Florida Senate - 2015 SENATOR AMENDMENT
Bill No. CS for SB 602
Senate . House
Floor: 1/AD/2R .
04/01/2015 02:38 PM .
Senator Gaetz moved the following:
1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
3 Delete everything after the enacting clause
4 and insert:
5 Section 1. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is amended
6 to read:
7 1002.385 Florida personal learning scholarship accounts.—
8 (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personal Learning
9 Scholarship Accounts Program is established to provide the
10 option for a parent to better meet the individual educational
11 needs of his or her eligible child.
12 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
13 (a) “Approved provider” means a provider approved by the
14 Agency for Persons with Disabilities, a health care practitioner
15 as defined in s. 456.001(4), or a provider approved by the
16 department pursuant to s. 1002.66. The term also includes
17 providers outside this state which are subject to similar
18 regulation or approval requirements.
19 (b) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
20 particular content area or grade level, including any required
21 supplemental materials.
22 (c) “Department” means the Department of Education.
23 (d) “Disability” means, for a 3- or 4-year-old child or for
24 a student in kindergarten to grade 12, autism spectrum disorder,
25 as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
26 Disorders, Fifth Edition
, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral
27 palsy, as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in
28 s. 393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
29 393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
30 393.063(25); or spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); for
31 a student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as defined
32 in s. 393.063(20)(a); muscular dystrophy; and Williams syndrome.
33 (e) “Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization”
34 or “organization” means a nonprofit scholarship-funding
35 organization that is approved pursuant to s. 1002.395(2)(f). The
36 organization must have a copy of its annual operational audit
37 provided to the Commissioner of Education as required by this
38 section has the same meaning as in s. 1002.395.
39 (f) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
40 a Florida College System institution; , a state university; , a
41 school district technical center; , a school district adult
42 general education center; an independent college or university
43 that is eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV,
44 Florida Resident Access Grant Program under s. 1009.89; , or an
45 accredited independent nonpublic postsecondary educational
46 institution, as defined in s. 1005.02, which is licensed to
47 operate in the state pursuant to requirements specified in part
48 III of chapter 1005.
49 (g) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
50 defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
51 offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
52 to grade 12, and which meets the requirements of:
53 1. Sections 1002.42 and 1002.421; and
54 2. A scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395 ,
55 as applicable, if the private school participates in a
56 scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
57 (h) “IEP” means individual education plan.
58 (i) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
59 parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
60 (j) “Program” means the Florida Personal Learning
61 Scholarship Accounts Program established in this section.
62 (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
63 disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
64 personal learning scholarship account for the purposes specified
65 in subsection (5) if:
66 (a) The student:
67 1. Is a resident of this state;
68 2. Is or will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1
69 of the year in which the student applies for program
70 participation, or is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through
71 grade 12 in a public school in this state;
72 3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d); and
73 4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
74 rules of the State Board of Education or has received a
75 diagnosis of a disability as defined in subsection (2) from a
76 physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a
77 psychologist who is licensed under chapter 490 in this state.
78 (b) Beginning January 2015, and each year thereafter, the
79 following application deadlines and guidelines are met:
80 1. The parent of a student seeking program renewal must
81 submit a completed application to an organization for renewal by
82 February 1 before the school year in which the student wishes to
84 2. The parent of a student seeking initial approval to
85 participate in the program must submit a completed application
86 to an organization by June 30 before the school year in which
87 the student wishes to participate.
88 3. The parent of a student seeking approval to participate
89 in the program who does not comply with the requirements of
90 subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. may late file a completed
91 application by August 15 before the school year in which the
92 student wishes to participate.
93 4. A parent must submit final verification to the
94 organization before the organization opens a personal learning
95 scholarship account for the student. The final verification must
96 consist of only the following items that apply to the student:
97 a. A completed withdrawal form from the school district if
98 the student was enrolled in a public school before the
99 determination of program eligibility;
100 b. A letter of admission or enrollment from an eligible
101 private school for the school year in which the student wishes
102 to participate;
103 c. A copy of the notice of the parent’s intent to establish
104 and maintain a home education program required by s.
105 1002.41(1)(a), or a copy of the district school superintendent’s
106 review of the annual educational evaluation of the student in a
107 home education program required by s. 1002.41(2); or
108 d. A copy of notification from a private school that the
109 student has withdrawn from the John M. McKay Scholarships for
110 Students with Disabilities Program or the Florida Tax Credit
111 Scholarship Program.
112 5. A parent’s completed application and final verification
113 submitted pursuant to this paragraph the parent has applied to
114 an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization to
115 participate in the program by February 1 before the school year
116 in which the student will participate or an alternative date as
117 set by the organization for any vacant, funded slots . The
118 request must be communicated directly to the organization in a
119 manner that creates a written or electronic record including of
120 the request and the date of receipt of the request. The
121 organization shall notify the district and the department of the
122 parent’s intent upon receipt of the parent’s completed
123 application and final verification request. The completed
124 application must include, but is not limited to, an application;
125 required documentation and forms; an initial or revised matrix
126 of services, if requested; and any additional information or
127 documentation required by the organization or by State Board of
128 Education rule.
129 (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—
130 (a) A student is not eligible for the program while he or
131 she is:
132 1. Enrolled in a public school, including, but not limited
133 to, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind; the Florida
134 Virtual School; the College-Preparatory Boarding Academy; a
135 developmental research school authorized under s. 1002.32; a
136 charter school authorized under s. 1002.33, s. 1002.331, or s.
