Florida Senate - 2017                             CS for SB 1314
       By the Committee on Education; and Senator Grimsley
       581-03341-17                                          20171314c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to educational options; amending s.
    3         1002.395, F.S.; specifying the Department of
    4         Education’s duty to approve or deny an application for
    5         the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program within a
    6         specified time; specifying the department’s duties
    7         regarding the carryforward tax credit; requiring an
    8         eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization to
    9         allow certain dependent children to apply for a
   10         scholarship at any time; revising parent and student
   11         responsibilities for program participation; revising
   12         the date upon which certain private schools must
   13         submit a required report; specifying that certain
   14         actions of the private school are a basis for program
   15         ineligibility; authorizing the Learning Systems
   16         Institute to receive compensation for research under
   17         certain circumstances; revising the calculation of a
   18         scholarship award; increasing the limit of a
   19         scholarship award for certain students; revising
   20         payment method options; amending s. 1012.98, F.S.;
   21         authorizing specified eligible nonprofit scholarship
   22         funding organizations to develop a professional
   23         development system; providing an effective date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section
   28  1002.395, Florida Statutes, is amended, present paragraph (f) of
   29  that subsection is redesignated as paragraph (g) and a new
   30  paragraph (f) is added to that subsection, and paragraph (h) of
   31  subsection (6), paragraph (f) of subsection (7), subsection (8),
   32  paragraph (j) of subsection (9), and paragraphs (a) and (b) of
   33  subsection (12) of that section are amended, to read:
   34         1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.—
   36         (b) A taxpayer may submit an application to the department
   37  for a tax credit or credits under one or more of s. 211.0251, s.
   38  212.1831, s. 220.1875, s. 561.1211, or s. 624.51055.
   39         1. The taxpayer shall specify in the application each tax
   40  for which the taxpayer requests a credit and the applicable
   41  taxable year for a credit under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055 or
   42  the applicable state fiscal year for a credit under s. 211.0251,
   43  s. 212.1831, or s. 561.1211. The department shall approve tax
   44  credits on a first-come, first-served basis and must obtain the
   45  division’s approval before approving a tax credit under s.
   46  561.1211.
   47         2. Within 10 days after approving or denying an
   48  application, the department shall provide a copy of its approval
   49  or denial letter to the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
   50  organization specified by the taxpayer in the application.
   51         (f) Within 10 days after approving or denying an
   52  application for a carryforward tax credit under paragraph (c),
   53  the conveyance, transfer, or assignment of a tax credit under
   54  paragraph (d), or the rescindment of a tax credit under
   55  paragraph (e), the department shall provide a copy of its
   56  approval or denial letter to the eligible nonprofit scholarship
   57  funding organization specified by the taxpayer in the
   58  application. The department shall also include the eligible
   59  nonprofit scholarship-funding organization specified by the
   60  taxpayer in the application on all letters or correspondence of
   61  acknowledgment for tax credits under s. 212.1831.
   63  ORGANIZATIONS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
   64  organization:
   65         (h) Must allow a student in foster care, or out-of-home
   66  care, or who is a dependent child of a parent or guardian who is
   67  a member of the United States Armed Forces, to apply for a
   68  scholarship at any time.
   70  Information and documentation provided to the Department of
   71  Education and the Auditor General relating to the identity of a
   72  taxpayer that provides an eligible contribution under this
   73  section shall remain confidential at all times in accordance
   74  with s. 213.053.
   77         (f) Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant from the eligible
   78  nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, the parent to whom
   79  the warrant is made must restrictively endorse the warrant to
   80  the private school for deposit into the account of the private
   81  school. If payments are made by funds transfer, the parent must
   82  approve each payment before the scholarship funds may be
   83  deposited. The parent may not designate any entity or individual
   84  associated with the participating private school as the parent’s
   85  attorney in fact to endorse a scholarship warrant or approve a
   86  funds transfer. A participant who fails to comply with this
   87  paragraph forfeits the scholarship.
   89  private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and must:
   90         (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools
   91  participating in state school choice scholarship programs
   92  pursuant to s. 1002.421.
   93         (b) Provide to the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
   94  organization, upon request, all documentation required for the
   95  student’s participation, including the private school’s and
   96  student’s fee schedules.
   97         (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
   98  the educational needs of the student by:
   99         1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
  100  explanation of the student’s progress.
  101         2. Annually administering or making provision for students
  102  participating in the scholarship program in grades 3 through 10
  103  to take one of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified
  104  by the Department of Education or the statewide assessments
  105  pursuant to s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom
  106  standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this
  107  requirement. A participating private school must report a
  108  student’s scores to the parent. A participating private school
  109  must annually report by August 15 the scores of all
  110  participating students to the Learning System Institute
  111  described in paragraph (9)(j).
