Federal
  665  Register by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  667         (a) The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is
  668  established.
  669         (b) For the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years,
  670  contingent upon available funds, a student is eligible for a
  671  Florida tax credit scholarship under this section if the student
  672  meets one or more of the following criteria:
  673         1. The student qualifies for free or reduced-price school
  674  lunches under the National School Lunch Act or is on the direct
  675  certification list; and:
  676         a. Was counted as a full-time equivalent student during the
  677  previous state fiscal year for purposes of state per-student
  678  funding;
  679         b. Received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit
  680  scholarship-funding organization or from the State of Florida
  681  during the previous school year; or
  682         c. Is eligible to enter kindergarten through fifth grade.
  683         2. The student is currently placed, or during the previous
  684  state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home
  685  care as defined in s. 39.01; or.
  686         3. The student continues in the scholarship program as long
  687  as the student’s household income level does not exceed 230
  688  percent of the federal poverty level.
  689         4. The student, who is a first-time tax credit scholarship
  690  recipient, is a sibling of a student who is continuing in the
  691  scholarship program and who resides in the same household as the
  692  student if the sibling meets one or more of the criteria
  693  specified in subparagraphs 1. and 2. and as long as the
  694  student’s and sibling’s household income level does not exceed
  695  230 percent of the federal poverty level.
  696         (c) For the 2016-2017 school year and thereafter,
  697  contingent upon available funds, a student is eligible for a
  698  Florida tax credit scholarship under this section if the student
  699  meets one or more of the following criteria:
  700         1. The student is on the direct certification list or the
  701  student’s household income level does not exceed 185 percent of
  702  the federal poverty level; or
  703         2. The student is currently placed, or during the previous
  704  state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home
  705  care as defined in s. 39.01.
  707  A student who initially receives a scholarship based on
  708  eligibility under subparagraph (b)2. or subparagraph (c)2.
  709  remains eligible until the student graduates from high school or
  710  attains the age of 21 years, whichever occurs first, regardless
  711  of the student’s household income level. A sibling of a student
  712  who is participating in the scholarship program under this
  713  subsection is eligible for a scholarship if the student resides
  714  in the same household as the sibling.
  716         (a)1. The tax credit cap amount is $229 million in the
  717  2012-2013 state fiscal year.
  718         2. In the 2013-2014 state fiscal year and each state fiscal
  719  year thereafter, the tax credit cap amount is the tax credit cap
  720  amount in the prior state fiscal year. However, in any state
  721  fiscal year when the annual tax credit amount for the prior
  722  state fiscal year is equal to or greater than 90 percent of the
  723  tax credit cap amount applicable to that state fiscal year, the
  724  tax credit cap amount shall increase by 25 percent. The
  725  Department of Education and Department of Revenue department
  726  shall publish on their websites its website information
  727  identifying the tax credit cap amount when it is increased
  728  pursuant to this subparagraph.
  729         (b) A taxpayer may submit an application to the department
  730  for a tax credit or credits under one or more of s. 211.0251, s.
  731  212.1831, s. 220.1875, s. 561.1211, or s. 624.51055.
  732         1. The taxpayer shall specify in the application each tax
  733  for which the taxpayer requests a credit and the applicable
  734  taxable year for a credit under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055 or
  735  the applicable state fiscal year for a credit under s. 211.0251,
  736  s. 212.1831, or s. 561.1211. The department shall approve tax
  737  credits on a first-come, first-served basis and must obtain the
  738  division’s approval before prior to approving a tax credit under
  739  s. 561.1211.
  740         2. Within 10 days after approving an application, the
  741  department shall provide a copy of its approval letter to the
  742  eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization specified by
  743  the taxpayer in the application.
  744         (c) If a tax credit approved under paragraph (b) is not
  745  fully used within the specified state fiscal year for credits
  746  under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, or s. 561.1211 or against taxes
  747  due for the specified taxable year for credits under s. 220.1875
  748  or s. 624.51055 because of insufficient tax liability on the
  749  part of the taxpayer, the unused amount may be carried forward
  750  for a period not to exceed 5 years. However, any taxpayer that
  751  seeks to carry forward an unused amount of tax credit must
  752  submit an application to the department for approval of the
  753  carryforward tax credit in the year that the taxpayer intends to
  754  use the carryforward. The department must obtain the division’s
  755  approval prior to approving the carryforward of a tax credit
  756  under s. 561.1211.
  757         (d) A taxpayer may not convey, assign, or transfer an
  758  approved tax credit or a carryforward tax credit to another
  759  entity unless all of the assets of the taxpayer are conveyed,
  760  assigned, or transferred in the same transaction. However, a tax
  761  credit under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, s. 220.1875, s. 561.1211,
  762  or s. 624.51055 may be conveyed, transferred, or assigned
  763  between members of an affiliated group of corporations if the
  764  type of tax credit under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, s. 220.1875,
  765  s. 561.1211, or s. 624.51055 remains the same. A taxpayer shall
  766  notify the department of its intent to convey, transfer, or
  767  assign a tax credit to another member within an affiliated group
  768  of corporations. The amount conveyed, transferred, or assigned
  769  is available to another member of the affiliated group of
  770  corporations upon approval by the department. The department
  771  shall obtain the division’s approval before approving a
  772  conveyance, transfer, or assignment of a tax credit under s.
  773  561.1211.
  774         (e) Within any state fiscal year, a taxpayer may rescind
  775  all or part of a tax credit approved under paragraph (b). The
  776  amount rescinded shall become available for that state fiscal
  777  year to another eligible taxpayer as approved by the department
  778  if the taxpayer receives notice from the department that the
  779  rescindment has been accepted by the department. The department
  780  must obtain the division’s approval prior to accepting the
  781  rescindment of a tax credit under s. 561.1211. Any amount
  782  rescinded under this paragraph shall become available to an
  783  eligible taxpayer on a first-come, first-served basis based on
  784  tax credit applications received after the date the rescindment
  785  is accepted by the department.
  786         (f) For purposes of calculating the underpayment of
  787  estimated corporate income taxes pursuant to s. 220.34 and tax
  788  installment payments for taxes on insurance premiums or
  789  assessments under s. 624.5092, the final amount due is the
  790  amount after credits earned under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055
  791  for contributions to eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
  792  organizations are deducted.
  793         1. For purposes of determining if a penalty or interest
  794  shall be imposed for underpayment of estimated corporate income
  795  tax pursuant to s. 220.34(2)(d)1., a taxpayer may, after earning
  796  a credit under s. 220.1875, reduce the following estimated
  797  payment in that taxable year by the amount of the credit. This
  798  subparagraph applies to contributions made on or after July 1,
  799  2014.