137 1002.332; or a virtual education program authorized under s.
139 2. Enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education
140 Program authorized under part V of this chapter;
141 3. Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
142 providing educational services to youth in the Department of
143 Juvenile Justice commitment programs;
144 4. 3. Receiving a scholarship pursuant to the Florida Tax
145 Credit Scholarship Program under s. 1002.395 or the John M.
146 McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program under
147 s. 1002.39; or
148 5. 4. Receiving any other educational scholarship pursuant
149 to this chapter.
151 For purposes of subparagraph 1., a 3- or 4-year-old child who
152 receives services that are funded through the Florida Education
153 Finance Program is considered to be a student enrolled in a
154 public school.
155 (b) A student is not eligible for the program if:
156 1. The student or student’s parent has accepted any
157 payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
158 any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
159 2. The student’s participation in the program, or receipt
160 or expenditure of program funds, has been denied or revoked by
161 the commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (10); or
162 3. The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
163 program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
164 subsection (11); or
165 4. The student’s application for program eligibility has
166 been denied by an organization.
167 (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
168 spent if used to support the student’s educational needs, for
169 the following purposes:
170 (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
171 digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
172 allow a student to access instruction or instructional content
173 and training on the use of and maintenance agreements for these
175 (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(b).
176 (c) Specialized services by approved providers that are
177 selected by the parent. These specialized services may include,
178 but are not limited to:
179 1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
180 627.6686 and 641.31098.
181 2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
182 defined in s. 468.1125.
183 3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
184 4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
185 s. 486.021.
186 5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
187 specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
188 child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
189 implant or assistive hearing device.
191 Specialized services outside this state are authorized under
192 this paragraph if the services are subject to similar regulation
193 or approval requirements.
194 (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
195 enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
196 postsecondary educational institution or a program offered by
197 the institution, a private tutoring program authorized under s.
198 1002.43, a virtual program offered by a department-approved
199 private online provider that meets the provider qualifications
200 specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), the Florida Virtual School as a
201 private paying student, or an approved online course offered
202 pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s. 1004.0961.
203 (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
204 achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
205 certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
206 education, or other assessments.
207 (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
208 College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98 or the Florida College
209 Savings Program pursuant to s. 1009.981, for the benefit of the
210 eligible student. The Florida Prepaid College Board shall, by
211 the dates specified in ss. 1009.98 and 1009.981, create and have
212 effective procedures to allow program funds to be used in
213 conjunction with other funds used by the parent in the purchase
214 of a prepaid college plan or a college savings plan; require
215 program funds to be tracked and accounted for separately from
216 other funds contributed to a prepaid college plan or a college
217 savings plan; require program funds and associated interest to
218 be reverted as specified in this section; and require program
219 funds to be used only after private payments have been used for
220 prepaid college plan or college savings plan expenditures. The
221 organization shall enter into a contract with the Florida
222 Prepaid College Board to enable the board to establish
223 mechanisms to implement this section, including, but not limited
224 to, identifying the source of funds being deposited in these
225 plans. A qualified or designated beneficiary may not be changed
226 while these plans contain funds contributed from this section.
227 (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
228 school district, including classes. A student who receives
229 services under a contract under this paragraph is not considered
230 enrolled in a public school for eligibility purposes as
231 specified in subsection (4).
232 (h) Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services
233 provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s
234 certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56; a person who holds an
235 adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; or a person
236 who has demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge
237 pursuant to 1012.56(5). The term “part-time tutoring services”
238 as used in this paragraph does not meet the definition of the
239 term “regular school attendance” in s. 1003.01(13)(e).
240 (i) Fees for specialized summer education programs.
241 (j) Fees for specialized after-school education programs.
242 (k) Transition services provided by job coaches.
243 (l) Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress
244 by a state-certified teacher, if this option is chosen for a
245 home education student pursuant to s. 1002.41(1)(c)1.
247 A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
248 eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
249 program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
250 school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
251 pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
252 moneys from the Florida personal learning scholarship account
253 with the parent or participating student in any manner.
254 (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
255 educational choice and program integrity: ,
256 (a) The program payments made by the state to an
257 organization for a personal learning scholarship account under
258 this section shall continue remain in force until the parent
259 does not renew program eligibility; the organization determines
260 a student is not eligible for program renewal; the commissioner
261 denies, suspends, or revokes program participation or use of
262 funds; or a student enrolls in participating in the program
263 participates in any of the prohibited activities specified in
264 subsection (4), has funds revoked by the Commissioner of
265 Education pursuant to subsection (10), returns to a public
266 school or in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program,
267 graduates from high school, or attains 22 years of age,
268 whichever occurs first. A participating student who enrolls in a
269 public school or public school program is considered to have
270 returned to a public school for the purpose of determining the
271 end of the program’s term .
