Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 732
       By Senator Baxley
       12-00519B-18                                           2018732__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to home education; amending s.
    3         1002.41, F.S.; specifying that a home education
    4         program is not a school district program and is
    5         registered with the district school superintendent
    6         only for the purpose of complying with the state’s
    7         attendance requirements; revising the content
    8         requirements of a notice of enrollment of a student in
    9         a home education program; requiring the district
   10         school superintendent to immediately register a home
   11         education program upon receipt of the notice;
   12         prohibiting a school district from requiring
   13         additional information or verification of a home
   14         education student except in specified circumstances;
   15         authorizing a school district to provide home
   16         education program students with access to certain
   17         courses and programs offered by the school district;
   18         requiring reporting and funding through the Florida
   19         Education Finance Program; requiring home education
   20         program students be provided access to certain
   21         certifications and assessments offered by the school
   22         district; prohibiting a school district from taking
   23         certain actions against a home education program
   24         student’s parent unless such action is necessary for a
   25         school district program; amending s. 1003.21, F.S.;
   26         prohibiting a district school superintendent from
   27         requiring certain evidence relating to a child’s age
   28         from children enrolled in specified schools and
   29         programs; amending s. 1003.26, F.S.; revising
   30         reporting requirements for specified issues relating
   31         to compulsory school attendance; amending s. 1003.27,
   32         F.S.; requiring a school and school district to comply
   33         with specified provisions before instituting criminal
   34         prosecution against certain parents relating to
   35         compulsory school attendance; amending s. 1006.15,
   36         F.S.; revising the standards required for a home
   37         education student to participate in extracurricular
   38         activities; amending s. 1007.271, F.S.; prohibiting
   39         dual enrollment course and program limitations for
   40         home education students from exceeding limitations for
   41         other students; providing an exemption from the grade
   42         point average requirement for initial enrollment in a
   43         dual enrollment program for certain home education
   44         students; amending s. 1002.385, F.S.; conforming
   45         cross-references; providing an effective date.
   47  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   49         Section 1. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 1002.41,
   50  Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsections (11), (12), and
   51  (13) are added to that section, to read:
   52         1002.41 Home education programs.—
   53         (1) As used in this section, the term A “home education
   54  program” has the same meaning as is defined in s. 1002.01. A
   55  home education program is not a school district program and is
   56  registered with the district school superintendent only for the
   57  purpose of complying with the state’s attendance requirements
   58  under s. 1003.21(1). The parent is not required to hold a valid
   59  regular Florida teaching certificate.
   60         (a) The parent, as defined in s. 1000.21, who establishes
   61  and maintains a home education program shall notify the district
   62  school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides
   63  of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education
   64  program. The notice must shall be in writing, signed by the
   65  parent, and shall include the full legal names, addresses, and
   66  birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in
   67  the home education program. The notice must shall be filed in
   68  the district school superintendent’s office within 30 days of
   69  the establishment of the home education program.
   70         (b)The district school superintendent shall accept the
   71  notice and immediately register the home education program upon
   72  receipt of the notice. The district may not require any
   73  additional information or verification from the parent unless
   74  the student chooses to participate in a school district program
   75  or service. The district school superintendent may not assign a
   76  grade level to the home education student or include a social
   77  security number or any other personal information of the student
   78  in any school district or state database unless the student
   79  chooses to participate in a school district program or service;
   80  and
   81         (c) The parent shall file a written notice of termination
   82  upon completion of the home education program with shall be
   83  filed in the district school superintendent, along with the
   84  annual evaluation required in paragraph (f), within
   85  superintendent’s office within 30 days of after said
   86  termination.
   87         (d)(b) The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and
   88  materials. The portfolio must shall consist of the following:
   89         1. A log of educational activities that is made
   90  contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by
   91  title any reading materials used.
   92         2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or
   93  creative materials used or developed by the student.
   94         (e) The parent shall determine the content of the
   95  portfolio, preserve it shall be preserved by the parent for 2
   96  years, and make it shall be made available for inspection, if
   97  requested, by the district school superintendent, or the
   98  district school superintendent’s agent, upon 15 days’ written
   99  notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district
  100  school superintendent to inspect the portfolio.
