CS for SB 602 First Engrossed
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to students with disabilities;
3 amending s. 1002.385, F.S.; revising definitions
4 applicable to the Florida Personal Learning
5 Scholarship Accounts Program; revising scholarship
6 application deadlines and guidelines; revising
7 provisions to conform to the designation of eligible
8 nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations; requiring
9 authorized program funds to support the student’s
10 educational needs; requiring the Florida Prepaid
11 College Board to create certain procedures;
12 authorizing part-time private tutoring services by
13 persons meeting certain requirements; authorizing
14 program funds to be spent for specified education
15 programs and services; revising the conditions under
16 which a student’s personal learning scholarship
17 account must be closed; revising the responsibilities
18 for school districts; revising requirements for a
19 private school’s eligibility to participate in the
20 program; revising responsibilities of the Department
21 of Education and the Commissioner of Education with
22 respect to program administration; revising
23 responsibilities for parents and students to
24 participate in the program; requiring a parent to
25 affirm that program funds are used only for authorized
26 purposes that serve the student’s educational needs;
27 revising responsibilities of an organization
28 pertaining to the administration of personal learning
29 scholarship accounts; revising the wait list and
30 priority of approving renewal and new applications;
31 revising the notice requirement of an organization;
32 authorizing accrued interest to be used for authorized
33 expenditures; requiring accrued interest to be
34 reverted as a part of reverted scholarship funds;
35 revising taxable income requirements; removing
36 obsolete audit requirements; requiring the Auditor
37 General to provide a copy of each annual operational
38 audit performed to the Commissioner of Education
39 within a specified timeframe; requiring the department
40 to provide an annual report to the Governor and the
41 Legislature regarding the program; prescribing report
42 requirements; providing for future repeal of
43 provisions pertaining to an implementation schedule of
44 notification and eligibility timelines; amending s.
45 1002.395, F.S.; revising the use of eligible
46 contributions by eligible nonprofit scholarship
47 funding organizations; revising the surety bond
48 requirements for nonprofit scholarship-funding
49 organizations submitting initial and renewal
50 scholarship program participation applications;
51 amending s. 1009.971, F.S.; revising the powers and
52 duties of the Florida Prepaid College Board to include
53 specified rulemaking authority; amending ss. 1009.98
54 and 1009.981, F.S.; authorizing a prepaid college plan
55 or a college savings plan to be purchased, accounted
56 for, used, and terminated under certain circumstances;
57 specifying rulemaking requirements applicable to the
58 department; providing an effective date.
60 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
62 Section 1. Section 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is amended
63 to read:
64 1002.385 Florida personal learning scholarship accounts.—
65 (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Florida Personal Learning
66 Scholarship Accounts Program is established to provide the
67 option for a parent to better meet the individual educational
68 needs of his or her eligible child.
69 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
70 (a) “Approved provider” means a provider approved by the
71 Agency for Persons with Disabilities, a health care practitioner
72 as defined in s. 456.001(4), or a provider approved by the
73 department pursuant to s. 1002.66. The term also includes
74 providers outside this state which are subject to similar
75 regulation or approval requirements.
76 (b) “Curriculum” means a complete course of study for a
77 particular content area or grade level, including any required
78 supplemental materials.
79 (c) “Department” means the Department of Education.
80 (d) “Disability” means, for a 3- or 4-year-old child or for
81 a student in kindergarten to grade 12, autism spectrum disorder,
82 as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
83 Disorders, Fifth Edition
, as defined in s. 393.063(3); cerebral
84 palsy, as defined in s. 393.063(4); Down syndrome, as defined in
85 s. 393.063(13); an intellectual disability, as defined in s.
86 393.063(21); Prader-Willi syndrome, as defined in s.
87 393.063(25); or spina bifida, as defined in s. 393.063(36); for
88 a student in kindergarten, being a high-risk child, as defined
89 in s. 393.063(20)(a); muscular dystrophy; and Williams syndrome.
90 (e) “Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization”
91 or “organization” means a nonprofit scholarship-funding
92 organization that is approved pursuant to s. 1002.395(2)(f). The
93 organization must have a copy of its annual operational audit
94 provided to the Commissioner of Education as required by this
95 section has the same meaning as in s. 1002.395.
96 (f) “Eligible postsecondary educational institution” means
97 a Florida College System institution; , a state university; , a
98 school district technical center; , a school district adult
99 general education center; an independent college or university
100 that is eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV,
101 Florida Resident Access Grant Program under s. 1009.89; , or an
102 accredited independent nonpublic postsecondary educational
103 institution, as defined in s. 1005.02, which is licensed to
104 operate in the state pursuant to requirements specified in part
105 III of chapter 1005.
106 (g) “Eligible private school” means a private school, as
107 defined in s. 1002.01, which is located in this state, which
108 offers an education to students in any grade from kindergarten
109 to grade 12, and which meets the requirements of:
110 1. Sections 1002.42 and 1002.421; and
111 2. A scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395 ,
112 as applicable, if the private school participates in a
113 scholarship program under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395.
114 (h) “IEP” means individual education plan.
115 (i) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is a
116 parent, as defined in s. 1000.21.
117 (j) “Program” means the Florida Personal Learning
118 Scholarship Accounts Program established in this section.
119 (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
120 disability may request and receive from the state a Florida
121 personal learning scholarship account for the purposes specified
122 in subsection (5) if:
123 (a) The student:
124 1. Is a resident of this state;
125 2. Is or will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1
126 of the year in which the student applies for program
127 participation, or is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through
128 grade 12 in a public school in this state;
129 3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d); and
130 4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
131 rules of the State Board of Education or has received a
132 diagnosis of a disability as defined in subsection (2) from a
133 physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a
134 psychologist who is licensed under chapter 490 in this state.