272 (b) Program expenditures by the parent from the program
273 account are authorized until a student’s personal learning
274 scholarship account is closed pursuant to paragraph (c).
275 (c) A student’s personal learning scholarship account shall
276 be closed, and any remaining funds, including accrued interest
277 or contributions made using program funds pursuant to paragraph
278 (5)(f), shall revert to the state upon:
279 1. The eligible student no longer being enrolled in an
280 eligible postsecondary educational institution or a program
281 offered by the institution;
282 2. Denial or revocation of program eligibility by the
284 3. Denial of program application by an organization; or
285 4. After any period of 4 consecutive years after high
286 school completion or graduation in which the student is not
287 enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational institution or
288 a program offered by the institution.
290 The commissioner must notify the parent and organization of any
291 reversion determination.
292 (7) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS; PARENTAL OPTIONS.—
293 (a)1. For a student with a disability who does not have a
294 matrix of services under s. 1011.62(1)(e), or who wants a
295 revised matrix of services, and for whom the parent requests a
296 new or revised matrix of services, the school district must
297 complete a matrix that assigns the student to one of the levels
298 of service as they existed before the 2000-2001 school year.
299 2.a. Within 10 calendar school days after a school district
300 receives notification of a parent’s request for completion of a
301 matrix of services, the school district must notify the
302 student’s parent if the matrix of services has not been
303 completed and inform the parent that the district is required to
304 complete the matrix within 30 days after receiving notice of the
305 parent’s request for the matrix of services. This notice must
306 include the required completion date for the matrix.
307 b. The school district shall complete the matrix of
308 services for a student whose parent has made a request. The
309 school district must provide the student’s parent, the
310 organization, and the department with the student’s matrix level
311 within 10 calendar school days after its completion.
312 c. The department shall notify the parent and the eligible
313 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization of the amount of the
314 funds awarded within 10 days after receiving the school
315 district’s notification of the student’s matrix level.
316 d. A school district may change a matrix of services only
317 if the change is to correct a technical, typographical, or
318 calculation error, except that a parent may annually request a
319 matrix reevaluation for each student participating in the
320 program pursuant to paragraph (12)(h).
321 (b) For each student participating in the program who
322 chooses to participate in statewide, standardized assessments
323 under s. 1008.22 or the Florida Alternate Assessment, the school
324 district in which the student resides must notify the student
325 and his or her parent about the locations and times to take all
326 statewide, standardized assessments.
327 (c) For each student participating in the program, a school
328 district shall notify the parent about the availability of a
329 reevaluation at least every 3 years .
330 (8) PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—An eligible
331 private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and shall:
332 (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools
333 participating in state school choice scholarship programs
334 pursuant to s. 1002.421. To participate in the program, a
335 private school must submit to the department a notification for
336 eligibility to participate in its application for the John M.
337 McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities and Florida
338 Tax Credit Scholarship programs identified in ss. 1002.39 and
340 (b) Provide to the department and eligible nonprofit
341 scholarship-funding organization, upon request, all
342 documentation required for the student’s participation,
343 including the private school’s and student’s fee schedules.
344 (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
345 the educational needs of the student by:
346 1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
347 explanation of the student’s progress.
348 2. Annually administering or making provision for students
349 participating in the program in grades 3 through 10 to take one
350 of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified by the State
351 Board Department of Education or the statewide assessments
352 pursuant to s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom
353 standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this
354 requirement. A participating private school shall report a
355 student’s scores to the parent.
356 3. Cooperating with the scholarship student whose parent
357 chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
358 assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 or, if a private school
359 chooses to offer the statewide assessments, administering the
360 assessments at the school.
361 a. A participating private school may choose to offer and
362 administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend
363 the private school in grades 3 through 10.
364 b. A participating private school shall submit a request in
365 writing to the Department of Education by March 1 of each year
366 in order to administer the statewide assessments in the
367 subsequent school year.
368 (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
369 direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
370 this section at the school’s physical location.
371 (e) Annually contract with an independent certified public
372 accountant to perform the agreed-upon procedures developed under
373 s. 1002.395(6)(o) s. 1002.395(6)(n) and produce a report of the
374 results if the private school receives more than $250,000 in
375 funds from scholarships awarded under this section in the 2014
376 2015 state fiscal year or a state fiscal year thereafter. A
377 private school subject to this paragraph must submit the report
378 by September 15, 2015, and annually thereafter to the
379 scholarship-funding organization that awarded the majority of
380 the school’s scholarship funds. The agreed-upon procedures must
381 be conducted in accordance with attestation standards
382 established by the American Institute of Certified Public
385 The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
386 this subsection constitutes a basis for the ineligibility of the
387 private school to participate in the program as determined by
388 the commissioner department.
389 (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
391 (a) Maintain a list of approved providers pursuant to s.
392 1002.66, and eligible postsecondary educational institutions,
393 eligible private schools, and organizations on its website. The
394 department may identify or provide links to lists of other
395 approved providers on its website.