  800         2. For purposes of determining if a penalty under s.
  801  624.5092 shall be imposed, an insurer may, after earning a
  802  credit under s. 624.51055, reduce the following installment
  803  payment of 27 percent of the amount of the net tax due as
  804  reported on the return for the preceding year under s.
  805  624.5092(2)(b) by the amount of the credit. This subparagraph
  806  applies to contributions made on or after July 1, 2014.
  808  ORGANIZATIONS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
  809  organization:
  810         (a) Must comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of
  811  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.
  812         (b) Must comply with the following background check
  813  requirements:
  814         1. All owners and operators as defined in subparagraph
  815  (2)(i)1. (2)(h)1. are, before upon employment or engagement to
  816  provide services, subject to level 2 background screening as
  817  provided under chapter 435. The fingerprints for the background
  818  screening must be electronically submitted to the Department of
  819  Law Enforcement and can be taken by an authorized law
  820  enforcement agency or by an employee of the eligible nonprofit
  821  scholarship-funding organization or a private company who is
  822  trained to take fingerprints. However, the complete set of
  823  fingerprints of an owner or operator may not be taken by the
  824  owner or operator. The results of the state and national
  825  criminal history check shall be provided to the Department of
  826  Education for screening under chapter 435. The cost of the
  827  background screening may be borne by the eligible nonprofit
  828  scholarship-funding organization or the owner or operator.
  829         2. Every 5 years following employment or engagement to
  830  provide services or association with an eligible nonprofit
  831  scholarship-funding organization, each owner or operator must
  832  meet level 2 screening standards as described in s. 435.04, at
  833  which time the nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall
  834  request the Department of Law Enforcement to forward the
  835  fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2
  836  screening. If the fingerprints of an owner or operator are not
  837  retained by the Department of Law Enforcement under subparagraph
  838  3., the owner or operator must electronically file a complete
  839  set of fingerprints with the Department of Law Enforcement. Upon
  840  submission of fingerprints for this purpose, the eligible
  841  nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall request that
  842  the Department of Law Enforcement forward the fingerprints to
  843  the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2 screening, and
  844  the fingerprints shall be retained by the Department of Law
  845  Enforcement under subparagraph 3.
  846         3. All Fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law
  847  Enforcement as required by this paragraph must be retained by
  848  the Department of Law Enforcement in a manner approved by rule
  849  and entered in the statewide automated biometric identification
  850  system authorized by s. 943.05(2)(b). The fingerprints must
  851  thereafter be available for all purposes and uses authorized for
  852  arrest fingerprints entered in the statewide automated biometric
  853  identification system pursuant to s. 943.051.
  854         4. The Department of Law Enforcement shall search all
  855  arrest fingerprints received under s. 943.051 against the
  856  fingerprints retained in the statewide automated biometric
  857  identification system under subparagraph 3. Any arrest record
  858  that is identified with an owner’s or operator’s fingerprints
  859  must be reported to the Department of Education. The Department
  860  of Education shall participate in this search process by paying
  861  an annual fee to the Department of Law Enforcement and by
  862  informing the Department of Law Enforcement of any change in the
  863  employment, engagement, or association status of the owners or
  864  operators whose fingerprints are retained under subparagraph 3.
  865  The Department of Law Enforcement shall adopt a rule setting the
  866  amount of the annual fee to be imposed upon the Department of
  867  Education for performing these services and establishing the
  868  procedures for the retention of owner and operator fingerprints
  869  and the dissemination of search results. The fee may be borne by
  870  the owner or operator of the nonprofit scholarship-funding
  871  organization.
  872         5. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose owner
  873  or operator fails the level 2 background screening is not shall
  874  not be eligible to provide scholarships under this section.
  875         6. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose owner
  876  or operator in the last 7 years has filed for personal
  877  bankruptcy or corporate bankruptcy in a corporation of which he
  878  or she owned more than 20 percent shall not be eligible to
  879  provide scholarships under this section.
  880         7. In addition to the offenses listed in s. 435.04, a
  881  person required to undergo background screening pursuant to this
  882  part or authorizing statutes must not have an arrest awaiting
  883  final disposition for, must not have been found guilty of, or
  884  entered a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of
  885  adjudication, and must not have been adjudicated delinquent, and
  886  the record must not have been sealed or expunged for, any of the
  887  following offenses or any similar offense of another
  888  jurisdiction:
  889         a. Any authorizing statutes, if the offense was a felony.
  890         b. This chapter, if the offense was a felony.
  891         c. Section 409.920, relating to Medicaid provider fraud.
  892         d. Section 409.9201, relating to Medicaid fraud.
  893         e. Section 741.28, relating to domestic violence.
  894         f. Section 817.034, relating to fraudulent acts through
  895  mail, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or
  896  photooptical systems.
  897         g. Section 817.234, relating to false and fraudulent
  898  insurance claims.
  899         h. Section 817.505, relating to patient brokering.
  900         i. Section 817.568, relating to criminal use of personal
  901  identification information.
  902         j. Section 817.60, relating to obtaining a credit card
  903  through fraudulent means.
  904         k. Section 817.61, relating to fraudulent use of credit
  905  cards, if the offense was a felony.
  906         l. Section 831.01, relating to forgery.
  907         m. Section 831.02, relating to uttering forged instruments.
  908         n. Section 831.07, relating to forging bank bills, checks,
  909  drafts, or promissory notes.
  910         o. Section 831.09, relating to uttering forged bank bills,
  911  checks, drafts, or promissory notes.
  912         p. Section 831.30, relating to fraud in obtaining medicinal
  913  drugs.
  914         q. Section 831.31, relating to the sale, manufacture,
  915  delivery, or possession with the intent to sell, manufacture, or
  916  deliver any counterfeit controlled substance, if the offense was
  917  a felony.
  918         (c) Must not have an owner or operator who owns or operates
  919  an eligible private school that is participating in the
  920  scholarship program.
  921         (d) Must provide scholarships, from eligible contributions,
  922  to eligible students for the cost of:
  923         1. Tuition and fees for an eligible private school; or
  924         2. Transportation to a Florida public school that is
  925  located outside the district in which the student resides or to
  926  a lab school as defined in s. 1002.32.