  101         (f)(c) The parent shall provide for an annual educational
  102  evaluation in which is documented the student’s demonstration of
  103  educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his
  104  ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and
  105  shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district
  106  school superintendent’s office in the county in which the
  107  student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist
  108  of one of the following:
  109         1. A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the
  110  student’s educational progress upon review of the portfolio and
  111  discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid
  112  regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the
  113  elementary or secondary level;
  114         2. The student shall take any nationally normed student
  115  achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
  116         3. The student shall take a state student assessment test
  117  used by the school district and administered by a certified
  118  teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by
  119  the school district;
  120         4. The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding
  121  a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s.
  122  490.003(7) or (8); or
  123         5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid
  124  measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school
  125  superintendent of the district in which the student resides and
  126  the student’s parent.
  127         (2) The district school superintendent shall review and
  128  accept the results of the annual educational evaluation of the
  129  student in a home education program. If the student does not
  130  demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with
  131  her or his ability, the district school superintendent shall
  132  notify the parent, in writing, that such progress has not been
  133  achieved. The parent shall have 1 year from the date of receipt
  134  of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to
  135  the student. At the end of the 1-year probationary period, the
  136  student shall be reevaluated as specified in paragraph (1)(f)
  137  (1)(c). Continuation in a home education program shall be
  138  contingent upon the student demonstrating educational progress
  139  commensurate with her or his ability at the end of the
  140  probationary period.
  141         (11) A school district may provide access to career and
  142  technical courses and programs for a home education program
  143  student who enrolls in a public school solely for the career and
  144  technical courses or programs. The school district that provides
  145  the career and technical courses and programs shall report each
  146  student as a full-time equivalent student in the class and in a
  147  manner prescribed by the department, and funding shall be
  148  provided through the Florida Education Finance Program pursuant
  149  to s. 1011.62.
  150         (12) Industry certifications, national assessments, and
  151  statewide, standardized assessments offered by the school
  152  district shall be available to home education program students.
  153  Each school district shall notify home education program
  154  students of the available certifications and assessments; the
  155  date, time, and locations for the administration of each
  156  certification and assessment; and the deadline for notifying the
  157  school district of the student’s intent to participate and the
  158  student’s preferred location.
  159         (13) A school district may not further regulate, exercise
  160  control over, or require documentation from parents of home
  161  education program students beyond the requirements of this
  162  section unless the regulation, control, or documentation is
  163  necessary for participation in a school district program.
  164         Section 2. Subsection (4) of section 1003.21, Florida
  165  Statutes, is amended to read:
  166         1003.21 School attendance.—
  167         (4) Before admitting a child to kindergarten, the principal
  168  shall require evidence that the child has attained the age at
  169  which he or she should be admitted in accordance with the
  170  provisions of subparagraph (1)(a)2. The district school
  171  superintendent may require evidence of the age of any child who
  172  is being enrolled in public school who the district school
  173  superintendent whom he or she believes to be within the limits
  174  of compulsory attendance as provided for by law; however, the
  175  district school superintendent may not require evidence from any
  176  child who meets regular attendance requirements by attending a
  177  school or program listed in s. 1003.01(13)(b)-(e). If the first
  178  prescribed evidence is not available, the next evidence
  179  obtainable in the order set forth below shall be accepted:
  180         (a) A duly attested transcript of the child’s birth record
  181  filed according to law with a public officer charged with the
  182  duty of recording births;
  183         (b) A duly attested transcript of a certificate of baptism
  184  showing the date of birth and place of baptism of the child,
  185  accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the parent;
  186         (c) An insurance policy on the child’s life that has been
  187  in force for at least 2 years;
  188         (d) A bona fide contemporary religious record of the
  189  child’s birth accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the
  190  parent;
  191         (e) A passport or certificate of arrival in the United
  192  States showing the age of the child;
  193         (f) A transcript of record of age shown in the child’s
  194  school record of at least 4 years prior to application, stating
  195  date of birth; or
  196         (g) If none of these evidences can be produced, an
  197  affidavit of age sworn to by the parent, accompanied by a
  198  certificate of age signed by a public health officer or by a
  199  public school physician, or, if these are not available in the
  200  county, by a licensed practicing physician designated by the
  201  district school board, which states that the health officer or
  202  physician has examined the child and believes that the age as
  203  stated in the affidavit is substantially correct. Children and
  204  youths who are experiencing homelessness and children who are
  205  known to the department, as defined in s. 39.0016, shall be
  206  given temporary exemption from this section for 30 school days.