396 (b) Require each eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
397 organization to preapprove verify eligible expenditures to be
398 before the distribution of funds for any expenditures made
399 pursuant to paragraphs (5)(a) and (b). Review of expenditures
400 made for services in paragraphs (5)(c)-(h) must (5)(c)-(g) may
401 be completed after the purchase payment has been made.
402 (c) Investigate any written complaint of a violation of
403 this section by a parent, student, private school, public school
404 or school district, organization, provider, or other appropriate
405 party in accordance with the process established by s.
407 (d) Require annually by December 1 quarterly reports by an
408 eligible nonprofit scholarship-fundin g organization, which must
409 include, but need not be limited to, regarding the number of
410 students participating in the program, demographics of program
411 participants; disability category; matrix level of services, if
412 known; award amount per student; total expenditures for the
413 categories in subsection (5); and the types of providers of
414 services to students , and other information deemed necessary by
415 the department.
416 (e) Compare the list of students participating in the
417 program with the public school student enrollment lists and the
418 list of students participating in school choice scholarship
419 programs established pursuant to this chapter, throughout the
420 school year, before each program payment to avoid duplicate
421 payments and confirm program eligibility.
422 (10) COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—
423 (a) The Commissioner of Education:
424 1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
425 in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
426 is threatened or fraud is suspected.
427 2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
428 program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
429 is threatened or fraud is suspected.
430 3. May deny, suspend , or revoke an authorized use of
431 program funds for material failure to comply with this section
432 and applicable State Board of Education department rules if the
433 noncompliance is correctable within a reasonable period of time.
434 Otherwise, the commissioner shall deny , suspend, or revoke an
435 authorized use for failure to materially comply with the law and
436 rules adopted under this section.
437 4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
438 date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
439 section and applicable State Board of Education department
441 5. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section,
442 the commissioner may deny, suspend, or revoke program
443 participation or use of program funds by the student; or
444 participation or eligibility of an organization, eligible
445 private school, eligible postsecondary educational institution,
446 approved provider, or other appropriate party for a violation of
447 this section. The commissioner may determine the length of, and
448 conditions for lifting, the suspension or revocation specified
449 in this paragraph. The length of suspension or revocation may
450 not exceed 5 years, except for instances of fraud, in which case
451 the length of suspension or revocation may not exceed 10 years.
452 The commissioner may employ mechanisms allowed by law to recover
453 unexpended program funds or withhold payment of an equal amount
454 of program funds to recover program funds that were not
455 authorized for use under this section thereafter.
456 6. Shall deny or terminate program participation upon a
457 parent’s forfeiture of a personal learning scholarship account
458 pursuant to subsection (11).
459 (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke, or
460 lift a suspension or revocation, in accordance with this
461 subsection, the commissioner may consider factors that include,
462 but are not limited to, acts or omissions that by a
463 participating entity which led to a previous denial, suspension,
464 or revocation of participation in a state or federal program or
465 an education scholarship program; failure to reimburse the
466 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization for program
467 funds improperly received or retained by the entity; failure to
468 reimburse government funds improperly received or retained;
469 imposition of a prior criminal sanction related to the person or
470 entity or its officers or employees; imposition of a civil fine
471 or administrative fine, license revocation or suspension, or
472 program eligibility suspension, termination, or revocation
473 related to a person’s or an entity’s management or operation; or
474 other types of criminal proceedings in which the person or the
475 entity or its officers or employees were found guilty of,
476 regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere
477 or guilty to, any offense involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty,
478 or moral turpitude.
479 (11) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
480 PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
481 under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
482 determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
483 meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
484 student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
485 Level III services. If a parent chooses to request and receive
486 an IEP and a matrix of services from the school district, the
487 amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
488 school district completes the matrix.
489 (a) To satisfy or maintain program eligibility, including,
490 but not limited to, eligibility to receive program payments and
491 expend program payments enroll an eligible student in the
492 program, the parent must sign an agreement with the eligible
493 nonprofit scholarship-fundin g organization and annually submit a
494 notarized, sworn compliance statement to the organization to:
495 1. Affirm that the student is enrolled in a program that
496 meets regular school attendance requirements as provided in s.
498 2. Affirm that Use the program funds are used only for
499 authorized purposes serving the student’s educational needs, as
500 described in subsection (5).
501 3. Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
502 standardized assessments as specified in this section.
503 a. If the parent enrolls the child in an eligible private
504 school, the student must take an assessment selected by the
505 private school pursuant to s. 1002.395(7)(e) or, if requested by
506 the parent, the statewide, standardized assessments pursuant to
507 s. 1002.39(8)(c)2. and (9)(e).
508 b. If the parent enrolls the child in a home education
509 program, the parent may choose to participate in an assessment
510 as part of the annual evaluation provided for in s.
512 4. Notify the school district that the student is
513 participating in the program Personal Learning Scholarship
514 Accounts if the parent chooses to enroll in a home education
515 program as provided in s. 1002.41.
516 5. File a completed application for initial program
517 participation with an organization Request participation in the
518 program by the dates date established pursuant to this section
519 by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
520 6. Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
521 the entities identified in paragraph (5)(d), paragraph (5)(g),
522 or paragraph (5)(h) provider or school if those options are
523 selected by the parent.