135 (b) Beginning January 2015, and each year thereafter, the
136 following application deadlines and guidelines are met:
137 1. The parent of a student seeking program renewal must
138 submit a completed application to an organization for renewal by
139 February 1 before the school year in which the student wishes to
141 2. The parent of a student seeking initial approval to
142 participate in the program must submit a completed application
143 to an organization by June 30 before the school year in which
144 the student wishes to participate.
145 3. The parent of a student seeking approval to participate
146 in the program who does not comply with the requirements of
147 subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. may late file a completed
148 application by August 15 before the school year in which the
149 student wishes to participate.
150 4. A parent must submit final verification to the
151 organization before the organization opens a personal learning
152 scholarship account for the student. The final verification must
153 consist of only the following items that apply to the student:
154 a. A completed withdrawal form from the school district if
155 the student was enrolled in a public school before the
156 determination of program eligibility;
157 b. A letter of admission or enrollment from an eligible
158 private school for the school year in which the student wishes
159 to participate;
160 c. A copy of the notice of the parent’s intent to establish
161 and maintain a home education program required by s.
162 1002.41(1)(a), or a copy of the district school superintendent’s
163 review of the annual educational evaluation of the student in a
164 home education program required by s. 1002.41(2); or
165 d. A copy of notification from a private school that the
166 student has withdrawn from the John M. McKay Scholarships for
167 Students with Disabilities Program or the Florida Tax Credit
168 Scholarship Program.
169 5. A parent’s completed application and final verification
170 submitted pursuant to this paragraph the parent has applied to
171 an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization to
172 participate in the program by February 1 before the school year
173 in which the student will participate or an alternative date as
174 set by the organization for any vacant, funded slots . The
175 request must be communicated directly to the organization in a
176 manner that creates a written or electronic record including of
177 the request and the date of receipt of the request. The
178 organization shall notify the district and the department of the
179 parent’s intent upon receipt of the parent’s completed
180 application and final verification request. The completed
181 application must include, but is not limited to, an application;
182 required documentation and forms; an initial or revised matrix
183 of services, if requested; and any additional information or
184 documentation required by the organization or by State Board of
185 Education rule.
186 (4) PROGRAM PROHIBITIONS.—
187 (a) A student is not eligible for the program while he or
188 she is:
189 1. Enrolled in a public school, including, but not limited
190 to, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind; the Florida
191 Virtual School; the College-Preparatory Boarding Academy; a
192 developmental research school authorized under s. 1002.32; a
193 charter school authorized under s. 1002.33, s. 1002.331, or s.
194 1002.332; or a virtual education program authorized under s.
196 2. Enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education
197 Program authorized under part V of this chapter;
198 3. Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
199 providing educational services to youth in the Department of
200 Juvenile Justice commitment programs;
201 4. 3. Receiving a scholarship pursuant to the Florida Tax
202 Credit Scholarship Program under s. 1002.395 or the John M.
203 McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program under
204 s. 1002.39; or
205 5. 4. Receiving any other educational scholarship pursuant
206 to this chapter.
208 For purposes of subparagraph 1., a 3- or 4-year-old child who
209 receives services that are funded through the Florida Education
210 Finance Program is considered to be a student enrolled in a
211 public school.
212 (b) A student is not eligible for the program if:
213 1. The student or student’s parent has accepted any
214 payment, refund, or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of
215 any services received pursuant to subsection (5);
216 2. The student’s participation in the program, or receipt
217 or expenditure of program funds, has been denied or revoked by
218 the commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (10); or
219 3. The student’s parent has forfeited participation in the
220 program for failure to comply with requirements pursuant to
221 subsection (11); or
222 4. The student’s application for program eligibility has
223 been denied by an organization.
224 (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds may be
225 spent if used to support the student’s educational needs, for
226 the following purposes:
227 (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
228 digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
229 allow a student to access instruction or instructional content
230 and training on the use of and maintenance agreements for these
232 (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(b).
233 (c) Specialized services by approved providers that are
234 selected by the parent. These specialized services may include,
235 but are not limited to:
236 1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
237 627.6686 and 641.31098.
238 2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
239 defined in s. 468.1125.
240 3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
241 4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
242 s. 486.021.
243 5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
244 specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
245 child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
246 implant or assistive hearing device.
248 Specialized services outside this state are authorized under
249 this paragraph if the services are subject to similar regulation
250 or approval requirements.
251 (d) Enrollment in, or tuition or fees associated with
252 enrollment in, an eligible private school, an eligible
253 postsecondary educational institution or a program offered by
254 the institution, a private tutoring program authorized under s.
255 1002.43, a virtual program offered by a department-approved
256 private online provider that meets the provider qualifications
257 specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a), the Florida Virtual School as a
258 private paying student, or an approved online course offered
259 pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s. 1004.0961.
260 (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
261 achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
262 certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
263 education, or other assessments.
264 (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
265 College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98 or the Florida College
266 Savings Program pursuant to s. 1009.981, for the benefit of the
267 eligible student. The Florida Prepaid College Board shall, by
268 the dates specified in ss. 1009.98 and 1009.981, create and have
269 effective procedures to allow program funds to be used in
270 conjunction with other funds used by the parent in the purchase
271 of a prepaid college plan or a college savings plan; require
272 program funds to be tracked and accounted for separately from
273 other funds contributed to a prepaid college plan or a college
274 savings plan; require program funds and associated interest to
275 be reverted as specified in this section; and require program
276 funds to be used only after private payments have been used for
277 prepaid college plan or college savings plan expenditures. The
278 organization shall enter into a contract with the Florida
279 Prepaid College Board to enable the board to establish
280 mechanisms to implement this section, including, but not limited
281 to, identifying the source of funds being deposited in these
282 plans. A qualified or designated beneficiary may not be changed
283 while these plans contain funds contributed from this section.