  927         (e) Must give first priority to eligible students who
  928  received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit scholarship
  929  funding organization or from the State of Florida during the
  930  previous school year. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, an
  931  eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall give
  932  priority to new applicants whose household income levels do not
  933  exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty level or who are in
  934  foster care or out-of-home care.
  935         (f) Must provide a scholarship to an eligible student on a
  936  first-come, first-served basis unless the student qualifies for
  937  priority pursuant to paragraph (e).
  938         (g) May not restrict or reserve scholarships for use at a
  939  particular private school or provide scholarships to a child of
  940  an owner or operator.
  941         (h) Must allow a student in foster care or out-of-home care
  942  to apply for a scholarship at any time.
  943         (i)(h) Must allow an eligible student to attend any
  944  eligible private school and must allow a parent to transfer a
  945  scholarship during a school year to any other eligible private
  946  school of the parent’s choice.
  947         (j)(i)1. May use up to 3 percent of eligible contributions
  948  received during the state fiscal year in which such
  949  contributions are collected for administrative expenses if the
  950  organization has operated under this section for at least 3
  951  state fiscal years and did not have any negative financial
  952  findings in its most recent audit under paragraph (m) (l). Such
  953  administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary for the
  954  organization’s management and distribution of eligible
  955  contributions under this section. No funds authorized under this
  956  subparagraph shall be used for lobbying or political activity or
  957  expenses related to lobbying or political activity. Up to No
  958  more than one-third of the funds authorized for administrative
  959  expenses under this subparagraph may be used for expenses
  960  related to the recruitment of contributions from taxpayers. In
  961  any year an eligible nonprofit scholarship funding organization
  962  is permitted under this subparagraph to use eligible
  963  contributions for administrative expenses, any application fee
  964  charged by the organization for an application for scholarship
  965  shall be expended for scholarships to students.
  966         2. Must expend for annual or partial-year scholarships an
  967  amount equal to or greater than 75 percent of the net eligible
  968  contributions remaining after administrative expenses during the
  969  state fiscal year in which such contributions are collected. No
  970  more than 25 percent of such net eligible contributions may be
  971  carried forward to the following state fiscal year. All amounts
  972  carried forward, for audit purposes, must be specifically
  973  identified for particular students, by student name and the name
  974  of the school to which the student is admitted, subject to the
  975  requirements of s. 1002.22, s. 1002.221, 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, and
  976  the applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
  977  Any amounts carried forward shall be expended for annual or
  978  partial-year scholarships in the following state fiscal year.
  979  Net eligible contributions remaining on June 30 of each year
  980  that are in excess of the 25 percent that may be carried forward
  981  shall be returned to the State Treasury for deposit in the
  982  General Revenue Fund.
  983         3. Must, before granting a scholarship for an academic
  984  year, document each scholarship student’s eligibility for that
  985  academic year. A scholarship-funding organization may not grant
  986  multiyear scholarships in one approval process.
  987         (k)(j) Must maintain separate accounts for scholarship
  988  funds and operating funds.
  989         (l)(k) With the prior approval of the Department of
  990  Education, may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit
  991  scholarship-funding organization if additional funds are
  992  required to meet scholarship demand at the receiving nonprofit
  993  scholarship-funding organization. A transfer is shall be limited
  994  to the greater of $500,000 or 20 percent of the total
  995  contributions received by the nonprofit scholarship-funding
  996  organization making the transfer. All transferred funds must be
  997  deposited by the receiving nonprofit scholarship-funding
  998  organization into its scholarship accounts. All transferred
  999  amounts received by any nonprofit scholarship-funding
 1000  organization must be separately disclosed in the annual
 1001  financial and compliance audit required in this section.
 1002         (m)(l) Must provide to the Auditor General and the
 1003  Department of Education a report on the results of an annual
 1004  financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records
 1005  conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in
 1006  accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the
 1007  United States, government auditing standards, and rules
 1008  promulgated adopted by the Auditor General. The audit report
 1009  must be conducted in compliance with generally accepted auditing
 1010  standards and must include a report on financial statements
 1011  presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting
 1012  principles set forth by the American Institute of Certified
 1013  Public Accountants for not-for-profit organizations and a
 1014  determination of compliance with the statutory eligibility and
 1015  expenditure requirements set forth in this section. Audit
 1016  reports Audits must be provided to the Auditor General and the
 1017  Department of Education within 180 days after completion of the
 1018  eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization’s fiscal
 1019  year. The Auditor General shall review all audit reports
 1020  submitted pursuant to this paragraph. The Auditor General shall
 1021  request any significant items that were omitted in violation of
 1022  a rule adopted by the Auditor General. The items must be
 1023  provided within 45 days after the date of the request. If the
 1024  scholarship-funding organization does not comply with the
 1025  Auditor General’s request, the Auditor General shall notify the
 1026  Legislative Auditing Committee.
 1027         (n)(m) Must prepare and submit quarterly reports to the
 1028  Department of Education pursuant to paragraph (9)(m). In
 1029  addition, an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
 1030  must submit in a timely manner any information requested by the
 1031  Department of Education relating to the scholarship program.
 1032         (o)(n)1.a. Must participate in the joint development of
 1033  agreed-upon procedures to be performed by an independent
 1034  certified public accountant as required under paragraph (8)(e)
 1035  if the scholarship-funding organization provided more than
 1036  $250,000 in scholarship funds to an eligible private school
 1037  under this section during the 2009-2010 state fiscal year. The
 1038  agreed-upon procedures must uniformly apply to all private
 1039  schools and must determine, at a minimum, whether the private
 1040  school has been verified as eligible by the Department of
 1041  Education under paragraph (9)(c); has an adequate accounting
 1042  system, system of financial controls, and process for deposit
 1043  and classification of scholarship funds; and has properly
 1044  expended scholarship funds for education-related expenses.
 1045  During the development of the procedures, the participating
 1046  scholarship-funding organizations shall specify guidelines
 1047  governing the materiality of exceptions that may be found during
 1048  the accountant’s performance of the procedures. The procedures
 1049  and guidelines shall be provided to private schools and the
 1050  Commissioner of Education by March 15, 2011.
 1051         b. Must participate in a joint review of the agreed-upon
 1052  procedures and guidelines developed under sub-subparagraph a.,
 1053  by February 2013 and biennially thereafter, if the scholarship
 1054  funding organization provided more than $250,000 in scholarship
 1055  funds to an eligible private school under this section during
 1056  the state fiscal year preceding the biennial review. If the
 1057  procedures and guidelines are revised, the revisions must be
 1058  provided to private schools and the Commissioner of Education by
 1059  March 15, 2013, and biennially thereafter.
 1060         c. Must monitor the compliance of a private school with
 1061  paragraph (8)(e) if the scholarship-funding organization
 1062  provided the majority of the scholarship funding to the school.