524 7. Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
525 school option is selected by the parent.
526 8. Annually file a completed application to renew
527 participation in the program if renewal is desired by the
528 parent. Notwithstanding any changes to the student’s IEP, a
529 student who was previously eligible for participation in the
530 program shall remain eligible to apply for renewal as provided
531 in subsection (6). However, in order for a high-risk child to
532 continue to participate in the program in the school year after
533 he or she reaches 6 years of age, the child’s completed
534 application for renewal of program participation must contain
535 documentation that the child has a disability defined in
536 paragraph (2)(d) other than high-risk status.
537 9. Affirm that the parent is prohibited from transferring
538 and will not transfer any prepaid college plan or college
539 savings plan funds contributed pursuant to paragraph (5)(f) to
540 another beneficiary while the plan contains funds contributed
541 pursuant to this section.
542 10. Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
543 funding provided by the state for the program Florida Personal
544 Learning Scholarship Accounts.
545 11. Affirm that the parent will maintain a portfolio of
546 records and materials which must be preserved by the parent for
547 2 years and be made available for inspection by the
548 organization, the department, or the district school
549 superintendent or the superintendent’s designee upon 15 days’
550 written notice. This paragraph does not require inspection of
551 the superintendent to inspect the portfolio. The portfolio of
552 records and materials must consist of:
553 a. A log of educational instruction and services which is
554 made contemporaneously with delivery of the instruction and
555 services and which designates by title any reading materials
556 used; and
557 b. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
558 creative materials used or developed by the student; and
559 c. Other records, documents, or materials required by the
560 organization or specified by the department in rule, to
561 facilitate program implementation.
562 (b) The parent is responsible for procuring the services
563 necessary to educate the student. When the student receives a
564 personal learning scholarship account, the district school board
565 is not obligated to provide the student with a free appropriate
566 public education. For purposes of s. 1003.57 and the Individuals
567 with Disabilities in Education Act, a participating student has
568 only those rights that apply to all other unilaterally
569 parentally placed students, except that, when requested by the
570 parent, school district personnel must develop an individual
571 education plan or matrix level of services.
572 (c) The parent is responsible for the payment of all
573 eligible expenses in excess of the amount of the personal
574 learning scholarship account in accordance with the terms agreed
575 to between the parent and the providers.
577 A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
578 personal learning scholarship account.
579 (12) ADMINISTRATION OF PERSONAL LEARNING SCHOLARSHIP
580 ACCOUNTS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
581 participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
582 established under s. 1002.395 may establish personal learning
583 scholarship accounts for eligible students, in accordance with
584 the deadlines established in this section, by:
585 (a) Receiving completed applications and final verification
586 and determining student eligibility in accordance with the
587 requirements of this section. For initial program participation,
588 preference must first be provided to students retained on a wait
589 list created by the organization in the order that completed
590 applications are approved The organization shall notify the
591 department of the applicants for the program by March 1 before
592 the school year in which the student intends to participate.
593 When a completed an application and final verification are is
594 received and approved, the scholarship funding organization must
595 provide the department with information on the student to enable
596 the department to report the student for funding in an amount
597 determined in accordance with subsection (13).
598 (b) Notifying parents of their receipt of a scholarship on
599 a first-come, first-served basis, after approving the completed
600 application and confirming receipt of the parent’s final
601 verification, based upon the funds provided for this program in
602 the General Appropriations Act.
603 (c) Establishing a date pursuant to paragraph (3)(b) by
604 which a parent must confirm initial or continuing participation
605 in the program and confirm the establishment or continuance of a
606 personal learning scholarship account.
607 (d) Establishing a date and process pursuant to paragraph
608 (3)(b) by which completed applications may be approved and
609 students on the wait list or late-filing applicants may be
610 allowed to participate in the program during the school year,
611 within the amount of funds provided for this program in the
612 General Appropriations Act. The process must allow timely filed
613 completed applications to take precedence before late-filed
614 completed applications for purposes of creating a wait list for
615 participation in the program.
616 (e) Establishing and maintaining separate accounts for each
617 eligible student. For each account, the organization must
618 maintain a record of interest accrued that is retained in the
619 student’s account and available only for authorized program
621 (f) Verifying qualifying educational expenditures pursuant
622 to the requirements of subsection (5) paragraph (8)(b).
623 (g) Returning any remaining program unused funds pursuant
624 to paragraph (6)(c) to the department when the student is no
625 longer authorized to expend program funds. The organization may
626 reimburse a parent for authorized program expenditures made
627 during the fiscal year before funds are deposited in the
628 student’s eligible for a personal scholarship learning account.
629 (h) Annually notifying the parent about the availability of
630 and the requirements associated with requesting an initial
631 matrix or matrix reevaluation annually for each student
632 participating in the program.