284 (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
285 school district, including classes. A student who receives
286 services under a contract under this paragraph is not considered
287 enrolled in a public school for eligibility purposes as
288 specified in subsection (4).
289 (h) Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services
290 provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s
291 certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56; a person who holds an
292 adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; or a person
293 who has demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge
294 pursuant to s. 1012.56(5). The term “part-time tutoring
295 services” as used in this paragraph does not meet the definition
296 of the term “regular school attendance” in s. 1003.01(13)(e).
297 (i) Fees for specialized summer education programs.
298 (j) Fees for specialized after-school education programs.
299 (k) Transition services provided by job coaches.
300 (l) Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress
301 by a state-certified teacher, if this option is chosen for a
302 home education student pursuant to s. 1002.41(1)(c)1.
304 A specialized service provider, eligible private school,
305 eligible postsecondary educational institution, private tutoring
306 program provider, online or virtual program provider, public
307 school, school district, or other entity receiving payments
308 pursuant to this subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any
309 moneys from the Florida personal learning scholarship account
310 with the parent or participating student in any manner.
311 (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
312 educational choice and program integrity: ,
313 (a) The program payments made by the state to an
314 organization for a personal learning scholarship account under
315 this section shall continue remain in force until the parent
316 does not renew program eligibility; the organization determines
317 a student is not eligible for program renewal; the commissioner
318 denies, suspends, or revokes program participation or use of
319 funds; or a student enrolls in participating in the program
320 participates in any of the prohibited activities specified in
321 subsection (4), has funds revoked by the Commissioner of
322 Education pursuant to subsection (10), returns to a public
323 school or in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program,
324 graduates from high school, or attains 22 years of age,
325 whichever occurs first. A participating student who enrolls in a
326 public school or public school program is considered to have
327 returned to a public school for the purpose of determining the
328 end of the program’s term .
329 (b) Program expenditures by the parent from the program
330 account are authorized until a student’s personal learning
331 scholarship account is closed pursuant to paragraph (c).
332 (c) A student’s personal learning scholarship account shall
333 be closed, and any remaining funds, including accrued interest
334 or contributions made using program funds pursuant to paragraph
335 (5)(f), shall revert to the state upon:
336 1. The eligible student no longer being enrolled in an
337 eligible postsecondary educational institution or a program
338 offered by the institution;
339 2. Denial or revocation of program eligibility by the
341 3. Denial of program application by an organization; or
342 4. After any period of 4 consecutive years after high
343 school completion or graduation in which the student is not
344 enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational institution or
345 a program offered by the institution.
347 The commissioner must notify the parent and organization of any
348 reversion determination.
349 (7) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS; PARENTAL OPTIONS.—
350 (a)1. For a student with a disability who does not have a
351 matrix of services under s. 1011.62(1)(e), or who wants a
352 revised matrix of services, and for whom the parent requests a
353 new or revised matrix of services, the school district must
354 complete a matrix that assigns the student to one of the levels
355 of service as they existed before the 2000-2001 school year.
356 2.a. Within 10 calendar school days after a school district
357 receives notification of a parent’s request for completion of a
358 matrix of services, the school district must notify the
359 student’s parent if the matrix of services has not been
360 completed and inform the parent that the district is required to
361 complete the matrix within 30 days after receiving notice of the
362 parent’s request for the matrix of services. This notice must
363 include the required completion date for the matrix.
364 b. The school district shall complete the matrix of
365 services for a student whose parent has made a request. The
366 school district must provide the student’s parent, the
367 organization, and the department with the student’s matrix level
368 within 10 calendar school days after its completion.
369 c. The department shall notify the parent and the eligible
370 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization of the amount of the
371 funds awarded within 10 days after receiving the school
372 district’s notification of the student’s matrix level.
373 d. A school district may change a matrix of services only
374 if the change is to correct a technical, typographical, or
375 calculation error, except that a parent may annually request a
376 matrix reevaluation for each student participating in the
377 program pursuant to paragraph (12)(h).
378 (b) For each student participating in the program who
379 chooses to participate in statewide, standardized assessments
380 under s. 1008.22 or the Florida Alternate Assessment, the school
381 district in which the student resides must notify the student
382 and his or her parent about the locations and times to take all
383 statewide, standardized assessments.
384 (c) For each student participating in the program, a school
385 district shall notify the parent about the availability of a
386 reevaluation at least every 3 years .
387 (8) PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—An eligible
388 private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and shall:
389 (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools
390 participating in state school choice scholarship programs
391 pursuant to s. 1002.421. To participate in the program, a
392 private school must submit to the department a notification for
393 eligibility to participate in its application for the John M.
394 McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities and Florida
395 Tax Credit Scholarship programs identified in ss. 1002.39 and
397 (b) Provide to the department and eligible nonprofit
398 scholarship-funding organization, upon request, all
399 documentation required for the student’s participation,
400 including the private school’s and student’s fee schedules.
401 (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
402 the educational needs of the student by:
403 1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
404 explanation of the student’s progress.
405 2. Annually administering or making provision for students
406 participating in the program in grades 3 through 10 to take one
407 of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified by the State
408 Board Department of Education or the statewide assessments
409 pursuant to s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom
410 standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this
411 requirement. A participating private school shall report a
412 student’s scores to the parent.