 1063  For each private school subject to paragraph (8)(e), the
 1064  appropriate scholarship-funding organization shall notify the
 1065  Commissioner of Education by October 30, 2011, and annually
 1066  thereafter of:
 1067         (I) A private school’s failure to submit a report required
 1068  under paragraph (8)(e); or
 1069         (II) Any material exceptions set forth in the report
 1070  required under paragraph (8)(e).
 1071         2. Must seek input from the accrediting associations that
 1072  are members of the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic
 1073  Schools when jointly developing the agreed-upon procedures and
 1074  guidelines under sub-subparagraph 1.a. and conducting a review
 1075  of those procedures and guidelines under sub-subparagraph 1.b.
 1076         (p) Must maintain the surety bond or letter of credit
 1077  required by subsection (16). The amount of the surety bond or
 1078  letter of credit may be adjusted quarterly to equal the actual
 1079  amount of undisbursed funds based upon submission by the
 1080  organization of a statement from a certified public accountant
 1081  verifying the amount of undisbursed funds. The requirements of
 1082  this paragraph are waived if the cost of acquiring a surety bond
 1083  or letter of credit exceeds the average 10-year cost of
 1084  acquiring a surety bond or letter of credit by 200 percent. The
 1085  requirements of this paragraph are waived for a state
 1086  university; or an independent college or university which is
 1087  eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida
 1088  Resident Access Grant Program, located and chartered in this
 1089  state, is not for profit, and is accredited by the Commission on
 1090  Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
 1091         (q) Must provide to the Auditor General any information or
 1092  documentation requested in connection with an operational audit
 1093  of a scholarship funding organization conducted pursuant to s.
 1094  11.45.
 1096  Any and all Information and documentation provided to the
 1097  Department of Education and the Auditor General relating to the
 1098  identity of a taxpayer that provides an eligible contribution
 1099  under this section shall remain confidential at all times in
 1100  accordance with s. 213.053.
 1103         (e) The parent shall ensure that the student participating
 1104  in the scholarship program takes the norm-referenced assessment
 1105  offered by the private school. The parent may also choose to
 1106  have the student participate in the statewide assessments
 1107  pursuant to s. 1008.22. If the parent requests that the student
 1108  participating in the scholarship program take statewide
 1109  assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 and the private school has
 1110  not chosen to offer and administer the statewide assessments,
 1111  the private school parent is responsible for transporting the
 1112  student in a manner as agreed upon by the parent, which may
 1113  include but not be limited to transportation by the parent, to
 1114  the assessment site designated by the school district, and for
 1115  making arrangements for the student to take the assessments at
 1116  an assessment site designated by the school district in
 1117  accordance with the district’s assessment schedule.
 1118         (g) The parent shall authorize the nonprofit scholarship
 1119  funding organization to access information needed for income
 1120  eligibility determination and verification held by other state
 1121  or federal agencies, including the Department of Revenue, the
 1122  Department of Children and Families, the Department of
 1123  Education, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and the
 1124  Agency for Health Care Administration.
 1126  private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and must:
 1127         (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
 1128  the educational needs of the student by:
 1129         1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
 1130  explanation of the student’s progress.
 1131         2. Annually administering or making provision for students
 1132  participating in the scholarship program in grades 3 through 10
 1133  to take one of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified
 1134  by the Department of Education or the statewide assessments
 1135  pursuant to s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom
 1136  standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this
 1137  requirement. A participating private school must report a
 1138  student’s scores to the parent. A participating private school
 1139  must annually report by August 15 the scores of all
 1140  participating students to the Learning System Institute
 1141  independent research organization described in paragraph (9)(j).
 1142         3. Providing Cooperating with the scholarship student whose
 1143  parent chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
 1144  assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22, transportation in a manner
 1145  as agreed upon by the parent, which may include but not limited
 1146  to transportation by the parent, to the assessment site
 1147  designated by the school district, and making arrangements for
 1148  the student to take the assessments at an assessment site
 1149  designated by the school district in accordance with the
 1150  district’s assessment schedule or, if a private school chooses
 1151  to offer the statewide assessments, administering the
 1152  assessments at the school.
 1153         a. A participating private school may choose to offer and
 1154  administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend
 1155  the private school in grades 3 through 10.
 1156         b. A participating private school must submit a request in
 1157  writing to the Department of Education by March 1 of each year
 1158  in order to administer the statewide assessments in the
 1159  subsequent school year.
 1160         (e) Annually contract with an independent certified public
 1161  accountant to perform the agreed-upon procedures developed under
 1162  paragraph (6)(o) (6)(n) and produce a report of the results if
 1163  the private school receives more than $250,000 in funds from
 1164  scholarships awarded under this section in the 2010-2011 state
 1165  fiscal year or a state fiscal year thereafter. A private school
 1166  subject to this paragraph must submit the report by September
 1167  15, 2011, and annually thereafter to the scholarship-funding
 1168  organization that awarded the majority of the school’s
 1169  scholarship funds. The agreed-upon procedures must be conducted
 1170  in accordance with attestation standards established by the
 1171  American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
 1173  The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
 1174  this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
 1175  of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
 1176  as determined by the Department of Education.
 1177         (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of
 1178  Education shall:
 1179         (d) Annually verify the eligibility of expenditures as
 1180  provided in paragraph (6)(d) using the audit required by
 1181  paragraph (6)(m) and s. 11.45(2)(k) (6)(l).
 1182         (j) Issue a project grant award to the Learning System
 1183  Institute at the Florida State University Select an independent
 1184  research organization, which may be a public or private entity
 1185  or university, to which participating private schools must
 1186  report the scores of participating students on the nationally
 1187  norm-referenced tests or the statewide assessments administered
 1188  by the private school in grades 3 through 10. The project term
 1189  is 2 years, and the amount of the project is up to $500,000 per
 1190  year. The project grant award must be reissued in 2 year
 1191  intervals in accordance with this paragraph.