633 (13) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
634 (a)1. The maximum funding amount granted for an eligible
635 student with a disability, pursuant to this section subsection
636 (3), shall be equivalent to the base student allocation in the
637 Florida Education Finance Program multiplied by the appropriate
638 cost factor for the educational program which would have been
639 provided for the student in the district school to which he or
640 she would have been assigned, multiplied by the district cost
642 2. In addition, an amount equivalent to a share of the
643 guaranteed allocation for exceptional students in the Florida
644 Education Finance Program shall be determined and added to the
645 amount in subparagraph 1. The calculation shall be based on the
646 methodology and the data used to calculate the guaranteed
647 allocation for exceptional students for each district in chapter
648 2000-166, Laws of Florida. Except as provided in subparagraph
649 3., the calculation shall be based on the student’s grade, the
650 matrix level of services, and the difference between the 2000
651 2001 basic program and the appropriate level of services cost
652 factor, multiplied by the 2000-2001 base student allocation and
653 the 2000-2001 district cost differential for the sending
654 district. The calculated amount must also include an amount
655 equivalent to the per-student share of supplemental academic
656 instruction funds, instructional materials funds, technology
657 funds, and other categorical funds as provided in the General
658 Appropriations Act.
659 3. Except as otherwise provided, the calculation for all
660 students participating in the program shall be based on the
661 matrix that assigns the student to support Level III of
662 services. If a parent chooses to request and receive a matrix of
663 services from the school district, when the school district
664 completes the matrix, the amount of the payment shall be
665 adjusted as needed.
666 (b) The amount of the awarded funds shall be 90 percent of
667 the calculated amount. One hundred percent of the funds
668 appropriated for this program shall be released in the first
669 quarter of each fiscal year. Accrued interest is in addition to,
670 and not part of, the awarded funds. Program funds include both
671 the awarded funds and the accrued interest.
672 (c) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
673 postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
674 consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
675 student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
676 institution, the student’s personal learning scholarship account
677 shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
679 (c) (d) The eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
680 organization shall develop a system for payment of benefits by
681 electronic funds transfer, including, but not limited to, debit
682 cards, electronic payment cards, or any other means of
683 electronic payment that the department deems to be commercially
684 viable or cost-effective. Commodities or services related to the
685 development of such a system shall be procured by competitive
686 solicitation unless they are purchased from a state term
687 contract pursuant to s. 287.056.
688 (d) An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
689 may use up to 3 percent of the total amount of payments received
690 during the state fiscal year for administrative expenses if the
691 organization has operated as an nonprofit scholarship-funding
692 organization for at least 3 fiscal years and did not have any
693 findings of material weakness or material noncompliance in its
694 most recent audit under s. 1002.395(6)(m). Such administrative
695 expenses must be reasonable and necessary for the organization’s
696 management and distribution of scholarships under this section.
697 Funds authorized under this paragraph may not be used for
698 lobbying or political activity or expenses related to lobbying
699 or political activity. If an eligible nonprofit scholarship
700 funding organization charges an application fee for a
701 scholarship, the application fee must be immediately refunded to
702 the person who paid the fee if the student is determined
703 ineligible for the program or placed on a wait list. The
704 administrative fee may not be deducted from any scholarship
705 funds, but may be provided for in the General Appropriations
706 Act. An application fee may not be deducted from any scholarship
708 (e) Moneys received pursuant to this section do not
709 constitute taxable income to the student or parent of the
710 qualified student.
711 (14) OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—
712 (a) The Auditor General shall conduct an annual financial
713 and operational audit of accounts and records of each eligible
714 scholarship-funding organization that participates in the
715 program. As part of this audit, the Auditor General shall
716 verify, at a minimum, the total amount of students served and
717 eligibility of reimbursements made by each eligible nonprofit
718 scholarship-funding organization and transmit that information
719 to the department.
720 (b) The Auditor General shall notify the department of any
721 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization that fails
722 to comply with a request for information.
723 (c) The Auditor General shall provide the Commissioner of
724 Education with a copy of each annual operational audit performed
725 pursuant to this subsection within 10 days after each audit is
727 (15) OBLIGATIONS RELATED TO APPROVED PROVIDERS.—The
728 Department of Health, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities,
729 and the Department of Education shall work with an eligible
730 nonprofit scholarship-fundin g organization for easy or automated
731 access to lists of licensed providers of services specified in
732 paragraph (5)(c) to ensure efficient administration of the
734 (16) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
735 any use of awarded funds under this section.
736 (17) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
737 regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
738 district to impose additional regulation on participating
739 private schools, independent nonpublic postsecondary educational
740 institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
741 necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
743 (18) REPORTS.—The department shall, by February 1 of each
744 year, provide an annual report to the Governor, the President of
745 the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
746 regarding the effectiveness of the Florida Personal Learning
747 Scholarship Accounts Program. The report must address the scope
748 and size of the program, with regard to participation and other
749 related data, and analyze the effectiveness of the program
750 pertaining to cost, education, and therapeutic services.
751 (19) (18) RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt
752 rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this
754 (20) (19) IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE FOR THE 2014-2015 SCHOOL
755 YEAR.—Notwithstanding the provisions of this section related to
756 notification and eligibility timelines, an eligible nonprofit
757 scholarship-funding organization may enroll parents on a rolling
758 schedule on a first-come, first-served basis, within the amount
759 of funds provided in the General Appropriations Act. This
760 subsection is repealed July 1, 2015.