  112         3. Cooperating with the scholarship student whose parent
  113  chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
  114  assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 or, if a private school
  115  chooses to offer the statewide assessments, administering the
  116  assessments at the school.
  117         a. A participating private school may choose to offer and
  118  administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend
  119  the private school in grades 3 through 10.
  120         b. A participating private school must submit a request in
  121  writing to the Department of Education by March 1 of each year
  122  in order to administer the statewide assessments in the
  123  subsequent school year.
  124         (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
  125  direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
  126  this section at the school’s physical location.
  127         (e) Annually contract with an independent certified public
  128  accountant to perform the agreed-upon procedures developed under
  129  paragraph (6)(o) and produce a report of the results if the
  130  private school receives more than $250,000 in funds from
  131  scholarships awarded under this section in the 2010-2011 state
  132  fiscal year or a state fiscal year thereafter. A private school
  133  subject to this paragraph must submit the report by each August
  134  15 by September 15, 2011, and annually thereafter to the
  135  scholarship-funding organization that awarded the majority of
  136  the school’s scholarship funds. The agreed-upon procedures must
  137  be conducted in accordance with attestation standards
  138  established by the American Institute of Certified Public
  139  Accountants.
  141  If The inability of a private school is unable to meet the
  142  requirements of this subsection or has consecutive years of
  143  material exceptions listed in the report required under
  144  paragraph (e), the commissioner may determine that shall
  145  constitute a basis for the ineligibility of the private school
  146  is ineligible to participate in the scholarship program as
  147  determined by the Department of Education.
  148         (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of
  149  Education shall:
  150         (j) Issue a project grant award to the Learning System
  151  Institute at the Florida State University, to which
  152  participating private schools must report the scores of
  153  participating students on the nationally norm-referenced tests
  154  or the statewide assessments administered by the private school
  155  in grades 3 through 10. The project term is 2 years, and the
  156  amount of the project is up to $500,000 per year. The Learning
  157  Systems Institute may be compensated for additional research as
  158  determined through the project grant award process. The project
  159  grant award must be reissued in 2-year intervals in accordance
  160  with this paragraph.
  161         1. The Learning System Institute must annually report to
  162  the Department of Education on the student performance of
  163  participating students and any additional research included in
  164  the project grant award issued by the Department of Education:
  165         a. On a statewide basis. The report shall also include, to
  166  the extent possible, a comparison of scholarship students’
  167  performance to the statewide student performance of public
  168  school students with socioeconomic backgrounds similar to those
  169  of students participating in the scholarship program. To
  170  minimize costs and reduce time required for the Learning System
  171  Institute’s analysis and evaluation, the Department of Education
  172  shall coordinate with the Learning System Institute to provide
  173  data to the Learning System Institute in order to conduct
  174  analyses of matched students from public school assessment data
  175  and calculate control group student performance using an agreed
  176  upon methodology with the Learning System Institute; and
  177         b. On an individual school basis. The annual report must
  178  include student performance for each participating private
  179  school in which at least 51 percent of the total enrolled
  180  students in the private school participated in the Florida Tax
  181  Credit Scholarship Program in the prior school year. The report
  182  shall be according to each participating private school, and for
  183  participating students, in which there are at least 30
  184  participating students who have scores for tests administered.
  185  If the Learning System Institute determines that the 30
  186  participating-student cell size may be reduced without
  187  disclosing personally identifiable information, as described in
  188  34 C.F.R. s. 99.12, of a participating student, the Learning
  189  System Institute may reduce the participating-student cell size,
  190  but the cell size must not be reduced to less than 10
  191  participating students. The department shall provide each
  192  private school’s prior school year’s student enrollment
  193  information to the Learning System Institute no later than June
  194  15 of each year, or as requested by the Learning System
  195  Institute.
  196         2. The sharing and reporting of student performance data
  197  under this paragraph must be in accordance with requirements of
  198  ss. 1002.22 and 1002.221 and 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, the Family
  199  Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the applicable rules and
  200  regulations issued pursuant thereto, and shall be for the sole
  201  purpose of research and creating the annual report required by
  202  subparagraph 1. All parties must preserve the confidentiality of
  203  such information as required by law. The annual report must not
  204  disaggregate data to a level that will identify individual
  205  participating schools, except as required under sub-subparagraph
  206  1.b., or disclose the academic level of individual students.
  207         3. The annual report required by subparagraph 1. shall be
  208  published by the Department of Education on its website.
