Florida Senate - 2020 SB 1164
By Senator Perry
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the Gardiner Scholarship; amending
3 s. 1002.385, F.S.; revising eligibility requirements
4 for the Gardiner Scholarship Program; revising an
5 authorized use of scholarship funds; providing that
6 scholarship funds may be spent for tuition and fees
7 associated with programs relating to art, music, or
8 theater; providing requirements for instructors of
9 such programs; revising terms under which a student’s
10 scholarship account is closed and program funds revert
11 to the state; authorizing certain students to continue
12 spending scholarship funds under certain
13 circumstances; revising a certain obligation of
14 scholarship-funding organizations; providing an
15 effective date.
17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
19 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3), subsection (5),
20 paragraph (b) of subsection (6), subsection (11), and paragraph
21 (j) of subsection (12) of section 1002.385, Florida Statutes,
22 are amended to read:
23 1002.385 The Gardiner Scholarship.—
24 (3) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—A parent of a student with a
25 disability may request and receive from the state a Gardiner
26 Scholarship for the purposes specified in subsection (5) if:
27 (a) The student:
28 1. Is a resident of this state;
29 2. Is 3 or 4 years of age on or before September 1 of the
30 year in which the student applies for program participation, or
31 is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a
32 public school in this state;
33 3. Has a disability as defined in paragraph (2)(d); and
34 4. Is the subject of an IEP written in accordance with
35 rules of the State Board of Education or with the applicable
36 rules of another state or has received a diagnosis of a
37 disability from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or
38 chapter 459, a psychologist who is licensed under chapter 490,
39 or a physician who holds an active license issued by another
40 state or territory of the United States, the District of
41 Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
43 A student with a disability who meets the requirements of this
44 paragraph, but who turns 3 years of age after September 1, may
45 be determined to be eligible for a Gardiner Scholarship on or
46 after his or her third birthday if program funds are available
47 and there are no other students on the wait list.
48 (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds must be
49 used to meet the individual educational needs of an eligible
50 student and may be spent for the following purposes:
51 (a) Instructional materials, including digital devices,
52 digital periphery devices, and assistive technology devices that
53 allow a student to access instruction or instructional content
54 and training on the use of and maintenance agreements for these
56 (b) Curriculum as defined in paragraph (2)(b).
57 (c) Specialized services by approved providers or by a
58 hospital in this state which are selected by the parent. These
59 specialized services may include, but are not limited to:
60 1. Applied behavior analysis services as provided in ss.
61 627.6686 and 641.31098.
62 2. Services provided by speech-language pathologists as
63 defined in s. 468.1125.
64 3. Occupational therapy services as defined in s. 468.203.
65 4. Services provided by physical therapists as defined in
66 s. 486.021.
67 5. Services provided by listening and spoken language
68 specialists and an appropriate acoustical environment for a
69 child who is deaf or hard of hearing and who has received an
70 implant or assistive hearing device.
71 (d) Tuition or fees associated with full-time or part-time
72 enrollment in a home education program, an eligible private
73 school, an eligible postsecondary educational institution or a
74 program offered by the postsecondary institution, a private
75 tutoring program authorized under s. 1002.43, a virtual program
76 offered by a department-approved private online provider that
77 meets the provider qualifications specified in s. 1002.45(2)(a),
78 the Florida Virtual School as a private paying student, or an
79 approved online course offered pursuant to s. 1003.499 or s.
81 (e) Fees for nationally standardized, norm-referenced
82 achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry
83 certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary
84 education, or other assessments.
85 (f) Contributions to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
86 College Program pursuant to s. 1009.98 or the Florida College
87 Savings Program pursuant to s. 1009.981, for the benefit of the
88 eligible student.
89 (g) Contracted services provided by a public school or
90 school district, including classes. A student who receives
91 services under a contract under this paragraph is not considered
92 enrolled in a public school for eligibility purposes as
93 specified in subsection (4).
94 (h) Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services
95 provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s
96 certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56; a person who holds an
97 adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; a person
98 who has a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in the subject
99 area in which instruction is given; or a person who has
100 demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant to s.
101 1012.56(5). As used in this paragraph, the term “part-time
102 tutoring services” does not qualify as regular school attendance
103 as defined in s. 1003.01(13)(e).
104 (i) Fees for
specialized summer education programs.
105 (j) Fees for specialized after-school education programs.
106 (k) Transition services, including a coordinated set of
107 activities that are focused on improving the academic and
108 functional achievement of the student to facilitate his or her
109 movement from school to post-school activities and are based on
110 the individual student’s needs. Transition services may be
111 provided by job coaches.
112 (l) Fees for an annual evaluation of educational progress
113 by a state-certified teacher under s. 1002.41(1)(f), if this
114 option is chosen for a home education student.
115 (m) Tuition and fees associated with programs offered by
116 Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers approved
117 pursuant to s. 1002.55 and school readiness providers approved
118 pursuant to s. 1002.88.
119 (n) Fees for services provided at a center that is a member
120 of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
122 (o) Fees for services provided by a therapist who is
123 certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists or
124 credentialed by the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc.
125 (p) Tuition or fees associated with enrollment in a
126 nationally or internationally recognized research-based training
127 program for a child with a neurological disorder or brain
129 (q) Tuition and fees associated with a student’s
130 participation in a series of classes or lessons relating to art,
131 music, or theater. The instructor of the classes or lessons
133 1. Hold a valid or expired Florida educator’s certificate
134 pursuant to s. 1012.56 in art, music, or theater;
135 2. Have 3 years of employment experience in art, music, or
136 theater, as demonstrated by employment records;
137 3. Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher from a
138 postsecondary educational institution with a major in music,
139 art, theater, or drama; or
140 4. Hold a certification or national accreditation in music,
141 art, theater, or drama.