761 Section 2. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (16) of
762 section 1002.395, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
763 1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.—
764 (16) NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS;
765 APPLICATION.—In order to participate in the scholarship program
766 created under this section, a charitable organization that seeks
767 to be a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must submit
768 an application for initial approval or renewal to the Office of
769 Independent Education and Parental Choice no later than
770 September 1 of each year before the school year for which the
771 organization intends to offer scholarships.
772 (a) An application for initial approval must include:
773 1. A copy of the organization’s incorporation documents and
774 registration with the Division of Corporations of the Department
775 of State.
776 2. A copy of the organization’s Internal Revenue Service
777 determination letter as a s. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit
779 3. A description of the organization’s financial plan that
780 demonstrates sufficient funds to operate throughout the school
782 4. A description of the geographic region that the
783 organization intends to serve and an analysis of the demand and
784 unmet need for eligible students in that area.
785 5. The organization’s organizational chart.
786 6. A description of the criteria and methodology that the
787 organization will use to evaluate scholarship eligibility.
788 7. A description of the application process, including
789 deadlines and any associated fees.
790 8. A description of the deadlines for attendance
791 verification and scholarship payments.
792 9. A copy of the organization’s policies on conflict of
793 interest and whistleblowers.
794 10. A copy of a surety bond or letter of credit in an
795 amount equal to 25 percent of the scholarship funds anticipated
796 for each school year or $100,000, whichever is greater,
797 specifying that any claim against the bond or letter of credit
798 may be made only by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
799 organization to provide scholarships to and on behalf of
800 students who would have had scholarships funded but for the
801 diversion of funds giving rise to the claim against the bond or
802 letter of credit.
803 (b) In addition to the information required by
804 subparagraphs (a)1.-9., an application for renewal must include:
805 1. A surety bond or letter of credit equal to the amount of
806 undisbursed donations held by the organization based on the
807 annual report submitted pursuant to paragraph (6)(m). The amount
808 of the surety bond or letter of credit must be at least
809 $100,000, but not more than $25 million, specifying that any
810 claim against the bond or letter of credit may be made only by
811 an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization to
812 provide scholarships to and on behalf of students who would have
813 had scholarships funded but for the diversion of funds giving
814 rise to the claim against the bond or letter of credit.
815 2. The organization’s completed Internal Revenue Service
816 Form 990 submitted no later than November 30 of the year before
817 the school year that the organization intends to offer the
818 scholarships, notwithstanding the September 1 application
820 3. A copy of the statutorily required audit to the
821 Department of Education and Auditor General.
822 4. An annual report that includes:
823 a. The number of students who completed applications, by
824 county and by grade.
825 b. The number of students who were approved for
826 scholarships, by county and by grade.
827 c. The number of students who received funding for
828 scholarships within each funding category, by county and by
830 d. The amount of funds received, the amount of funds
831 distributed in scholarships, and an accounting of remaining
832 funds and the obligation of those funds.
833 e. A detailed accounting of how the organization spent the
834 administrative funds allowable under paragraph (6)(j).
835 Section 3. Paragraph (z) is added to subsection (4) of
836 section 1009.971, Florida Statutes, to read:
837 1009.971 Florida Prepaid College Board.—
838 (4) FLORIDA PREPAID COLLEGE BOARD; POWERS AND DUTIES.—The
839 board shall have the powers and duties necessary or proper to
840 carry out the provisions of ss. 1009.97-1009.984, including, but
841 not limited to, the power and duty to:
842 (z) Adopt rules governing:
843 1. The purchase and use of a prepaid college plan
844 authorized under s. 1009.98 or a college savings plan authorized
845 under s. 1009.981 for the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
846 Accounts Program pursuant to ss. 1002.385, 1009.98, and
848 2. The use of a prepaid college plan authorized under s.
849 1009.98 or a college savings plan authorized under s. 1009.981
850 for postsecondary education programs for students with
852 Section 4. Subsection (11) is added to section 1009.98,
853 Florida Statutes, to read:
854 1009.98 Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program.—
855 (11) IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES.—
856 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a
857 prepaid college plan may be purchased, accounted for, used, and
858 terminated as provided in s. 1002.385. By September 1, 2015, the
859 board shall develop procedures, contracts, and any other
860 required forms or documentation necessary to fully implement
861 this subsection. The board shall enter into a contract with an
862 organization pursuant to s. 1002.385 to enable the board to
863 establish mechanisms to implement this subsection, including,
864 but not limited to, identifying the source of funds being
865 deposited into a prepaid college plan. A qualified beneficiary
866 may not be changed while a prepaid college plan contains funds
867 contributed from s. 1002.385.
868 (b) A qualified beneficiary may apply the benefits of an
869 advance payment contract toward the program fees of a program
870 designed for students with disabilities conducted by a state
871 postsecondary institution. A transfer authorized under this
872 subsection may not exceed the redemption value of the advance
873 payment contract at a state postsecondary institution or the
874 number of semester credit hours contracted on behalf of a
875 qualified beneficiary.