413 3. Cooperating with the scholarship student whose parent
414 chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
415 assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 or, if a private school
416 chooses to offer the statewide assessments, administering the
417 assessments at the school.
418 a. A participating private school may choose to offer and
419 administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend
420 the private school in grades 3 through 10.
421 b. A participating private school shall submit a request in
422 writing to the Department of Education by March 1 of each year
423 in order to administer the statewide assessments in the
424 subsequent school year.
425 (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
426 direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
427 this section at the school’s physical location.
428 (e) Annually contract with an independent certified public
429 accountant to perform the agreed-upon procedures developed under
430 s. 1002.395(6)(o) s. 1002.395(6)(n) and produce a report of the
431 results if the private school receives more than $250,000 in
432 funds from scholarships awarded under this section in the 2014
433 2015 state fiscal year or a state fiscal year thereafter. A
434 private school subject to this paragraph must submit the report
435 by September 15, 2015, and annually thereafter to the
436 scholarship-funding organization that awarded the majority of
437 the school’s scholarship funds. The agreed-upon procedures must
438 be conducted in accordance with attestation standards
439 established by the American Institute of Certified Public
442 The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
443 this subsection constitutes a basis for the ineligibility of the
444 private school to participate in the program as determined by
445 the commissioner department.
446 (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
448 (a) Maintain a list of approved providers pursuant to s.
449 1002.66, and eligible postsecondary educational institutions,
450 eligible private schools, and organizations on its website. The
451 department may identify or provide links to lists of other
452 approved providers on its website.
453 (b) Require each eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
454 organization to preapprove verify eligible expenditures to be
455 before the distribution of funds for any expenditures made
456 pursuant to paragraphs (5)(a) and (b). Review of expenditures
457 made for services in paragraphs (5)(c)-(h) must (5)(c)-(g) may
458 be completed after the purchase payment has been made.
459 (c) Investigate any written complaint of a violation of
460 this section by a parent, student, private school, public school
461 or school district, organization, provider, or other appropriate
462 party in accordance with the process established by s.
464 (d) Require annually by December 1 quarterly reports by an
465 eligible nonprofit scholarship-fundin g organization, which must
466 include, but need not be limited to, regarding the number of
467 students participating in the program, demographics of program
468 participants; disability category; matrix level of services, if
469 known; award amount per student; total expenditures for the
470 categories in subsection (5); and the types of providers of
471 services to students , and other information deemed necessary by
472 the department.
473 (e) Compare the list of students participating in the
474 program with the public school student enrollment lists and the
475 list of students participating in school choice scholarship
476 programs established pursuant to this chapter, throughout the
477 school year, before each program payment to avoid duplicate
478 payments and confirm program eligibility.
479 (10) COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—
480 (a) The Commissioner of Education:
481 1. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke a student’s participation
482 in the program if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
483 is threatened or fraud is suspected.
484 2. Shall deny, suspend, or revoke an authorized use of
485 program funds if the health, safety, or welfare of the student
486 is threatened or fraud is suspected.
487 3. May deny, suspend , or revoke an authorized use of
488 program funds for material failure to comply with this section
489 and applicable State Board of Education department rules if the
490 noncompliance is correctable within a reasonable period of time.
491 Otherwise, the commissioner shall deny , suspend, or revoke an
492 authorized use for failure to materially comply with the law and
493 rules adopted under this section.
494 4. Shall require compliance by the appropriate party by a
495 date certain for all nonmaterial failures to comply with this
496 section and applicable State Board of Education department
498 5. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section,
499 the commissioner may deny, suspend, or revoke program
500 participation or use of program funds by the student; or
501 participation or eligibility of an organization, eligible
502 private school, eligible postsecondary educational institution,
503 approved provider, or other appropriate party for a violation of
504 this section. The commissioner may determine the length of, and
505 conditions for lifting, the suspension or revocation specified
506 in this paragraph. The length of suspension or revocation may
507 not exceed 5 years, except for instances of fraud, in which case
508 the length of suspension or revocation may not exceed 10 years.
509 The commissioner may employ mechanisms allowed by law to recover
510 unexpended program funds or withhold payment of an equal amount
511 of program funds to recover program funds that were not
512 authorized for use under this section thereafter.
513 6. Shall deny or terminate program participation upon a
514 parent’s forfeiture of a personal learning scholarship account
515 pursuant to subsection (11).
516 (b) In determining whether to deny, suspend, or revoke, or
517 lift a suspension or revocation, in accordance with this
518 subsection, the commissioner may consider factors that include,
519 but are not limited to, acts or omissions that by a
520 participating entity which led to a previous denial, suspension,
521 or revocation of participation in a state or federal program or
522 an education scholarship program; failure to reimburse the
523 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization for program
524 funds improperly received or retained by the entity; failure to
525 reimburse government funds improperly received or retained;
526 imposition of a prior criminal sanction related to the person or
527 entity or its officers or employees; imposition of a civil fine
528 or administrative fine, license revocation or suspension, or
529 program eligibility suspension, termination, or revocation
530 related to a person’s or an entity’s management or operation; or
531 other types of criminal proceedings in which the person or the
532 entity or its officers or employees were found guilty of,
533 regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere
534 or guilty to, any offense involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty,
535 or moral turpitude.
536 (11) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
537 PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
538 under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
539 determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
540 meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
541 student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
542 Level III services. If a parent chooses to request and receive
543 an IEP and a matrix of services from the school district, the
544 amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
545 school district completes the matrix.