 1192         1. The Learning System Institute independent research
 1193  organization must annually report to the Department of Education
 1194  on the student performance year-to-year learning gains of
 1195  participating students:
 1196         a. On a statewide basis. The report shall also include, to
 1197  the extent possible, a comparison of scholarship students’
 1198  performance these learning gains to the statewide student
 1199  performance learning gains of public school students with
 1200  socioeconomic backgrounds similar to those of students
 1201  participating in the scholarship program. To minimize costs and
 1202  reduce time required for the Learning System Institute’s
 1203  independent research organization’s analysis and evaluation, the
 1204  Department of Education shall coordinate with the Learning
 1205  System Institute to provide data to the Learning System
 1206  Institute in order to conduct analyses of matched students from
 1207  public school assessment data and calculate control group
 1208  student performance learning gains using an agreed-upon
 1209  methodology outlined in the contract with the Learning System
 1210  Institute independent research organization; and
 1211         b. On an individual school basis. The annual report must
 1212  include student performance for each participating private
 1213  school in which at least 51 percent of the total enrolled
 1214  students in the private school participated in the Florida Tax
 1215  Credit Scholarship Program in the prior school year. The report
 1216  shall be according to each participating private school, and for
 1217  participating students, in which there are at least 30
 1218  participating students who have scores for tests administered
 1219  during or after the 2009-2010 school year for 2 consecutive
 1220  years at that private school. If the Learning System Institute
 1221  determines that the 30 participating student cell size may be
 1222  reduced without disclosing personally identifiable information,
 1223  as described in 34 C.F.R. 99.12, of a participating student, the
 1224  Learning System Institute may reduce the participating student
 1225  cell size, but the cell size must not be reduced to less than 10
 1226  participating students. The department shall provide each
 1227  private school’s prior school year’s student enrollment
 1228  information to the Learning System Institute no later than June
 1229  15 of each year, or as requested by the Learning System
 1230  Institute.
 1231         2. The sharing and reporting of student performance
 1232  learning gain data under this paragraph must be in accordance
 1233  with requirements of s. 1002.22, s. 1002.221, 20 U.S.C. s.
 1234  1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the
 1235  applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto, and
 1236  shall be for the sole purpose of creating the annual report
 1237  required by subparagraph 1. All parties must preserve the
 1238  confidentiality of such information as required by law. The
 1239  annual report must not disaggregate data to a level that will
 1240  identify individual participating schools, except as required
 1241  under sub-subparagraph 1.b., or disclose the academic level of
 1242  individual students.
 1243         3. The annual report required by subparagraph 1. shall be
 1244  published by the Department of Education on its website.
 1245         (o) Provide a process to match the direct certification
 1246  list with the scholarship application data submitted by any
 1247  nonprofit scholarship-funding organization eligible to receive
 1248  the 3-percent administrative allowance under paragraph (6)(j)
 1249  (6)(i).
 1251         (a)1. Except as provided in subparagraph 2., the amount of
 1252  a scholarship provided to any student for any single school year
 1253  by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization from
 1254  eligible contributions shall be for total costs authorized under
 1255  paragraph (6)(d), not to exceed annual limits, which shall be
 1256  determined as follows:
 1257         1.a. For a scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in an
 1258  eligible private school:
 1259         (I) For the 2009-2010 state fiscal year, the limit shall be
 1260  $3,950.
 1261         (II) For the 2010-2011 state fiscal year, the limit shall
 1262  be 60 percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for that
 1263  year.
 1264         (III) For the 2011-2012 state fiscal year and thereafter,
 1265  the limit shall be determined by multiplying the unweighted FTE
 1266  funding amount in that state fiscal year by the percentage used
 1267  to determine the limit in the prior state fiscal year. However,
 1268  in each state fiscal year that the tax credit cap amount
 1269  increases pursuant to paragraph (5)(a) subparagraph (5)(a)2.,
 1270  the prior year percentage shall be increased by 4 percentage
 1271  points and the increased percentage shall be used to determine
 1272  the limit for that state fiscal year. If the percentage so
 1273  calculated reaches 80 percent in a state fiscal year, no further
 1274  increase in the percentage is allowed and the limit shall be 80
 1275  percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for that state
 1276  fiscal year and thereafter. Beginning in the 2016-2017 state
 1277  fiscal year, the amount of a scholarship awarded to a student
 1278  enrolled in an eligible private school shall be equal to 82
 1279  percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for that state
 1280  fiscal year and thereafter.
 1281         b. For a scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in a
 1282  Florida public school that is located outside the district in
 1283  which the student resides or in a lab school as defined in s.
 1284  1002.32, the limit shall be $500.
 1285         2. The annual limit for a scholarship under sub
 1286  subparagraph 1.a. shall be reduced by:
 1287         a. Twenty-five percent if the student’s household income
 1288  level is equal to or greater than 200 percent, but less than 215
 1289  percent, of the federal poverty level.
 1290         b. Fifty percent if the student’s household income level is
 1291  equal to or greater than 215 percent, but equal to or less than
 1292  230 percent, of the federal poverty level.
 1294  APPLICATION.—In order to participate in the scholarship program
 1295  created under this section, a charitable organization that seeks
 1296  to be a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must submit
 1297  an application for initial approval or renewal to the Office of
 1298  Independent Education and Parental Choice no later than
 1299  September 1 of each year before the school year for which the
 1300  organization intends to offer scholarships.
 1301         (a) An application for initial approval must include:
 1302         1. A copy of the organization’s incorporation documents and
 1303  registration with the Division of Corporations of the Department
 1304  of State.
 1305         2. A copy of the organization’s Internal Revenue Service
 1306  determination letter as a s. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit
 1307  organization.
 1308         3. A description of the organization’s financial plan that
 1309  demonstrates sufficient funds to operate throughout the school
 1310  year.
 1311         4. A description of the geographic region that the
 1312  organization intends to serve and an analysis of the demand and
 1313  unmet need for eligible students in that area.
 1314         5. The organization’s organizational chart.
 1315         6. A description of the criteria and methodology that the
 1316  organization will use to evaluate scholarship eligibility.
 1317         7. A description of the application process, including
 1318  deadlines and any associated fees.
 1319         8. A description of the deadlines for attendance
 1320  verification and scholarship payments.
 1321         9. A copy of the organization’s policies on conflict of
 1322  interest and whistleblowers.
 1323         10. A copy of a surety bond or letter of credit in an
 1324  amount equal to 25 percent of the scholarship funds anticipated
 1325  for each school year or $100,000, whichever is greater.
 1326         (b) In addition to the information required by
 1327  subparagraphs (a)1.-9., an application for renewal must include:
 1328         1. A surety bond or letter of credit equal to the amount of
 1329  undisbursed donations held by the organization based on the
 1330  annual report submitted pursuant to paragraph (6)(m). The amount
 1331  of the surety bond or letter of credit must be at least
 1332  $100,000, but not more than $25 million.