  207         Section 3. Paragraph (f) of subsection (1) and paragraph
  208  (a) of subsection (2) of section 1003.26, Florida Statutes, are
  209  amended to read:
  210         1003.26 Enforcement of school attendance.—The Legislature
  211  finds that poor academic performance is associated with
  212  nonattendance and that school districts must take an active role
  213  in promoting and enforcing attendance as a means of improving
  214  student performance. It is the policy of the state that each
  215  district school superintendent be responsible for enforcing
  216  school attendance of all students subject to the compulsory
  217  school age in the school district and supporting enforcement of
  218  school attendance by local law enforcement agencies. The
  219  responsibility includes recommending policies and procedures to
  220  the district school board that require public schools to respond
  221  in a timely manner to every unexcused absence, and every absence
  222  for which the reason is unknown, of students enrolled in the
  223  schools. District school board policies shall require the parent
  224  of a student to justify each absence of the student, and that
  225  justification will be evaluated based on adopted district school
  226  board policies that define excused and unexcused absences. The
  227  policies must provide that public schools track excused and
  228  unexcused absences and contact the home in the case of an
  229  unexcused absence from school, or an absence from school for
  230  which the reason is unknown, to prevent the development of
  231  patterns of nonattendance. The Legislature finds that early
  232  intervention in school attendance is the most effective way of
  233  producing good attendance habits that will lead to improved
  234  student learning and achievement. Each public school shall
  235  implement the following steps to promote and enforce regular
  236  school attendance:
  237         (1) CONTACT, REFER, AND ENFORCE.—
  238         (f)1. If the parent of a child who has been identified as
  239  exhibiting a pattern of nonattendance enrolls the child in a
  240  home education program pursuant to chapter 1002, the district
  241  school superintendent shall provide the parent a copy of s.
  242  1002.41 and the accountability requirements of this paragraph.
  243  The district school superintendent shall also refer the parent
  244  to a home education review committee composed of the district
  245  contact for home education programs and at least two home
  246  educators selected by the parent from a district list of all
  247  home educators who have conducted a home education program for
  248  at least 3 years and who have indicated a willingness to serve
  249  on the committee. The home education review committee shall
  250  review the portfolio of the student, as defined by s. 1002.41,
  251  every 30 days during the district’s regular school terms until
  252  the committee is satisfied that the home education program is in
  253  compliance with s. 1002.41(1)(b). The first portfolio review
  254  must occur within the first 30 calendar days of the
  255  establishment of the program. The provisions of subparagraph 2.
  256  do not apply once the committee determines the home education
  257  program is in compliance with s. 1002.41(1)(d) s. 1002.41(1)(b).
  258         2. If the parent fails to provide a portfolio to the
  259  committee, the committee shall notify the district school
  260  superintendent. The district school superintendent shall then
  261  terminate the home education program and require the parent to
  262  enroll the child in an attendance option that meets the
  263  definition of “regular school attendance” under s.
  264  1003.01(13)(a), (b), (c), or (e), within 3 days. Upon
  265  termination of a home education program pursuant to this
  266  subparagraph, the parent shall not be eligible to reenroll the
  267  child in a home education program for 180 calendar days. Failure
  268  of a parent to enroll the child in an attendance option as
  269  required by this subparagraph after termination of the home
  270  education program pursuant to this subparagraph shall constitute
  271  noncompliance with the compulsory attendance requirements of s.
  272  1003.21 and may result in criminal prosecution under s.
  273  1003.27(2). Nothing contained herein shall restrict the ability
  274  of the district school superintendent, or the ability of his or
  275  her designee, to review the portfolio pursuant to s.
  276  1002.41(1)(b).
  277         (2) GIVE WRITTEN NOTICE.—
  278         (a) Under the direction of the district school
  279  superintendent, a designated school representative shall give
  280  written notice that requires enrollment or attendance within 3
  281  days after the date of notice, in person or by return-receipt
  282  mail, to the parent when no valid reason is found for a
  283  student’s nonenrollment in school. If the notice and requirement
  284  are ignored, the designated school representative shall report
  285  the case to the district school superintendent, who and may
  286  refer the case to the child study team in paragraph (1)(b) at
  287  the school the student would be assigned according to district
  288  school board attendance area policies or to the case staffing
  289  committee, established pursuant to s. 984.12. The child study
  290  team shall diligently facilitate intervention services and shall
  291  report the case back to the district school superintendent only
  292  when all reasonable efforts to resolve the nonenrollment
  293  behavior are exhausted. If the parent still refuses to cooperate
  294  or enroll the child in school, the district school
  295  superintendent shall take such steps as are necessary to bring
  296  criminal prosecution against the parent.
