Florida Senate - 2019 SB 1410
By Senator Diaz
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the Hope Scholarship Program;
3 amending s. 1002.40, F.S.; revising the definition of
4 the term “school”; revising the Hope Scholarship
5 Program eligibility requirements; revising the term of
6 the scholarship so that it remains in force until a
7 student graduates from high school; revising school
8 district obligations relating to the program;
9 authorizing parents of certain public school students
10 to apply for a scholarship to a private school by
11 taking a certain action; providing requirements for
12 the application; authorizing parents of certain
13 private school students to apply for a transportation
14 scholarship by taking a certain action; deleting a
15 requirement for the Department of Education to
16 contract with an independent entity for a specified
17 purpose; requiring a parent who applies for a
18 scholarship to notify the student’s school district
19 when the parent withdraws his or her student to attend
20 an eligible private school; providing requirements for
21 the notification; authorizing eligible nonprofit
22 scholarship funding organizations to carry forward
23 certain contributions for a specified purpose;
24 providing an effective date.
26 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
28 Section 1. Paragraph (j) of subsection (2), subsections
29 (3), (5), (6), and (8), and paragraph (b) of subsection (9) of
30 section 1002.40, Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph
31 (i) is added to subsection (11) of that section, to read:
32 1002.40 The Hope Scholarship Program.—
33 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
34 (j) “School” means any educational program or activity
35 conducted by a public K-12 educational institution, a private
36 school as defined in s. 1002.01, any school-related or school
37 sponsored program or activity, and riding on a school bus, as
38 defined in s. 1006.25(1), including waiting at a school bus
40 (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—
41 (a) Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, contingent
42 upon available funds, and on a first-come, first-served basis, a
43 student enrolled in a Florida public school or private school in
44 kindergarten through grade 12 is eligible for a scholarship
45 under this program if the student reported an incident in
46 accordance with subsection (6). For purposes of this section,
47 the term “incident” means battery; harassment; hazing; bullying;
48 kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses,
49 harassment, assault, or battery; threat or intimidation; or
50 fighting at school, as defined by the department in accordance
51 with s.1006.09(6).
52 (b) A student enrolled in a Florida private school in
53 kindergarten through grade 12 is eligible for a transportation
54 scholarship provided in paragraph (11)(b) if the student
55 reported an incident in accordance with subsection (6).
56 (5) TERM OF HOPE SCHOLARSHIP.—For purposes of continuity of
57 educational choice, a Hope scholarship shall remain in force
58 until the student
returns to public school or graduates from
59 high school , whichever occurs first. A scholarship student who
60 enrolls in a public school or public school program is
61 considered to have returned to a public school for the purpose
62 of determining the end of the scholarship’s term.
63 (6) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS; PARENTAL OPTIONS.—
64 (a) Upon receipt of a report of an incident, the school
65 principal, or his or her designee, shall provide a copy of the
66 report to the parent and investigate the incident to determine
67 if the incident must be reported as required by s. 1006.09(6).
68 Within 24 hours after receipt of the report, the principal or
69 his or her designee shall provide a copy of the report to the
70 parent of the alleged offender and to the superintendent. Upon
71 conclusion of the investigation or within 15 days after the
72 incident was reported, whichever occurs first, the school
73 district shall notify the parent of the program and offer the
74 parent an opportunity to enroll his or her student in another
75 public school that has capacity or to request and receive a
76 scholarship to attend an eligible private school, subject to
77 available funding. A parent who chooses to enroll his or her
78 student in a public school located outside the district in which
79 the student resides pursuant to s. 1002.31 shall be eligible for
80 a scholarship to transport the student as provided in paragraph
82 (b) For each student participating in the program in an
83 eligible private school who chooses to participate in the
84 statewide assessments under s. 1008.22 or the Florida Alternate
85 Assessment, the school district in which the student resides
86 must notify the student and his or her parent about the
87 locations and times to take all statewide assessments.
88 (c) A parent of a public school student who was subjected
89 to an incident may apply for a scholarship to a participating
90 private school by reporting the incident to an approved
91 scholarship funding organization. The application must include,
92 at a minimum, the name of the school where the incident
93 occurred, the date on which the incident occurred, and the type
94 of incident that occurred.
95 (d) A parent of a private school student who was subjected
96 to an incident may apply for a transportation scholarship by
97 reporting the incident to an approved scholarship funding
99 (8) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The department
101 (a) Cross-check the list of participating scholarship
102 students with the public school enrollment lists to avoid
104 (b) Maintain a list of nationally norm-referenced tests
105 identified for purposes of satisfying the testing requirement in
106 paragraph (9)(f). The tests must meet industry standards of
107 quality in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
108 (c) Require quarterly reports by an eligible nonprofit
109 scholarship-funding organization regarding the number of
110 students participating in the program, the private schools in
111 which the students are enrolled, and other information deemed
112 necessary by the department.
113 (d) Contract with an independent entity to provide an
114 annual evaluation of the program by:
115 1. Reviewing the school bullying prevention education
116 program, climate, and code of student conduct of each public
117 school from which 10 or more students transferred to another
118 public school or private school using the Hope scholarship to
119 determine areas in the school or school district procedures
120 involving reporting, investigating, and communicating a parent’s
121 and student’s rights that are in need of improvement. At a
122 minimum, the review must include:
123 a. An assessment of the investigation time and quality of
124 the response of the school and the school district.
125 b. An assessment of the effectiveness of communication
126 procedures with the students involved in an incident, the
127 students’ parents, and the school and school district personnel.
128 c. An analysis of school incident and discipline data.
129 d. The challenges and obstacles relating to implementing
130 recommendations from the review.
131 2. Reviewing the school bullying prevention education
132 program, climate, and code of student conduct of each public
133 school to which a student transferred if the student was from a
134 school identified in subparagraph 1. in order to identify best
135 practices and make recommendations to a public school at which
136 the incidents occurred.
137 3. Reviewing the performance of participating students
138 enrolled in a private school in which at least 51 percent of the
139 total enrolled students in the prior school year participated in
140 the program and in which there are at least 10 participating
141 students who have scores for tests administered.
142 4. Surveying the parents of participating students to
143 determine academic, safety, and school climate satisfaction and
144 to identify any challenges to or obstacles in addressing the
145 incident or relating to the use of the scholarship.
146 (9) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
147 PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for a Hope scholarship is
148 exercising his or her parental option to place his or her
149 student in an eligible private school.
150 (b) The parent must notify inform the student’s school
151 district when the parent withdraws his or her student to attend
152 an eligible private school. The notification must indicate that
153 the student was subjected to an incident that qualifies him or
154 her for a Hope Scholarship.
155 (11) FUNDING AND PAYMENT.—
156 (i) An eligible nonprofit scholarship funding organization
157 may carry forward contributions in a state fiscal year to ensure
158 continuity of scholarships in the following state fiscal year.
159 At the end of each state fiscal year, an eligible nonprofit
160 scholarship funding organization may redirect unspent
161 contributions in excess of 5 percent of the total contributions
162 to fund scholarships for students under s. 1002.395 in the
163 following state fiscal year.
164 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.