546 (a) To satisfy or maintain program eligibility, including,
547 but not limited to, eligibility to receive program payments and
548 expend program payments enroll an eligible student in the
549 program, the parent must sign an agreement with the eligible
550 nonprofit scholarship-fundin g organization and annually submit a
551 notarized, sworn compliance statement to the organization to:
552 1. Affirm that the student is enrolled in a program that
553 meets regular school attendance requirements as provided in s.
555 2. Affirm that Use the program funds are used only for
556 authorized purposes serving the student’s educational needs, as
557 described in subsection (5).
558 3. Affirm that the student takes all appropriate
559 standardized assessments as specified in this section.
560 a. If the parent enrolls the child in an eligible private
561 school, the student must take an assessment selected by the
562 private school pursuant to s. 1002.395(7)(e) or, if requested by
563 the parent, the statewide, standardized assessments pursuant to
564 s. 1002.39(8)(c)2. and (9)(e).
565 b. If the parent enrolls the child in a home education
566 program, the parent may choose to participate in an assessment
567 as part of the annual evaluation provided for in s.
569 4. Notify the school district that the student is
570 participating in the program Personal Learning Scholarship
571 Accounts if the parent chooses to enroll in a home education
572 program as provided in s. 1002.41.
573 5. File a completed application for initial program
574 participation with an organization Request participation in the
575 program by the dates date established pursuant to this section
576 by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
577 6. Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
578 the entities identified in paragraph (5)(d), paragraph (5)(g),
579 or paragraph (5)(h) provider or school if those options are
580 selected by the parent.
581 7. Apply for admission of his or her child if the private
582 school option is selected by the parent.
583 8. Annually file a completed application to renew
584 participation in the program if renewal is desired by the
585 parent. Notwithstanding any changes to the student’s IEP, a
586 student who was previously eligible for participation in the
587 program shall remain eligible to apply for renewal as provided
588 in subsection (6). However, in order for a high-risk child to
589 continue to participate in the program in the school year after
590 he or she reaches 6 years of age, the child’s completed
591 application for renewal of program participation must contain
592 documentation that the child has a disability defined in
593 paragraph (2)(d) other than high-risk status.
594 9. Affirm that the parent is prohibited from transferring
595 and will not transfer any prepaid college plan or college
596 savings plan funds contributed pursuant to paragraph (5)(f) to
597 another beneficiary while the plan contains funds contributed
598 pursuant to this section.
599 10. Affirm that the parent will not take possession of any
600 funding provided by the state for the program Florida Personal
601 Learning Scholarship Accounts.
602 11. Affirm that the parent will maintain a portfolio of
603 records and materials which must be preserved by the parent for
604 2 years and be made available for inspection by the
605 organization, the department, or the district school
606 superintendent or the superintendent’s designee upon 15 days’
607 written notice. This paragraph does not require inspection of
608 the superintendent to inspect the portfolio. The portfolio of
609 records and materials must consist of:
610 a. A log of educational instruction and services which is
611 made contemporaneously with delivery of the instruction and
612 services and which designates by title any reading materials
613 used; and
614 b. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
615 creative materials used or developed by the student; and
616 c. Other records, documents, or materials required by the
617 organization or specified by the department in rule, to
618 facilitate program implementation.
619 (b) The parent is responsible for procuring the services
620 necessary to educate the student. When the student receives a
621 personal learning scholarship account, the district school board
622 is not obligated to provide the student with a free appropriate
623 public education. For purposes of s. 1003.57 and the Individuals
624 with Disabilities in Education Act, a participating student has
625 only those rights that apply to all other unilaterally
626 parentally placed students, except that, when requested by the
627 parent, school district personnel must develop an individual
628 education plan or matrix level of services.
629 (c) The parent is responsible for the payment of all
630 eligible expenses in excess of the amount of the personal
631 learning scholarship account in accordance with the terms agreed
632 to between the parent and the providers.
634 A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
635 personal learning scholarship account.
636 (12) ADMINISTRATION OF PERSONAL LEARNING SCHOLARSHIP
637 ACCOUNTS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
638 participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
639 established under s. 1002.395 may establish personal learning
640 scholarship accounts for eligible students, in accordance with
641 the deadlines established in this section, by:
642 (a) Receiving completed applications and final verification
643 and determining student eligibility in accordance with the
644 requirements of this section. For initial program participation,
645 preference must first be provided to students retained on a wait
646 list created by the organization in the order that completed
647 applications are approved The organization shall notify the
648 department of the applicants for the program by March 1 before
649 the school year in which the student intends to participate.
650 When a completed an application and final verification are is
651 received and approved, the scholarship funding organization must
652 provide the department with information on the student to enable
653 the department to report the student for funding in an amount
654 determined in accordance with subsection (13).
655 (b) Notifying parents of their receipt of a scholarship on
656 a first-come, first-served basis, after approving the completed
657 application and confirming receipt of the parent’s final
658 verification, based upon the funds provided for this program in
659 the General Appropriations Act.
660 (c) Establishing a date pursuant to paragraph (3)(b) by
661 which a parent must confirm initial or continuing participation
662 in the program and confirm the establishment or continuance of a
663 personal learning scholarship account.
664 (d) Establishing a date and process pursuant to paragraph
665 (3)(b) by which completed applications may be approved and
666 students on the wait list or late-filing applicants may be
667 allowed to participate in the program during the school year,
668 within the amount of funds provided for this program in the
669 General Appropriations Act. The process must allow timely filed
670 completed applications to take precedence before late-filed
671 completed applications for purposes of creating a wait list for
672 participation in the program.