  297         Section 4. Subsection (2) of section 1003.27, Florida
  298  Statutes, is amended to read:
  299         1003.27 Court procedure and penalties.—The court procedure
  300  and penalties for the enforcement of the provisions of this
  301  part, relating to compulsory school attendance, shall be as
  302  follows:
  304         (a) In each case of nonenrollment or of nonattendance upon
  305  the part of a student who is required to attend some school,
  306  when no valid reason for such nonenrollment or nonattendance is
  307  found, the district school superintendent shall institute a
  308  criminal prosecution against the student’s parent. However,
  309  criminal prosecution may not be instituted against the student’s
  310  parent until the school and school district have complied with
  311  s. 1003.26.
  312         (b) Each public school principal or the principal’s
  313  designee shall notify the district school board of each minor
  314  student under its jurisdiction who accumulates 15 unexcused
  315  absences in a period of 90 calendar days. Each designee of the
  316  governing body of each private school, and each parent whose
  317  child is enrolled in a home education program, may provide the
  318  Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with the legal
  319  name, sex, date of birth, and social security number of each
  320  minor student under his or her jurisdiction who fails to satisfy
  321  relevant attendance requirements and who fails to otherwise
  322  satisfy the requirements of s. 322.091. The district school
  323  superintendent must provide the Department of Highway Safety and
  324  Motor Vehicles the legal name, sex, date of birth, and social
  325  security number of each minor student who has been reported
  326  under this paragraph and who fails to otherwise satisfy the
  327  requirements of s. 322.091. The Department of Highway Safety and
  328  Motor Vehicles may not issue a driver license or learner’s
  329  driver license to, and shall suspend any previously issued
  330  driver license or learner’s driver license of, any such minor
  331  student, pursuant to the provisions of s. 322.091.
  332         (c) Each designee of the governing body of each private
  333  school and each parent whose child is enrolled in a home
  334  education program may provide the Department of Highway Safety
  335  and Motor Vehicles with the legal name, sex, date of birth, and
  336  social security number of each minor student under his or her
  337  jurisdiction who fails to satisfy relevant attendance
  338  requirements and who fails to otherwise satisfy the requirements
  339  of s. 322.091. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor
  340  Vehicles may not issue a driver license or learner’s driver
  341  license to, and shall suspend any previously issued driver
  342  license or learner’s driver license of, any such minor student,
  343  pursuant to s. 322.091.
  344         Section 5. Paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of section
  345  1006.15, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  346         1006.15 Student standards for participation in
  347  interscholastic and intrascholastic extracurricular student
  348  activities; regulation.—
  349         (3)
  350         (c) An individual home education student is eligible to
  351  participate at the public school to which the student would be
  352  assigned according to district school board attendance area
  353  policies or which the student could choose to attend pursuant to
  354  s. 1002.31, regardless of capacity requirements as indicated by
  355  the definition of extracurricular courses under s. 1003.01(15),
  356  which excludes the courses from maximum class size requirements;
  357  or may develop an agreement to participate at a private school,
  358  in the interscholastic extracurricular activities of that
  359  school, provided the following conditions are met:
  360         1. The home education student must meet the requirements of
  361  the home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41.
  362         2. During the period of participation at a school, the home
  363  education student must demonstrate educational progress as
  364  required in paragraph (b) in all subjects taken in the home
  365  education program by a method of evaluation agreed upon by the
  366  parent and the school principal which may include: review of the
  367  student’s work by a certified teacher chosen by the parent;
  368  grades earned through correspondence; grades earned in courses
  369  taken at a Florida College System institution, university, or
  370  trade school; standardized test scores above the 35th
  371  percentile; or any other method designated in s. 1002.41.
  372         3. The home education student must meet the same residency
  373  requirements as other students in the school at which he or she
  374  participates.
  375         3.4. The home education student must meet the same
  376  standards of acceptance, behavior, and performance as required
  377  of other students in extracurricular activities.
  378         4.5. The student must register with the school his or her
  379  intent to participate in interscholastic extracurricular
  380  activities as a representative of the school before
  381  participation the beginning date of the season for the activity
  382  in which he or she wishes to participate. A home education
  383  student must be able to participate in curricular activities if
  384  that is a requirement for an extracurricular activity.
  385         5.6. A student who transfers from a home education program
  386  to a public school before or during the first grading period of
  387  the school year is academically eligible to participate in
  388  interscholastic extracurricular activities during the first
  389  grading period provided the student has a successful evaluation
  390  from the previous school year, pursuant to subparagraph 2.