 1333         2. The organization’s completed Internal Revenue Service
 1334  Form 990 submitted no later than November 30 of the year before
 1335  the school year that the organization intends to offer the
 1336  scholarships, notwithstanding the September 1 application
 1337  deadline.
 1338         3. A copy of the statutorily required audit to the
 1339  Department of Education and Auditor General.
 1340         4. An annual report that includes:
 1341         a. The number of students who completed applications, by
 1342  county and by grade.
 1343         b. The number of students who were approved for
 1344  scholarships, by county and by grade.
 1345         c. The number of students who received funding for
 1346  scholarships within each funding category, by county and by
 1347  grade.
 1348         d. The amount of funds received, the amount of funds
 1349  distributed in scholarships, and an accounting of remaining
 1350  funds and the obligation of those funds.
 1351         e. A detailed accounting of how the organization spent the
 1352  administrative funds allowable under paragraph (6)(j).
 1353         (c) In consultation with the Department of Revenue and the
 1354  Chief Financial Officer, the Office of Independent Education and
 1355  Parental Choice shall review the application. The Department of
 1356  Education shall notify the organization in writing of any
 1357  deficiencies within 30 days after receipt of the application and
 1358  allow the organization 30 days to correct any deficiencies.
 1359         (d) Within 30 days after receipt of the finalized
 1360  application by the Office of Independent Education and Parental
 1361  Choice, the Commissioner of Education shall recommend approval
 1362  or disapproval of the application to the State Board of
 1363  Education. The State Board of Education shall consider the
 1364  application and recommendation at the next scheduled meeting,
 1365  adhering to appropriate meeting notice requirements. If the
 1366  State Board of Education disapproves the organization’s
 1367  application, it shall provide the organization with a written
 1368  explanation of that determination. The State Board of
 1369  Education’s action is not subject to chapter 120.
 1370         (e) If the State Board of Education disapproves the renewal
 1371  of a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, the
 1372  organization must notify the affected eligible students and
 1373  parents of the decision within 15 days after disapproval. An
 1374  eligible student affected by the disapproval of an
 1375  organization’s participation remains eligible under this section
 1376  until the end of the school year in which the organization was
 1377  disapproved. The student must apply and be accepted by another
 1378  eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization for the
 1379  upcoming school year. The student shall be given priority in
 1380  accordance with paragraph (6)(f).
 1381         (f) All remaining funds held by a nonprofit scholarship
 1382  funding organization that is disapproved for participation must
 1383  revert to the Department of Revenue for redistribution to other
 1384  eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations.
 1385         (g) A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization is a
 1386  renewing organization if it maintains continuous approval and
 1387  participation in the program. An organization that chooses not
 1388  to participate for 1 year or more or is disapproved to
 1389  participate for 1 year or more must submit an application for
 1390  initial approval in order to participate in the program again.
 1391         (h) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules
 1392  providing guidelines for receiving, reviewing, and approving
 1393  applications for new and renewing nonprofit scholarship-funding
 1394  organizations. The rules must include a process for compiling
 1395  input and recommendations from the Chief Financial Officer, the
 1396  Department of Revenue, and the Department of Education. The
 1397  rules must also require that the nonprofit scholarship-funding
 1398  organization make a brief presentation to assist the State Board
 1399  of Education in its decision.
 1400         (i) A state university; or an independent college or
 1401  university which is eligible to participate in the William L.
 1402  Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program, located and
 1403  chartered in this state, is not for profit, and is accredited by
 1404  the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of
 1405  Colleges and Schools, is exempt from the initial or renewal
 1406  application process, but must file a registration notice with
 1407  the Department of Education to be an eligible nonprofit
 1408  scholarship-funding organization. The State Board of Education
 1409  shall adopt rules that identify the procedure for filing the
 1410  registration notice with the department. The rules must identify
 1411  appropriate reporting requirements for fiscal, programmatic, and
 1412  performance accountability purposes consistent with this
 1413  section, but shall not exceed the requirements for eligible
 1414  nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations for charitable
 1415  organizations. An nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
 1416  that becomes eligible pursuant to this paragraph may begin
 1417  providing scholarships to participating students in the 2015
 1418  2016 school year.
 1419         Section 4. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
 1420  whose application for participation in the program established
 1421  by s. 1002.395, Florida Statutes, was approved before July 1,
 1422  2014, must, by August 1, 2014, provide a copy of a surety bond
 1423  or letter of credit meeting the requirements of s. 1002.395(16),
 1424  Florida Statutes, to the Office of Independent Education and
 1425  Parental Choice.
 1426         Section 5. Present subsection (10) of section 1003.4282,
 1427  Florida Statutes, is renumbered as subsection (11), and a new
 1428  subsection (10) is added to that section, to read:
 1429         1003.4282 Requirements for a standard high school diploma.—
 1430         (10) STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.—Beginning with students
 1431  entering grade 9 in the 2014-2015 school year, this subsection
 1432  applies to a student with a disability.
 1433         (a) A parent of the student with a disability shall, in
 1434  collaboration with the individual education plan (IEP) team
 1435  during the transition planning process pursuant to s. 1003.5716,
 1436  declare an intent for the student to graduate from high school
 1437  with either a standard high school diploma or a certificate of
 1438  completion. A student with a disability who does not satisfy the
 1439  standard high school diploma requirements pursuant to this
 1440  section shall be awarded a certificate of completion.
 1441         (b) The following options, in addition to the other options
 1442  specified in this section, may be used to satisfy the standard
 1443  high school diploma requirements, as specified in the student’s
 1444  individual education plan:
 1445         1. For a student with a disability for whom the IEP team
 1446  has determined that the Florida Alternate Assessment is the most
 1447  appropriate measure of the student’s skills:
 1448         a. A combination of course substitutions, assessments,
 1449  industry certifications, and other acceleration options
 1450  appropriate to the student’s unique skills and abilities that
 1451  meet the criteria established by State Board of Education rule.
 1452         b. A portfolio of quantifiable evidence that documents a
 1453  student’s mastery of academic standards through rigorous metrics
 1454  established by State Board of Education rule. A portfolio may
 1455  include, but is not limited to, documentation of work
 1456  experience, internships, community service, and postsecondary
 1457  credit.