673 (e) Establishing and maintaining separate accounts for each
674 eligible student. For each account, the organization must
675 maintain a record of interest accrued that is retained in the
676 student’s account and available only for authorized program
678 (f) Verifying qualifying educational expenditures pursuant
679 to the requirements of subsection (5) paragraph (8)(b).
680 (g) Returning any remaining program unused funds pursuant
681 to paragraph (6)(c) to the department when the student is no
682 longer authorized to expend program funds. The organization may
683 reimburse a parent for authorized program expenditures made
684 during the fiscal year before funds are deposited in the
685 student’s eligible for a personal scholarship learning account.
686 (h) Annually notifying the parent about the availability of
687 and the requirements associated with requesting an initial
688 matrix or matrix reevaluation annually for each student
689 participating in the program.
690 (13) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
691 (a)1. The maximum funding amount granted for an eligible
692 student with a disability, pursuant to this section subsection
693 (3), shall be equivalent to the base student allocation in the
694 Florida Education Finance Program multiplied by the appropriate
695 cost factor for the educational program which would have been
696 provided for the student in the district school to which he or
697 she would have been assigned, multiplied by the district cost
699 2. In addition, an amount equivalent to a share of the
700 guaranteed allocation for exceptional students in the Florida
701 Education Finance Program shall be determined and added to the
702 amount in subparagraph 1. The calculation shall be based on the
703 methodology and the data used to calculate the guaranteed
704 allocation for exceptional students for each district in chapter
705 2000-166, Laws of Florida. Except as provided in subparagraph
706 3., the calculation shall be based on the student’s grade, the
707 matrix level of services, and the difference between the 2000
708 2001 basic program and the appropriate level of services cost
709 factor, multiplied by the 2000-2001 base student allocation and
710 the 2000-2001 district cost differential for the sending
711 district. The calculated amount must also include an amount
712 equivalent to the per-student share of supplemental academic
713 instruction funds, instructional materials funds, technology
714 funds, and other categorical funds as provided in the General
715 Appropriations Act.
716 3. Except as otherwise provided, the calculation for all
717 students participating in the program shall be based on the
718 matrix that assigns the student to support Level III of
719 services. If a parent chooses to request and receive a matrix of
720 services from the school district, when the school district
721 completes the matrix, the amount of the payment shall be
722 adjusted as needed.
723 (b) The amount of the awarded funds shall be 90 percent of
724 the calculated amount. One hundred percent of the funds
725 appropriated for this program shall be released in the first
726 quarter of each fiscal year. Accrued interest is in addition to,
727 and not part of, the awarded funds. Program funds include both
728 the awarded funds and the accrued interest.
729 (c) Upon an eligible student’s graduation from an eligible
730 postsecondary educational institution or after any period of 4
731 consecutive years after high school graduation in which the
732 student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational
733 institution, the student’s personal learning scholarship account
734 shall be closed, and any remaining funds shall revert to the
736 (c) (d) The eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
737 organization shall develop a system for payment of benefits by
738 electronic funds transfer, including, but not limited to, debit
739 cards, electronic payment cards, or any other means of
740 electronic payment that the department deems to be commercially
741 viable or cost-effective. Commodities or services related to the
742 development of such a system shall be procured by competitive
743 solicitation unless they are purchased from a state term
744 contract pursuant to s. 287.056.
745 (d) An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
746 may use up to 3 percent of the total amount of payments received
747 during the state fiscal year for administrative expenses if the
748 organization has operated as an nonprofit scholarship-funding
749 organization for at least 3 fiscal years and did not have any
750 findings of material weakness or material noncompliance in its
751 most recent audit under s. 1002.395(6)(m). Such administrative
752 expenses must be reasonable and necessary for the organization’s
753 management and distribution of scholarships under this section.
754 Funds authorized under this paragraph may not be used for
755 lobbying or political activity or expenses related to lobbying
756 or political activity. If an eligible nonprofit scholarship
757 funding organization charges an application fee for a
758 scholarship, the application fee must be immediately refunded to
759 the person who paid the fee if the student is determined
760 ineligible for the program or placed on a wait list. The
761 administrative fee may not be deducted from any scholarship
762 funds, but may be provided for in the General Appropriations
763 Act. An application fee may not be deducted from any scholarship
765 (e) Moneys received pursuant to this section do not
766 constitute taxable income to the student or parent of the
767 qualified student.
768 (14) OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL.—
769 (a) The Auditor General shall conduct an annual financial
770 and operational audit of accounts and records of each eligible
771 scholarship-funding organization that participates in the
772 program. As part of this audit, the Auditor General shall
773 verify, at a minimum, the total amount of students served and
774 eligibility of reimbursements made by each eligible nonprofit
775 scholarship-funding organization and transmit that information
776 to the department.
777 (b) The Auditor General shall notify the department of any
778 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization that fails
779 to comply with a request for information.
780 (c) The Auditor General shall provide the Commissioner of
781 Education with a copy of each annual operational audit performed
782 pursuant to this subsection within 10 days after each audit is
784 (15) OBLIGATIONS RELATED TO APPROVED PROVIDERS.—The
785 Department of Health, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities,
786 and the Department of Education shall work with an eligible
787 nonprofit scholarship-fundin g organization for easy or automated
788 access to lists of licensed providers of services specified in
789 paragraph (5)(c) to ensure efficient administration of the
791 (16) LIABILITY.—The state is not liable for the award or
792 any use of awarded funds under this section.
