Florida Senate - 2018                                    SB 1614
       By Senator Hukill
       14-00942A-18                                          20181614__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to education; amending s. 1002.421,
    3         F.S.; requiring the Department of Education to suspend
    4         specified payments to private schools that fail,
    5         rather than knowingly fail, to meet certain
    6         scholarship program accountability standards;
    7         providing that the failure of, rather than the
    8         inability of, private schools to meet such standards
    9         constitutes the basis for ineligibility for
   10         participation in a scholarship program; providing an
   11         effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Subsections (4) and (5) of section 1002.421,
   16  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   17         1002.421 Accountability of private schools participating in
   18  state school choice scholarship programs.—
   19         (4) A private school that accepts scholarship students
   20  under s. 1002.39 or s. 1002.395 must:
   21         (a) Disqualify instructional personnel and school
   22  administrators, as defined in s. 1012.01, from employment in any
   23  position that requires direct contact with students if the
   24  personnel or administrators are ineligible for such employment
   25  under s. 1012.315.
   26         (b) Adopt policies establishing standards of ethical
   27  conduct for instructional personnel and school administrators.
   28  The policies must require all instructional personnel and school
   29  administrators, as defined in s. 1012.01, to complete training
   30  on the standards; establish the duty of instructional personnel
   31  and school administrators to report, and procedures for
   32  reporting, alleged misconduct by other instructional personnel
   33  and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or
   34  welfare of a student; and include an explanation of the
   35  liability protections provided under ss. 39.203 and 768.095. A
   36  private school, or any of its employees, may not enter into a
   37  confidentiality agreement regarding terminated or dismissed
   38  instructional personnel or school administrators, or personnel
   39  or administrators who resign in lieu of termination, based in
   40  whole or in part on misconduct that affects the health, safety,
   41  or welfare of a student, and may not provide the instructional
   42  personnel or school administrators with employment references or
   43  discuss the personnel’s or administrators’ performance with
   44  prospective employers in another educational setting, without
   45  disclosing the personnel’s or administrators’ misconduct. Any
   46  part of an agreement or contract that has the purpose or effect
   47  of concealing misconduct by instructional personnel or school
   48  administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a
   49  student is void, is contrary to public policy, and may not be
   50  enforced.
   51         (c) Before employing instructional personnel or school
   52  administrators in any position that requires direct contact with
   53  students, conduct employment history checks of each of the
   54  personnel’s or administrators’ previous employers, screen the
   55  personnel or administrators through use of the educator
   56  screening tools described in s. 1001.10(5), and document the
   57  findings. If unable to contact a previous employer, the private
   58  school must document efforts to contact the employer.
   60  The department shall suspend the payment of funds under ss.
   61  1002.39 and 1002.395 to a private school that knowingly fails to
   62  comply with this subsection, and shall prohibit the school from
   63  enrolling new scholarship students, for 1 fiscal year and until
   64  the school complies.
   65         (5) The failure inability of a private school to meet the
   66  requirements of this section shall constitute a basis for the
   67  ineligibility of the private school to participate in a
   68  scholarship program as determined by the department.
   69         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.