Florida Senate - 2015                              CS for SB 888
       By the Committee on Fiscal Policy; and Senator Detert
       594-04416-15                                           2015888c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to education; amending s. 39.202,
    3         F.S.; authorizing certain employees or agents of the
    4         Department of Education to have access to certain
    5         reports and records; amending s. 1011.62, F.S.;
    6         requiring a school district to add additional points
    7         to the calculation of a matrix of services for certain
    8         students beginning in a specified school year;
    9         amending s. 1012.39, F.S.; providing requirements
   10         regarding liability insurance for students
   11         participating in clinical field experience; amending
   12         s. 1012.75, F.S.; requiring the department to
   13         establish an educator liability insurance program;
   14         specifying program administration and eligibility
   15         requirements; amending s. 1012.79, F.S.; revising the
   16         membership of the Education Practices Commission;
   17         authorizing the Commissioner of Education to appoint
   18         emeritus members to the commission; amending s.
   19         1012.796, F.S.; authorizing the commissioner to issue
   20         a letter of guidance in response to a complaint
   21         against a teacher or administrator in lieu of a
   22         probable cause determination; providing an effective
   23         date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. Present paragraphs (q) through (s) of subsection
   28  (2) of section 39.202, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
   29  paragraphs (r) through (t), respectively, and a new paragraph
   30  (q) is added to that subsection, to read:
   31         39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
   32  child abuse or neglect.—
   33         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
   34  records, excluding the name of the reporter which shall be
   35  released only as provided in subsection (5), shall be granted
   36  only to the following persons, officials, and agencies:
   37         (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who
   38  is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of
   39  misconduct by a certified educator.
   40         Section 2. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section
   41  1011.62, Florida Statutes, is amended to read
   42         1011.62 Funds for operation of schools.—If the annual
   43  allocation from the Florida Education Finance Program to each
   44  district for operation of schools is not determined in the
   45  annual appropriations act or the substantive bill implementing
   46  the annual appropriations act, it shall be determined as
   47  follows:
   49  OPERATION.—The following procedure shall be followed in
   50  determining the annual allocation to each district for
   51  operation:
   52         (e) Funding model for exceptional student education
   53  programs.—
   54         1.a. The funding model uses basic, at-risk, support levels
   55  IV and V for exceptional students and career Florida Education
   56  Finance Program cost factors, and a guaranteed allocation for
   57  exceptional student education programs. Exceptional education
   58  cost factors are determined by using a matrix of services to
   59  document the services that each exceptional student will
   60  receive. The nature and intensity of the services indicated on
   61  the matrix shall be consistent with the services described in
   62  each exceptional student’s individual educational plan. The
   63  Department of Education shall review and revise the descriptions
   64  of the services and supports included in the matrix of services
   65  for exceptional students and shall implement those revisions
   66  before the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. Beginning
   67  with the 2016-2017 school year, a school district shall add
   68  three special consideration points to the calculation of a
   69  matrix of services for a student who is deaf and enrolled in an
   70  auditory-oral education program as defined in s. 1002.391.
   71         b. In order to generate funds using one of the two weighted
   72  cost factors, a matrix of services must be completed at the time
   73  of the student’s initial placement into an exceptional student
   74  education program and at least once every 3 years by personnel
   75  who have received approved training. Nothing listed in the
   76  matrix shall be construed as limiting the services a school
   77  district must provide in order to ensure that exceptional
   78  students are provided a free, appropriate public education.
   79         c. Students identified as exceptional, in accordance with
   80  chapter 6A-6, Florida Administrative Code, who do not have a
   81  matrix of services as specified in sub-subparagraph b. shall
   82  generate funds on the basis of full-time-equivalent student
   83  membership in the Florida Education Finance Program at the same
   84  funding level per student as provided for basic students.
   85  Additional funds for these exceptional students will be provided
   86  through the guaranteed allocation designated in subparagraph 2.