793 (17) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—This section does not expand the
794 regulatory authority of this state, its officers, or any school
795 district to impose additional regulation on participating
796 private schools, independent nonpublic postsecondary educational
797 institutions, and private providers beyond those reasonably
798 necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this
800 (18) REPORTS.—The department shall, by February 1 of each
801 year, provide an annual report to the Governor, the President of
802 the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
803 regarding the effectiveness of the Florida Personal Learning
804 Scholarship Accounts Program. The report must address the scope
805 and size of the program, with regard to participation and other
806 related data, and analyze the effectiveness of the program
807 pertaining to cost, education, and therapeutic services.
808 (19) (18) RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt
809 rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this
811 (20) (19) IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE FOR THE 2014-2015 SCHOOL
812 YEAR.—Notwithstanding the provisions of this section related to
813 notification and eligibility timelines, an eligible nonprofit
814 scholarship-funding organization may enroll parents on a rolling
815 schedule on a first-come, first-served basis, within the amount
816 of funds provided in the General Appropriations Act. This
817 subsection is repealed July 1, 2015.
818 Section 2. Paragraph (j) of subsection (6) and paragraphs
819 (a) and (b) of subsection (16) of section 1002.395, Florida
820 Statutes, are amended to read:
821 1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.—
822 (6) OBLIGATIONS OF ELIGIBLE NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING
823 ORGANIZATIONS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
825 (j)1. May use up to 3 percent of eligible contributions
826 received during the state fiscal year in which such
827 contributions are collected for administrative expenses if the
828 organization has operated as an eligible nonprofit scholarship
829 funding organization under this section for at least 3 state
830 fiscal years and did not have any negative financial findings of
831 material weakness or material noncompliance in its most recent
832 audit under paragraph (m). Such administrative expenses must be
833 reasonable and necessary for the organization’s management and
834 distribution of eligible contributions under this section. No
835 funds authorized under this subparagraph shall be used for
836 lobbying or political activity or expenses related to lobbying
837 or political activity. Up to one-third of the funds authorized
838 for administrative expenses under this subparagraph may be used
839 for expenses related to the recruitment of contributions from
840 taxpayers. If an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
841 organization charges an application fee for a scholarship, the
842 application fee must be immediately refunded to the person that
843 paid the fee if the student is not enrolled in a participating
844 school within 12 months.
845 2. Must expend for annual or partial-year scholarships an
846 amount equal to or greater than 75 percent of the net eligible
847 contributions remaining after administrative expenses during the
848 state fiscal year in which such contributions are collected. No
849 more than 25 percent of such net eligible contributions may be
850 carried forward to the following state fiscal year. All amounts
851 carried forward, for audit purposes, must be specifically
852 identified for particular students, by student name and the name
853 of the school to which the student is admitted, subject to the
854 requirements of ss. 1002.22 and 1002.221 and 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g,
855 and the applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant
856 thereto. Any amounts carried forward shall be expended for
857 annual or partial-year scholarships in the following state
858 fiscal year. Net eligible contributions remaining on June 30 of
859 each year that are in excess of the 25 percent that may be
860 carried forward shall be returned to the State Treasury for
861 deposit in the General Revenue Fund.
862 3. Must, before granting a scholarship for an academic
863 year, document each scholarship student’s eligibility for that
864 academic year. A scholarship-funding organization may not grant
865 multiyear scholarships in one approval process.
867 Information and documentation provided to the Department of
868 Education and the Auditor General relating to the identity of a
869 taxpayer that provides an eligible contribution under this
870 section shall remain confidential at all times in accordance
871 with s. 213.053.
872 (16) NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS;
873 APPLICATION.—In order to participate in the scholarship program
874 created under this section, a charitable organization that seeks
875 to be a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must submit
876 an application for initial approval or renewal to the Office of
877 Independent Education and Parental Choice no later than
878 September 1 of each year before the school year for which the
879 organization intends to offer scholarships.
880 (a) An application for initial approval must include:
881 1. A copy of the organization’s incorporation documents and
882 registration with the Division of Corporations of the Department
883 of State.
884 2. A copy of the organization’s Internal Revenue Service
885 determination letter as a s. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit
887 3. A description of the organization’s financial plan that
888 demonstrates sufficient funds to operate throughout the school
890 4. A description of the geographic region that the
891 organization intends to serve and an analysis of the demand and
892 unmet need for eligible students in that area.
893 5. The organization’s organizational chart.
894 6. A description of the criteria and methodology that the
895 organization will use to evaluate scholarship eligibility.
896 7. A description of the application process, including
897 deadlines and any associated fees.
898 8. A description of the deadlines for attendance
899 verification and scholarship payments.
900 9. A copy of the organization’s policies on conflict of
901 interest and whistleblowers.
902 10. A copy of a surety bond or letter of credit in an
903 amount equal to 25 percent of the scholarship funds anticipated
904 for each school year or $100,000, whichever is greater,
905 specifying that any claim against the bond or letter of credit
906 may be made only by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
907 organization to provide scholarships to and on behalf of
908 students who would have had scholarships funded but for the
909 diversion of funds giving rise to the claim against the bond or
910 letter of credit.
911 (b) In addition to the information required by
912 subparagraphs (a)1.-9., an application for renewal must include:
913 1. A surety bond or letter of credit equal to the amount of
914 undisbursed donations held by the organization based on the
915 annual report submitted pursuant to paragraph (6)(m). The amount
916 of the surety bond or letter of credit must be at least
917 $100,000, but not more than $25 million, specifying that any
918 claim against the bond or letter of credit may be made only by
919 an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization to
920 provide scholarships to and on behalf of students who would have
921 had scholarships funded but for the diversion of funds giving
922 rise to the claim against the bond or letter of credit.