  210         (a) Except as provided in subparagraph 2., the amount of a
  211  scholarship provided to any student for any single school year
  212  by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization from
  213  eligible contributions shall be for total costs authorized under
  214  paragraph (6)(d), not to exceed annual limits, which shall be
  215  determined as follows:
  216         1.a. For a scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in an
  217  eligible private school, the limit shall be determined as a
  218  percentage by multiplying the unweighted FTE funding amount in
  219  that state fiscal year by the percentage used to determine the
  220  limit in the prior state fiscal year. However, in each state
  221  fiscal year that the tax credit cap amount increases pursuant to
  222  paragraph (5)(a), the prior year percentage shall be increased
  223  by 4 percentage points and the increased percentage shall be
  224  used to determine the limit for that state fiscal year. If the
  225  percentage so calculated reaches 80 percent in a state fiscal
  226  year, no further increase in the percentage is allowed and the
  227  limit shall be 80 percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount
  228  for that state fiscal year and thereafter. Beginning in the
  229  2016-2017 state fiscal year, the amount of a scholarship awarded
  230  to a student enrolled in an eligible private school shall be
  231  equal to 82 percent of the unweighted FTE funding amount for
  232  that state fiscal year and thereafter as follows:
  233         (I) Eighty-eight percent for a student enrolled in
  234  kindergarten through grade 5.
  235         (II) Ninety-two percent for a student enrolled in grade 6,
  236  grade 7, or grade 8.
  237         (III) Ninety-six percent for a student enrolled in grades 9
  238  through 12.
  239         b. For a scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in a
  240  Florida public school that is located outside the district in
  241  which the student resides or in a lab school as defined in s.
  242  1002.32, the limit shall be $750 $500.
  243         2. The annual limit for a scholarship under sub
  244  subparagraph 1.a. shall be reduced by:
  245         a. Twenty-five percent if the student’s household income
  246  level is equal to or greater than 200 percent, but less than 215
  247  percent, of the federal poverty level.
  248         b. Fifty percent if the student’s household income level is
  249  equal to or greater than 215 percent, but equal to or less than
  250  230 percent, of the federal poverty level.
  251         3. For the 2016-2017 state fiscal year and thereafter, the
  252  annual limit for a scholarship under sub-subparagraph 1.a. shall
  253  be reduced by:
  254         a. Twelve percent if the student’s household income level
  255  is greater than or equal to 200 percent, but less than 215
  256  percent, of the federal poverty level.
  257         b. Twenty-six percent if the student’s household income
  258  level is greater than or equal to 215 percent, but less than 230
  259  percent, of the federal poverty level.
  260         c. Forty percent if the student’s household income level is
  261  greater than or equal to 230 percent, but less than 245 percent,
  262  of the federal poverty level.
  263         d. Fifty percent if the student’s household income level is
  264  greater than or equal to 245 percent, but less than or equal to
  265  260 percent, of the federal poverty level.
  266         (b) Payment of the scholarship by the eligible nonprofit
  267  scholarship-funding organization shall be by individual warrant
  268  made payable to the student’s parent or by funds transfer,
  269  including, but not limited to, debit card, electronic payment
  270  card, or any other means of payment that the department deems to
  271  be commercially viable or cost-effective. A student’s
  272  scholarship award may not be reduced for debit card or
  273  electronic payment fees. If the payment is made by warrant
  274  parent chooses that his or her child attend an eligible private
  275  school, the warrant must be delivered by the eligible nonprofit
  276  scholarship-funding organization to the private school of the
  277  parent’s choice, and the parent shall restrictively endorse the
  278  warrant to the private school. An eligible nonprofit
  279  scholarship-funding organization shall ensure that the parent to
  280  whom the warrant is made restrictively endorsed the warrant to
  281  the private school for deposit into the account of the private
  282  school or that the parent has approved a funds transfer before
  283  any scholarship funds are deposited.
  284         Section 2. Subsection (6) of section 1012.98, Florida
  285  Statutes, is amended to read:
  286         1012.98 School Community Professional Development Act.—
  287         (6) An organization of private schools or consortium of
  288  charter schools which has no fewer than 10 member schools in
  289  this state, or an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
  290  organization as defined in s. 1002.395, which publishes and
  291  files with the Department of Education copies of its standards,
  292  and the member schools of which comply with the provisions of
  293  part II of chapter 1003, relating to compulsory school
  294  attendance, may also develop a professional development system
  295  that includes a master plan for inservice activities. The system
  296  and inservice plan must be submitted to the commissioner for
  297  approval pursuant to state board rules.
  298         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.