  391         6.7. Any public school or private school student who has
  392  been unable to maintain academic eligibility for participation
  393  in interscholastic extracurricular activities is ineligible to
  394  participate in such activities as a home education student until
  395  the student has successfully completed one grading period in
  396  home education pursuant to subparagraph 2. to become eligible to
  397  participate as a home education student.
  398         Section 6. Paragraph (b) of subsection (13) of section
  399  1007.271, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  400         1007.271 Dual enrollment programs.—
  401         (13)
  402         (b) Each postsecondary institution eligible to participate
  403  in the dual enrollment program pursuant to s. 1011.62(1)(i) must
  404  enter into a home education articulation agreement with each
  405  home education student seeking enrollment in a dual enrollment
  406  course and the student’s parent. By August 1 of each year, the
  407  eligible postsecondary institution shall complete and submit the
  408  home education articulation agreement to the Department of
  409  Education. The home education articulation agreement must
  410  include, at a minimum:
  411         1. A delineation of courses and programs available to
  412  dually enrolled home education students. Courses and programs
  413  may be added, revised, or deleted at any time by the
  414  postsecondary institution. Any course or program limitations may
  415  not exceed the limitations for other dually enrolled students.
  416         2. The initial and continued eligibility requirements for
  417  home education student participation, not to exceed those
  418  required of other dually enrolled students. A high school grade
  419  point average may not be required for home education students
  420  who meet the minimum score on a common placement test adopted by
  421  the State Board of Education which indicates that the student is
  422  ready for college-level coursework; however, home education
  423  student eligibility requirements for continued enrollment in
  424  college credit dual enrollment courses must include the
  425  maintenance of the minimum postsecondary grade point average
  426  established by the postsecondary institution.
  427         3. The student’s responsibilities for providing his or her
  428  own instructional materials and transportation.
  429         4. A copy of the statement on transfer guarantees developed
  430  by the Department of Education under subsection (15).
  431         Section 7. Paragraph (l) of subsection (5) and paragraph
  432  (a) of subsection (11) of section 1002.385, Florida Statutes,
  433  are amended to read:
  434         1002.385 The Gardiner Scholarship.—
  435         (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds must be
  436  used to meet the individual educational needs of an eligible
  437  student and may be spent for the following purposes:
  438         (l) Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress
  439  by a state-certified teacher under s. 1002.41(1)(f) s.
  440  1002.41(1)(c), if this option is chosen for a home education
  441  student.
  443  A provider of any services receiving payments pursuant to this
  444  subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any moneys from the
  445  Gardiner Scholarship with the parent or participating student in
  446  any manner. A parent, student, or provider of any services may
  447  not bill an insurance company, Medicaid, or any other agency for
  448  the same services that are paid for using Gardiner Scholarship
  449  funds.
  451  PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
  452  under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
  453  determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
  454  meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
  455  student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
  456  Level III services. If a parent receives an IEP and a matrix of
  457  services from the school district pursuant to subsection (7),
  458  the amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
  459  school district completes the matrix.
  460         (a) To satisfy or maintain program eligibility, including
  461  eligibility to receive and spend program payments, the parent
  462  must sign an agreement with the organization and annually submit
  463  a notarized, sworn compliance statement to the organization to:
  464         1. Affirm that the student is enrolled in a program that
  465  meets regular school attendance requirements as provided in s.
  466  1003.01(13)(b)-(d).
  467         2. Affirm that the program funds are used only for
  468  authorized purposes serving the student’s educational needs, as
  469  described in subsection (5).
  470         3. Affirm that the parent is responsible for the education
  471  of his or her student by, as applicable:
  472         a. Requiring the student to take an assessment in
  473  accordance with paragraph (8)(c);
  474         b. Providing an annual evaluation in accordance with s.
  475  1002.41(1)(f) s. 1002.41(1)(c); or
  476         c. Requiring the child to take any preassessments and
  477  postassessments selected by the provider if the child is 4 years
  478  of age and is enrolled in a program provided by an eligible
  479  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program provider. A student
  480  with disabilities for whom a preassessment and postassessment is
  481  not appropriate is exempt from this requirement. A participating
  482  provider shall report a student’s scores to the parent.
  483         4. Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
  484  the provider or school if those options are selected by the
  485  parent.
  487  A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
  488  Gardiner Scholarship.
  489         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.