923 2. The organization’s completed Internal Revenue Service
924 Form 990 submitted no later than November 30 of the year before
925 the school year that the organization intends to offer the
926 scholarships, notwithstanding the September 1 application
928 3. A copy of the statutorily required audit to the
929 Department of Education and Auditor General.
930 4. An annual report that includes:
931 a. The number of students who completed applications, by
932 county and by grade.
933 b. The number of students who were approved for
934 scholarships, by county and by grade.
935 c. The number of students who received funding for
936 scholarships within each funding category, by county and by
938 d. The amount of funds received, the amount of funds
939 distributed in scholarships, and an accounting of remaining
940 funds and the obligation of those funds.
941 e. A detailed accounting of how the organization spent the
942 administrative funds allowable under paragraph (6)(j).
943 Section 3. Paragraph (z) is added to subsection (4) of
944 section 1009.971, Florida Statutes, to read:
945 1009.971 Florida Prepaid College Board.—
946 (4) FLORIDA PREPAID COLLEGE BOARD; POWERS AND DUTIES.—The
947 board shall have the powers and duties necessary or proper to
948 carry out the provisions of ss. 1009.97-1009.984, including, but
949 not limited to, the power and duty to:
950 (z) Adopt rules governing:
951 1. The purchase and use of a prepaid college plan
952 authorized under s. 1009.98 or a college savings plan authorized
953 under s. 1009.981 for the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship
954 Accounts Program pursuant to ss. 1002.385, 1009.98, and
956 2. The use of a prepaid college plan authorized under s.
957 1009.98 or a college savings plan authorized under s. 1009.981
958 for postsecondary education programs for students with
960 Section 4. Subsection (11) is added to section 1009.98,
961 Florida Statutes, to read:
962 1009.98 Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program.—
963 (11) IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES.—
964 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a
965 prepaid college plan may be purchased, accounted for, used, and
966 terminated as provided in s. 1002.385. By September 1, 2015, the
967 board shall develop procedures, contracts, and any other
968 required forms or documentation necessary to fully implement
969 this subsection. The board shall enter into a contract with an
970 organization pursuant to s. 1002.385 to enable the board to
971 establish mechanisms to implement this subsection, including,
972 but not limited to, identifying the source of funds being
973 deposited into a prepaid college plan. A qualified beneficiary
974 may not be changed while a prepaid college plan contains funds
975 contributed from s. 1002.385.
976 (b) A qualified beneficiary may apply the benefits of an
977 advance payment contract toward the program fees of a program
978 designed for students with disabilities conducted by a state
979 postsecondary institution. A transfer authorized under this
980 subsection may not exceed the redemption value of the advance
981 payment contract at a state postsecondary institution or the
982 number of semester credit hours contracted on behalf of a
983 qualified beneficiary.
984 Section 5. Subsection (10) is added to section 1009.981,
985 Florida Statutes, to read:
986 1009.981 Florida College Savings Program.—
987 (10) IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES.—
988 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a
989 college savings plan may be purchased, accounted for, used, and
990 terminated as provided in s. 1002.385. By September 1, 2015, the
991 board shall develop procedures, contracts, and any other
992 required forms or documentation necessary to fully implement
993 this subsection. The board shall enter into a contract with an
994 organization pursuant to s. 1002.385 to enable the board to
995 establish mechanisms to implement this subsection, including,
996 but not limited to, identifying the source of funds being
997 deposited into a college savings plan. A designated beneficiary
998 may not be changed while a college savings plan contains funds
999 contributed from s. 1002.385.
1000 (b) A designated beneficiary may apply the benefits of a
1001 participation agreement toward the program fees of a program
1002 designed for students with disabilities conducted by a state
1003 postsecondary institution.
1004 Section 6. The Department of Education shall adopt rules to
1005 implement s. 1002.385, Florida Statutes.
1006 (1) Such rules must be effective by August 1, 2015, and
1007 must include, but need not be limited to:
1008 (a) Establishing procedures concerning the student,
1009 organization, eligible private school, eligible postsecondary
1010 educational institution, or other appropriate party to
1011 participate in the program, including approval, suspension, and
1012 termination of eligibility;
1013 (b) Establishing uniform forms for use by organizations for
1014 parents and students;
1015 (c) Approving providers pertaining to the Florida K-20
1016 Education Code;
1017 (d) Incorporating program participation in existing private
1018 school scholarship program applications, including, but not
1019 limited to, ensuring that the process for obtaining eligibility
1020 under s. 1002.385, Florida Statutes, is as administratively
1021 convenient as possible for a private school;
1022 (e) Establishing a matrix of services calculations and
1023 timelines, so that the initial and revised matrix is completed
1024 by a school district in time to be included in the completed
1026 (f) Establishing a deadline for an organization to provide
1027 annual notice of the ability for a parent to request an initial
1028 or revised matrix of services, which must enable the initial or
1029 revised matrix to be included in the completed application;
1030 (g) Establishing additional records, documents, or
1031 materials a parent must collect and retain in the student’s
1033 (h) Establishing preliminary timelines and procedures that
1034 enable a parent to submit a completed application to the
1035 organization, and for the organization to review and approve the
1036 completed application; and
1037 (i) Defining terms, including, but not limited to, the
1038 terms “participating student,” “new student,” “eligible
1039 student,” “award letter,” “program funds,” “associated
1040 interest,” “program payments,” “program expenditures,” “initial
1041 program participation,” “program renewal,” “wait list,” “timely
1042 filed application,” and “late-filed application.”
1043 (2) Such rules should maximize flexibility and ease of
1044 program use for the parent and student.
1045 Section 7. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.