876 Section 5. Subsection (10) is added to section 1009.981,
877 Florida Statutes, to read:
878 1009.981 Florida College Savings Program.—
879 (10) IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES.—
880 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a
881 college savings plan may be purchased, accounted for, used, and
882 terminated as provided in s. 1002.385. By September 1, 2015, the
883 board shall develop procedures, contracts, and any other
884 required forms or documentation necessary to fully implement
885 this subsection. The board shall enter into a contract with an
886 organization pursuant to s. 1002.385 to enable the board to
887 establish mechanisms to implement this subsection, including,
888 but not limited to, identifying the source of funds being
889 deposited into a college savings plan. A designated beneficiary
890 may not be changed while a college savings plan contains funds
891 contributed from s. 1002.385.
892 (b) A designated beneficiary may apply the benefits of a
893 participation agreement toward the program fees of a program
894 designed for students with disabilities conducted by a state
895 postsecondary institution.
896 Section 6. The Department of Education shall adopt rules to
897 implement s. 1002.385, Florida Statutes.
898 (1) Such rules must be effective by August 1, 2015, and
899 must include, but need not be limited to:
900 (a) Establishing procedures concerning the student,
901 organization, eligible private school, eligible postsecondary
902 educational institution, or other appropriate party to
903 participate in the program, including approval, suspension, and
904 termination of eligibility;
905 (b) Establishing uniform forms for use by organizations for
906 parents and students;
907 (c) Approving providers pertaining to the Florida K-20
908 Education Code;
909 (d) Incorporating program participation in existing private
910 school scholarship program applications, including, but not
911 limited to, ensuring that the process for obtaining eligibility
912 under s. 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is as administratively
913 convenient as possible for a private school;
914 (e) Establishing a matrix of services calculations and
915 timelines, so that the initial and revised matrix is completed
916 by a school district in time to be included in the completed
918 (f) Establishing a deadline for an organization to provide
919 annual notice of the ability for a parent to request an initial
920 or revised matrix of services, which must enable the initial or
921 revised matrix to be included in the completed application;
922 (g) Establishing additional records, documents, or
923 materials a parent must collect and retain in the student’s
925 (h) Establishing preliminary timelines and procedures that
926 enable a parent to submit a completed application to the
927 organization, and for the organization to review and approve the
928 completed application; and
929 (i) Defining terms, including, but not limited to, the
930 terms “participating student,” “new student,” “eligible
931 student,” “award letter,” “program funds,” “associated
932 interest,” “program payments,” “program expenditures,” “initial
933 program participation,” “program renewal,” “wait list,” “timely
934 filed application,” and “late-filed application.”
935 (2) Such rules should maximize flexibility and ease of
936 program use for the parent and student.
937 Section 7. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
939 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================
940 And the title is amended as follows:
941 Delete everything before the enacting clause
942 and insert:
943 A bill to be entitled
944 An act relating to students with disabilities;
945 amending s. 1002.385, F.S.; revising definitions
946 applicable to the Florida Personal Learning
947 Scholarship Accounts Program; revising scholarship
948 application deadlines and guidelines; revising
949 provisions to conform to the designation of eligible
950 nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations; requiring
951 authorized program funds to support the student’s
952 educational needs; requiring the Florida Prepaid
953 College Board to create certain procedures;
954 authorizing part-time private tutoring services by
955 persons meeting certain requirements; authorizing
956 program funds to be spent for specified education
957 programs and services; revising the conditions under
958 which a student’s personal learning scholarship
959 account must be closed; revising the responsibilities
960 for school districts; revising requirements for a
961 private school’s eligibility to participate in the
962 program; revising responsibilities of the Department
963 of Education and the Commissioner of Education with
964 respect to program administration; revising
965 responsibilities for parents and students to
966 participate in the program; requiring a parent to
967 affirm that program funds are used only for authorized
968 purposes that serve the student’s educational needs;
969 revising responsibilities of an organization
970 pertaining to the administration of personal learning
971 scholarship accounts; revising the wait list and
972 priority of approving renewal and new applications;
973 revising the notice requirement of an organization;
974 authorizing accrued interest to be used for authorized
975 expenditures; requiring accrued interest to be
976 reverted as a part of reverted scholarship funds;
977 revising taxable income requirements; removing
978 obsolete audit requirements; requiring the Auditor
979 General to provide a copy of each annual operational
980 audit performed to the Commissioner of Education
981 within a specified timeframe; requiring the department
982 to provide an annual report to the Governor and the
983 Legislature regarding the program; prescribing report
984 requirements; providing for future repeal of
985 provisions pertaining to an implementation schedule of
986 notification and eligibility timelines; amending s.
987 1002.395, F.S.; revising the surety bond requirements
988 for nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations
989 submitting initial and renewal scholarship program
990 participation applications; amending s. 1009.971,
991 F.S.; revising the powers and duties of the Florida
992 Prepaid College Board to include specified rulemaking
993 authority; amending ss. 1009.98 and 1009.981, F.S.;
994 authorizing a prepaid college plan or a college
995 savings plan to be purchased, accounted for, used, and
996 terminated under certain circumstances; specifying
997 rulemaking requirements applicable to the department;
998 providing an effective date.