 1458         2. For a student with a disability for whom the IEP team
 1459  has determined that mastery of academic and employment
 1460  competencies is the most appropriate way for a student to
 1461  demonstrate his or her skills:
 1462         a. Documented completion of the number of course credits
 1463  prescribed by the district school board in the district student
 1464  progression plan pursuant to s. 1008.25.
 1465         b. Documented achievement of all annual goals and short
 1466  term objectives for academic and employment competencies and
 1467  industry certifications specified in the student’s transition
 1468  plan. The documentation must be verified by the IEP team.
 1469         c. Documented successful employment for the number of hours
 1470  per week specified in the student’s transition plan, for the
 1471  equivalent of 1 semester, and payment of a minimum wage in
 1472  compliance with the requirements of the federal Fair Labor
 1473  Standards Act.
 1474         d.Documented mastery of the academic and employment
 1475  competencies and industry certifications specified in the
 1476  student’s transition plan. The documentation must be verified by
 1477  the IEP team, the employer, and the teacher. The transition plan
 1478  must be developed and signed by the student, parent, teacher,
 1479  and employer before placement in employment and must identify
 1480  the following:
 1481         (I) The expected academic and employment competencies and
 1482  industry certifications;
 1483         (II) The criteria for determining and certifying mastery of
 1484  the competencies;
 1485         (III) The work schedule and the minimum number of hours to
 1486  be worked per week; and
 1487         (IV) A description of the supervision to be provided by the
 1488  school district.
 1490  The State Board of Education shall adopt rules under ss.
 1491  120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this subparagraph, including
 1492  rules that establish the minimum requirements for students
 1493  described in this subparagraph to earn a standard high school
 1494  diploma.
 1495         (c) A student with a disability who meets the standard high
 1496  school diploma requirements in this section may defer the
 1497  receipt of a standard high school diploma if the student:
 1498         1. Has an individual education plan that prescribes special
 1499  education, transition planning, transition services, or related
 1500  services through age 21; and
 1501         2. Is enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction
 1502  pursuant to s. 1007.27, industry certification courses that lead
 1503  to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses
 1504  necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a
 1505  structured work-study, internship, or preapprenticeship program.
 1506         (d) A student with a disability who receives a certificate
 1507  of completion and has an individual education plan that
 1508  prescribes special education, transition planning, transition
 1509  services, or related services through 21 years of age may
 1510  continue to receive the specified instruction and services.
 1511         (e) Any waiver of the statewide, standardized assessment
 1512  requirements by the individual education plan team, pursuant to
 1513  s. 1008.22(3)(c), must be approved by the parent and is subject
 1514  to verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
 1515  selected by the parent as provided for in s. 1003.572.
 1516         Section 6. Effective July 1, 2015, section 1003.438,
 1517  Florida Statutes, is repealed.
 1518         Section 7. Section 1003.5716, Florida Statutes, is created
 1519  to read:
 1520         1003.5716 Transition to postsecondary education and career
 1521  opportunities.—All students with disabilities who are 3 years of
 1522  age to 21 years of age have the right to a free, appropriate
 1523  public education. As used in this section, the term “IEP” means
 1524  individual education plan.
 1525         (1) To ensure quality planning for a successful transition
 1526  of a student with a disability to postsecondary education and
 1527  career opportunities, an IEP team shall begin the process of,
 1528  and develop an IEP for, identifying the need for transition
 1529  services before the student with a disability attains the age of
 1530  14 years in order for his or her postsecondary goals and career
 1531  goals to be identified and in place when he or she attains the
 1532  age of 16 years. This process must include, but is not limited,
 1533  to:
 1534         (a) Consideration of the student’s need for instruction in
 1535  the area of self-determination and self-advocacy to assist the
 1536  student’s active and effective participation in an IEP meeting;
 1537  and
 1538         (b) Preparation for the student to graduate from high
 1539  school with a standard high school diploma pursuant to s.
 1540  1003.4282 with a Scholar designation unless the parent chooses a
 1541  Merit designation.
 1542         (2) Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect
 1543  when the student turns 16, or younger, if determined appropriate
 1544  by the parent and the IEP team, the IEP must include the
 1545  following statements that must be updated annually:
 1546         (a) A statement of intent to pursue a standard high school
 1547  diploma and a Scholar or Merit designation, pursuant to s.
 1548  1003.4285, as determined by the parent.
 1549         (b) A statement of intent to receive a standard high school
 1550  diploma before the student reaches the age of 22 and a
 1551  description of how the student will fully meet the requirements
 1552  in s. 1003.428 or s. 1003.4282, as applicable, including, but
 1553  not limited to, a portfolio pursuant to s. 1003.4282(10)(b) that
 1554  meets the criteria specified in State Board of Education rule.
 1555  The IEP must also specify the outcomes and additional benefits
 1556  expected by the parent and the IEP team at the time of the
 1557  student’s graduation.
 1558         (c) A statement of appropriate measurable long-term
 1559  postsecondary education and career goals based upon age
 1560  appropriate transition assessments related to training,
 1561  education, employment, and, if appropriate, independent living
 1562  skills and the transition services, including courses of study
 1563  needed to assist the student in reaching those goals.
 1564         (3) Any change in the IEP for the goals specified in
 1565  subsection (2) must be approved by the parent and is subject to
 1566  verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer
 1567  selected by the parent as provided in s. 1003.572.
 1568         (4) If a participating agency responsible for transition
 1569  services, other than the school district, fails to provide the
 1570  transition services described in the IEP, the school district
 1571  shall reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies
 1572  to meet the transition objectives for the student that are
 1573  specified in the IEP. However, this does not relieve any
 1574  participating agency of the responsibility to provide or pay for
 1575  any transition service that the agency would otherwise provide
 1576  to students with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria
 1577  of that agency.
 1578         Section 8. Subsection (3) of section 1003.572, Florida
 1579  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1580         1003.572 Collaboration of public and private instructional
 1581  personnel.—
 1582         (3) Private instructional personnel who are hired or
 1583  contracted by parents to collaborate with public instructional
 1584  personnel must be permitted to observe the student in the
 1585  educational setting, collaborate with instructional personnel in
 1586  the educational setting, and provide services in the educational
 1587  setting according to the following requirements:
 1588         (a) The student’s public instructional personnel and
 1589  principal consent to the time and place.
 1590         (b) The private instructional personnel satisfy the
 1591  requirements of s. 1012.32 or s. 1012.321.
 1593  For the purpose of implementing this subsection, a school
 1594  district may not impose any requirements beyond those
 1595  requirements specified in this subsection or charge any fees.
