Florida Senate - 2016                              CS for SB 978
       By the Committee on Education Pre-K - 12; and Senator Legg
       581-02366-16                                           2016978c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public school teachers; creating s.
    3         1012.731, F.S.; providing legislative intent; defining
    4         the term “school district”; establishing the Florida
    5         Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program;
    6         providing eligibility criteria; requiring a school
    7         district to annually submit the number of eligible
    8         teachers to the Department of Education; providing for
    9         funding and disbursement of funds; providing an
   10         effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Section 1012.731, Florida Statutes, is created
   15  to read:
   16         1012.731 The Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship
   17  Program.—
   18         (1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—The Legislature recognizes that
   19  teachers play a critical role in preparing students to achieve a
   20  high level of academic performance. The Legislature further
   21  recognizes that research has linked student performance to a
   22  teacher’s own academic achievements. Therefore, it is the intent
   23  of the Legislature to designate teachers who have achieved high
   24  academic standards during their own education as Florida’s Best
   25  and Brightest Teacher scholars.
   26         (2) DEFINITION.—For purposes of this section, the term
   27  “school district” includes the Florida School for the Deaf and
   28  the Blind and a charter school governing board.
   29         (3) PROGRAM.—There is created the Florida Best and
   30  Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program to be administered by the
   31  Department of Education. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year,
   32  the scholarship program shall provide categorical funding for
   33  scholarships to be awarded to teachers who have demonstrated a
   34  high level of academic achievement.
   36         (a) To be eligible for a Florida Best and Brightest Teacher
   37  scholarship, a teacher must have completed his or her second
   38  year of teaching; must have scored at or above the 60th
   39  percentile on the SAT or the ACT, based upon the percentile
   40  ranks in effect when the teacher took the assessment; and must
   41  have been evaluated as highly effective pursuant to s. 1012.34.
   42         (b) In order to demonstrate eligibility for an award, a
   43  teacher must submit to the school district no later than October
   44  1 an official record of his or her SAT or ACT score
   45  demonstrating that he or she scored at or above the 60th
   46  percentile, based upon the percentile ranks in effect when he or
   47  she took the assessment. If a teacher is deemed eligible by the
   48  school district, the teacher will remain eligible as long as he
   49  or she is employed by the school district and maintains the
   50  highly effective level pursuant to s. 1012.34.
   52  FUNDS.—
   53         (a) By December 1 of each year, each school district shall
   54  submit to the department the number of eligible teachers who
   55  qualify for the scholarship.
   56         (b) By February 1 of each year, the department shall
   57  disburse scholarship funds, in an amount prescribed by the
   58  Legislature in the General Appropriations Act, to each school
   59  district for eligible teachers to receive a scholarship. If the
   60  number of eligible teachers exceeds the total appropriation
   61  authorized in the General Appropriation Act, the department
   62  shall prorate the per-teacher scholarship amount.
   63         (c) By April 1 of each year, each school district shall
   64  provide payment of the scholarship to each eligible teacher.
   65         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.