   87         2. For students identified as exceptional who do not have a
   88  matrix of services and students who are gifted in grades K
   89  through 8, there is created a guaranteed allocation to provide
   90  these students with a free appropriate public education, in
   91  accordance with s. 1001.42(4)(l) and rules of the State Board of
   92  Education, which shall be allocated annually to each school
   93  district in the amount provided in the General Appropriations
   94  Act. These funds shall be in addition to the funds appropriated
   95  on the basis of FTE student membership in the Florida Education
   96  Finance Program, and the amount allocated for each school
   97  district shall not be recalculated during the year. These funds
   98  shall be used to provide special education and related services
   99  for exceptional students and students who are gifted in grades K
  100  through 8. Beginning with the 2007-2008 fiscal year, a
  101  district’s expenditure of funds from the guaranteed allocation
  102  for students in grades 9 through 12 who are gifted may not be
  103  greater than the amount expended during the 2006-2007 fiscal
  104  year for gifted students in grades 9 through 12.
  105         Section 3. Subsection (3) of section 1012.39, Florida
  106  Statutes, is amended to read:
  107         1012.39 Employment of substitute teachers, teachers of
  108  adult education, nondegreed teachers of career education, and
  109  career specialists; students performing clinical field
  110  experience.—
  111         (3) A student who is enrolled in a state-approved teacher
  112  preparation program in a postsecondary educational institution
  113  that is approved by rules of the State Board of Education and
  114  who is jointly assigned by the postsecondary educational
  115  institution and a district school board to perform a clinical
  116  field experience under the direction of a regularly employed and
  117  certified educator shall, while serving such supervised clinical
  118  field experience, be accorded the same protection of law as that
  119  accorded to the certified educator except for the right to
  120  bargain collectively as an employee of the district school
  121  board. The district school board providing the clinical field
  122  experience shall notify the student electronically or in writing
  123  regarding the availability of educator liability insurance under
  124  s. 1012.75. A postsecondary educational institution or district
  125  school board may not require a student enrolled in a state
  126  approved teacher preparation program to purchase liability
  127  insurance as a condition of participation in any clinical field
  128  experience or related activity on the premises of an elementary
  129  or secondary school.
  130         Section 4. Section 1012.75, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  131  read:
  132         1012.75 Liability of teacher or principal; excessive
  133  force.—
  134         (1) Except in the case of excessive force or cruel and
  135  unusual punishment, a teacher or other member of the
  136  instructional staff, a principal or the principal’s designated
  137  representative, or a bus driver shall not be civilly or
  138  criminally liable for any action carried out in conformity with
  139  State Board of Education and district school board rules
  140  regarding the control, discipline, suspension, and expulsion of
  141  students, including, but not limited to, any exercise of
  142  authority under s. 1003.32 or s. 1006.09.
  143         (2) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules that
  144  outline administrative standards for the use of reasonable force
  145  by school personnel to maintain a safe and orderly learning
  146  environment. Such standards shall be distributed to each school
  147  in the state and shall provide guidance to school personnel in
  148  receiving the limitations on liability specified in this
  149  section.
  150         (3) Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, the
  151  Department of Education shall administer an educator liability
  152  insurance program, as provided in the General Appropriations
  153  Act, to protect full-time instructional personnel, as defined by
  154  the district school board, from liability for monetary damages
  155  and the cost of defense of actions resulting from claims made
  156  against them arising out of occurrences in the course of
  157  activities in their professional capacity. For purposes of this
  158  subsection, the term “instructional personnel” has the same
  159  meaning as in s. 1012.01(2).
  160         (a) Liability coverage in an amount not less than $2
  161  million must be provided to all full-time instructional
  162  personnel, as defined by the district school board. Liability
  163  coverage may be provided at cost to the following individuals
  164  who choose to participate in the program: part-time
  165  instructional personnel, as defined by the district school
  166  board; administrative personnel, as defined by the district
  167  school board; and students, as described in s. 1012.39(3).