143 A provider of any services receiving payments pursuant to this
144 subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any moneys from the
145 Gardiner Scholarship with the parent or participating student in
146 any manner. A parent, student, or provider of any services may
147 not bill an insurance company, Medicaid, or any other agency for
148 the same services that are paid for using Gardiner Scholarship
150 (6) TERM OF THE PROGRAM.—For purposes of continuity of
151 educational choice and program integrity:
152 (b)1. A student’s scholarship account must be closed and
153 any remaining funds, including, but not limited to,
154 contributions made to the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid
155 College Program or earnings from or contributions made to the
156 Florida College Savings Program using program funds pursuant to
157 paragraph (5)(f), shall revert to the state after:
158 a. Denial or revocation of program eligibility by the
159 commissioner for fraud or abuse, including, but not limited to,
160 the student or student’s parent accepting any payment, refund,
161 or rebate, in any manner, from a provider of any services
162 received pursuant to subsection (5);
163 b. Any period of 3 consecutive years after high school
164 completion or graduation during which the student has not been
165 enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational institution or
166 a program offered by the institution; or
167 c. Two Three consecutive fiscal years in which an account
168 has been inactive.
169 2. The commissioner must notify the parent and the
170 organization when a Gardiner Scholarship account is closed and
171 program funds revert to the state.
172 (11) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
173 PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
174 under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
175 determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
176 meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
177 student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
178 Level III services. If a parent receives an IEP and a matrix of
179 services from the school district pursuant to subsection (7),
180 the amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
181 school district completes the matrix.
182 (a) To satisfy or maintain program eligibility, including
183 eligibility to receive and spend program payments, the parent
184 must sign an agreement with the organization and annually submit
185 a notarized, sworn compliance statement to the organization to:
186 1. Affirm that the student is enrolled in a program that
187 meets regular school attendance requirements as provided in s.
189 2. Affirm that the program funds are used only for
190 authorized purposes serving the student’s educational needs, as
191 described in subsection (5).
192 3. Affirm that the parent is responsible for the education
193 of his or her student by, as applicable:
194 a. Requiring the student to take an assessment in
195 accordance with paragraph (8)(b);
196 b. Providing an annual evaluation in accordance with s.
197 1002.41(1)(f); or
198 c. Requiring the child to take any preassessments and
199 postassessments selected by the provider if the child is 4 years
200 of age and is enrolled in a program provided by an eligible
201 Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program provider. A student
202 with disabilities for whom a preassessment and postassessment is
203 not appropriate is exempt from this requirement. A participating
204 provider shall report a student’s scores to the parent.
205 4. Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
206 the provider or school if those options are selected by the
208 (b) The parent must file an application for initial program
209 participation with an organization by the dates established
210 pursuant to this section.
211 (c) The parent must notify the school district that the
212 student is participating in the Gardiner Scholarship Program if
213 the parent chooses to enroll the student in a home education
214 program as provided in s. 1002.41. This notification is not in
215 lieu of the required notification a parent must submit to the
216 district when establishing a home education program pursuant to
217 s. 1002.41(1)(a).
218 (d) The parent must enroll his or her child in a program
219 from a Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program provider
220 authorized under s. 1002.55, a school readiness provider
221 authorized under s. 1002.88, or an eligible private school if
222 either option is selected by the parent.
223 (e) The parent must annually renew participation in the
224 program in order for a student to be eligible to receive
225 funding. A student whose participation in the program is not
226 renewed may continue to spend scholarship funds that are in his
227 or her account from prior years unless the account must be
228 closed pursuant to paragraph (6)(b). Notwithstanding any changes
229 to the student’s IEP, a student who was previously eligible for
230 participation in the program shall remain eligible to apply for
231 renewal. However, for a high-risk child to continue to
232 participate in the program in the school year after he or she
233 reaches 6 years of age, the child’s application for renewal of
234 program participation must contain documentation that the child
235 has a disability defined in paragraph (2)(d) other than high
236 risk status.
237 (f) The parent is responsible for procuring the services
238 necessary to educate the student. If a parent does not procure
239 the necessary educational services for the student and the
240 student’s account has been inactive for 2 consecutive fiscal
241 years, the student is ineligible and the student’s account must
242 be closed pursuant to paragraph (6)(b) for additional
243 scholarship payments until the scholarship funding organization
244 verifies that expenditures from the account have occurred. When
245 the student receives a Gardiner Scholarship, the district school
246 board is not obligated to provide the student with a free
247 appropriate public education. For purposes of s. 1003.57 and the
248 Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, a participating
249 student has only those rights that apply to all other
250 unilaterally parentally placed students, except that, when
251 requested by the parent, school district personnel must develop
252 an individual education plan or matrix level of services.
253 (g) The parent is responsible for all eligible expenses in
254 excess of the amount of the Gardiner Scholarship.
255 (h) The parent may not transfer any prepaid college plan or
256 college savings plan funds contributed pursuant to paragraph
257 (5)(f) to another beneficiary while the plan contains funds
258 contributed pursuant to this section.
259 (i) The parent may not receive a payment, refund, or rebate
260 from an approved provider of any services under this program.
262 A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
263 Gardiner Scholarship.
264 (12) OBLIGATIONS OF SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS.—An
265 organization may establish Gardiner Scholarships for eligible
266 students by:
267 (j) Documenting each scholarship student’s eligibility for
268 a fiscal year before granting a scholarship for that fiscal year
269 pursuant to paragraph (3)(b). A student is ineligible for a
270 scholarship if the student’s account has been inactive for 2
271 consecutive fiscal years and the student’s account has been
272 closed pursuant to paragraph (6)(b). However, once an eligible
273 expenditure is made pursuant to paragraph (11)(f), the student
274 is eligible for a scholarship based on available funds.
275 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.