 1596         Section 9. Section 1008.2121, Florida Statutes, is created
 1597  to read:
 1598         1008.2121 Students with severe cognitive or physical
 1599  disabilities; permanent exemption.—Based on information that a
 1600  reasonably prudent person would rely upon, including, but not
 1601  limited to, facts contained within an individual education plan
 1602  under s. 1008.212, documentation from an appropriate health care
 1603  provider, or certification from the district school board
 1604  superintendent, the Commissioner of Education shall
 1605  perfunctorily grant a permanent exemption to a student who
 1606  suffers from such a severe cognitive disability or physical
 1607  disability that the student permanently lacks the capacity to
 1608  take statewide, standardized assessments. The State Board of
 1609  Education shall adopt rules to administer this section,
 1610  including, but not limited to, expediting the exemption process
 1611  to demonstrate the utmost compassion and consideration for
 1612  meeting the parent’s and student’s needs.
 1613         Section 10. Paragraph (c) of subsection (5) and paragraph
 1614  (b) of subsection (6) of section 1008.25, Florida Statutes, are
 1615  amended to read:
 1616         1008.25 Public school student progression; remedial
 1617  instruction; reporting requirements.—
 1619         (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial
 1620  deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be
 1621  notified in writing of the following:
 1622         1. That his or her child has been identified as having a
 1623  substantial deficiency in reading.
 1624         2. A description of the current services that are provided
 1625  to the child.
 1626         3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional
 1627  services and supports that will be provided to the child that
 1628  are designed to remediate the identified area of reading
 1629  deficiency.
 1630         4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated
 1631  by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or
 1632  she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
 1633         5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child
 1634  succeed in reading proficiency.
 1635         6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is
 1636  not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional
 1637  evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to
 1638  the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing
 1639  when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for
 1640  grade promotion.
 1641         7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a
 1642  portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence
 1643  required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s
 1644  academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a
 1645  student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as
 1646  being at risk of retention may request that the school
 1647  immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
 1648         8.7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for
 1649  midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a
 1650  retained student at any time during the year of retention once
 1651  the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
 1653         (b) The district school board may only exempt students from
 1654  mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), for good
 1655  cause. A student who is promoted to grade 4 with a good cause
 1656  exemption shall be provided intensive reading instruction and
 1657  intervention that include specialized diagnostic information and
 1658  specific reading strategies to meet the needs of each student so
 1659  promoted. The school district shall assist schools and teachers
 1660  with the implementation of reading strategies for students
 1661  promoted with a good cause exemption which research has shown to
 1662  be successful in improving reading among students that have
 1663  reading difficulties. Good cause exemptions shall be limited to
 1664  the following:
 1665         1. Limited English proficient students who have had less
 1666  than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other
 1667  Languages program.
 1668         2. Students with disabilities whose individual education
 1669  plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment
 1670  program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of
 1671  State Board of Education rule.
 1672         3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of
 1673  performance on an alternative standardized reading or English
 1674  Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of
 1675  Education.
 1676         4. A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio
 1677  that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on FCAT Reading
 1678  or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
 1679  applicable under s. 1008.22.
 1680         5. Students with disabilities who participate in FCAT
 1681  Reading or the common core English Language Arts assessment, as
 1682  applicable under s. 1008.22, and who have an individual
 1683  education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the
 1684  student has received intensive remediation in reading and
 1685  English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still
 1686  demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in
 1687  kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
 1688         6. Students who have received intensive reading
 1689  intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a
 1690  deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in
 1691  kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2
 1692  years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.
 1693         7.6. Students who have received intensive remediation in
 1694  reading and English Language Arts, as applicable under s.
 1695  1008.22, for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency
 1696  and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade
 1697  2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. Intensive instruction for
 1698  students so promoted must include an altered instructional day
 1699  that includes specialized diagnostic information and specific
 1700  reading strategies for each student. The district school board
 1701  shall assist schools and teachers to implement reading
 1702  strategies that research has shown to be successful in improving
 1703  reading among low-performing readers.
 1704         Section 11. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (c) of
 1705  subsection (1) of section 120.81, Florida Statutes, is amended
 1706  to read:
 1707         120.81 Exceptions and special requirements; general areas.—
 1708         (1) EDUCATIONAL UNITS.—
 1709         (c) Notwithstanding s. 120.52(16), any tests, test scoring
 1710  criteria, or testing procedures relating to student assessment
 1711  which are developed or administered by the Department of
 1712  Education pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.438, s.
 1713  1008.22, or s. 1008.25, or any other statewide educational tests
 1714  required by law, are not rules.
 1715         Section 12. Effective July 1, 2015, paragraph (a) of
 1716  subsection (2) of section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended
 1717  to read:
 1718         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
 1720         (a) A young adult is eligible for services and support
 1721  under this subsection if he or she:
 1722         1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
 1723  or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
 1724  years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
 1725  court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
 1726  months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
 1727  preceding such placement or adoption;
 1728         2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
 1729  his or her 18th birthday;
 1730         3. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
 1731  pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, or s.
 1732  1003.435, or s. 1003.438;
 1733         4. Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
 1734  or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
 1735  institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
 1736  section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
 1737  vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
 1738  he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
 1739  challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
 1740  attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
 1741  other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
 1742  his or her academic advisor;
 1743         5. Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
 1744  age;
 1745         6. Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
 1746  caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
 1747  grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
 1748         7. Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
 1749  which is complete and error free; and
 1750         8. Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
 1751  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
 1752         Section 13. Effective July 1, 2015, subsection (4) of
 1753  section 1007.263, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1754         1007.263 Florida College System institutions; admissions of
 1755  students.—Each Florida College System institution board of
 1756  trustees is authorized to adopt rules governing admissions of
 1757  students subject to this section and rules of the State Board of
 1758  Education. These rules shall include the following:
 1759         (4) A student who has been awarded a special diploma as
 1760  defined in s. 1003.438 or a certificate of completion as defined
 1761  in s. 1003.428(7)(b) is eligible to enroll in certificate career
 1762  education programs.
 1764  Each board of trustees shall establish policies that notify
 1765  students about developmental education options for improving
 1766  their communication or computation skills that are essential to
 1767  performing college-level work, including tutoring, extended time
 1768  in gateway courses, free online courses, adult basic education,
 1769  adult secondary education, or private provider instruction.
 1770         Section 14. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
 1771  act, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law.