  168         (b) Each district school board shall annually notify
  169  personnel specified in paragraph (a) regarding the liability
  170  coverage provided pursuant to this section by August 1. The
  171  department shall develop the form of the notice to be used by
  172  each district school board. The notice shall be on an 8 1/2 by 5
  173  1/2-inch postcard and include the amount of coverage, a general
  174  description of the nature of the coverage, and the contact
  175  information for coverage and claims questions. The notification
  176  must be provided separately from any other correspondence. Each
  177  district school board shall certify to the department by August
  178  5 of each year that the notification required by this subsection
  179  has been provided.
  180         (c) The department shall consult with the Department of
  181  Financial Services to select the most economically prudent and
  182  cost-effective means of implementing the program through self
  183  insurance, a risk management program, or competitive
  184  procurement.
  185         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 1012.79, Florida
  186  Statutes, is amended to read:
  187         1012.79 Education Practices Commission; organization.—
  188         (1) The Education Practices Commission is composed consists
  189  of the following 25 members: 10, including 8 teachers; 5
  190  administrators, at least one of whom represents shall represent
  191  a private or virtual school; 4 7 lay citizens who are, 5 of whom
  192  shall be parents of public school students and who are unrelated
  193  to public school employees; and 2 of whom shall be former
  194  charter school governing board or district school board members
  195  or former superintendents, assistant superintendents, or deputy
  196  superintendents; and 4 5 sworn law enforcement officials,
  197  appointed by the State Board of Education from nominations by
  198  the Commissioner of Education and subject to Senate
  199  confirmation. Prior to making nominations, the commissioner
  200  shall consult with teaching associations, parent organizations,
  201  law enforcement agencies, and other involved associations in the
  202  state. In making nominations, the commissioner shall attempt to
  203  achieve equal geographical representation, as closely as
  204  possible.
  205         (a) A teacher member, in order to be qualified for
  206  appointment:
  207         1. Must be certified to teach in the state.
  208         2. Must be a resident of the state.
  209         3. Must have practiced the profession in this state for at
  210  least 5 years immediately preceding the appointment.
  211         (b) A school administrator member, in order to be qualified
  212  for appointment:
  213         1. Must have an endorsement on the educator certificate in
  214  the area of school administration or supervision.
  215         2. Must be a resident of the state.
  216         3. Must have practiced the profession as an administrator
  217  for at least 5 years immediately preceding the appointment.
  218         (c) All The lay members must be residents of the state.
  219         (d) The law enforcement official members must have served
  220  in the profession for at least 5 years immediately preceding
  221  appointment and have background expertise in child safety.
  222         (e) The commissioner, upon request or recommendation from
  223  the commission, may also appoint up to 5 emeritus members from
  224  the commission’s prior membership to serve 1-year terms.
  225  Notwithstanding any prior service on the commission, an emeritus
  226  member may serve up to five 1-year terms. An emeritus member
  227  serves as a voting member at a discipline hearing and as a
  228  consulting but nonvoting member during a business meeting.
  229         Section 6. Subsection (3) of section 1012.796, Florida
  230  Statutes, is amended to read:
  231         1012.796 Complaints against teachers and administrators;
  232  procedure; penalties.—
  233         (3) The department staff shall advise the commissioner
  234  concerning the findings of the investigation. The department
  235  general counsel or members of that staff shall review the
  236  investigation and advise the commissioner concerning probable
  237  cause or lack thereof. The determination of probable cause shall
  238  be made by the commissioner. The commissioner shall provide an
  239  opportunity for a conference, if requested, prior to determining
  240  probable cause. The commissioner may enter into deferred
  241  prosecution agreements in lieu of finding probable cause if, in
  242  his or her judgment, such agreements are in the best interests
  243  of the department, the certificateholder, and the public. Such
  244  deferred prosecution agreements shall become effective when
  245  filed with the clerk of the Education Practices Commission.
  246  However, a deferred prosecution agreement may shall not be
  247  entered into if there is probable cause to believe that a felony
  248  or an act of moral turpitude, as defined by rule of the State
  249  Board of Education, has occurred. Upon finding no probable
  250  cause, the commissioner shall dismiss the complaint. In lieu of
  251  a finding of probable cause, the commissioner may also issue a
  252  letter of guidance to the educator.
  253         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.