Florida Senate - 2024                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 7032
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                   Comm: RS            .                                
                  02/22/2024           .                                

       The Committee on Appropriations (Grall) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 1004.933, Florida Statutes, is created
    6  to read:
    7         1004.933 Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education
    8  (GATE) Program.—
    9         (1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—
   10         (a)It is the intent of the Legislature to create an
   11  alternative pathway to education and workforce opportunities for
   12  students who have withdrawn from high school prior to
   13  graduation.
   14         (b) It is the intent of the Legislature to affirm the
   15  unequivocal value of a standard high school diploma as the
   16  primary education credential by which students access higher
   17  education and workforce opportunities. Further, the Legislature
   18  affirms that parental consent is required for a student under 18
   19  years of age to withdraw from high school prior to graduation.
   20         (c) Therefore, the Legislature intends to assist students
   21  who have challenges completing the requirements for a standard
   22  high school diploma by developing mechanisms that provide
   23  struggling students opportunities to catch up with their cohort
   24  as an alternative to withdrawing from high school prior to
   25  obtaining a standard high school diploma.
   26         (d) The Legislature recognizes that when a student
   27  withdraws from high school prior to graduation, the student has
   28  not received the full value of a taxpayer-funded pre-K-12
   29  education, and therefore lacks the education credential
   30  essential to gainful employment and future educational
   31  opportunities. Therefore, the Legislature intends to provide an
   32  alternative pathway program, waiving tuition and fees for the
   33  program for participating students who have not earned a
   34  standard high school diploma.
   35         (2) PROGRAM CREATION.—The Graduation Alternative to
   36  Traditional Education (GATE) Program is created within the
   37  Department of Education.
   38         (3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   39         (a) “Career education program” means an applied technology
   40  diploma program as defined in s. 1004.02(7) or a career
   41  certificate program as defined in s. 1004.02(20).
   42         (b) “Institution” means a school district career center
   43  established under s. 1001.44, a charter technical career center
   44  established under s. 1002.34, or a Florida College System
   45  institution identified in s. 1000.21.
   47         (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, an
   48  institution shall waive 100 percent of the registration,
   49  tuition, laboratory, and examination fees for a student
   50  participating in the GATE Program. Instructional materials
   51  assigned for use under the GATE Program must be made available
   52  to GATE Program students free of charge. An institution may not
   53  require payment by students of instructional materials costs
   54  eligible for reimbursement under s. 1009.711.
   55         (b) To be eligible for participation in the GATE Program, a
   56  student may not have earned a standard high school diploma
   57  pursuant to s. 1003.4282 or a high school equivalency diploma
   58  pursuant to s. 1003.435 before enrolling in the GATE Program and
   59  must:
   60         1. Be a resident of this state as defined in s. 1009.21(1);
   61         2. Be 16 to 21 years of age at the time of initial
   62  enrollment;
   63         3. Select the adult secondary education program and career
   64  education program of his or her choice at the time of admission
   65  to the GATE Program, provided that the program is included on
   66  the Master Credentials List under s. 445.004(4). The student may
   67  not change the requested pathway after enrollment, except that,
   68  if necessary for the student, the student may enroll in an adult
   69  basic education program prior to enrolling in the adult
   70  secondary education program;
   71         4. Maintain a 2.0 GPA for career and technical education
   72  coursework; and
   73         5. Notwithstanding s. 1003.435(4), complete the programs
   74  under subparagraph 3. within 3 years after his or her initial
   75  enrollment unless the institution determines that an extension
   76  is warranted due to extenuating circumstances.
   77         (c) Subject to the availability of funds, a student who
   78  meets the requirements of paragraph (b) and is enrolled in the
   79  GATE Program is eligible to receive the stipend specified in s.
   80  1009.895(3).
   81         (d) An institution may not impose additional criteria to
   82  determine a student’s eligibility to receive a waiver under this
   83  section.
   84         (4) DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBILITIES.—In addition to
   85  administering the GATE Program, the Department of Education
   86  shall perform the following duties:
   87         (a) Disseminate information about the GATE Program to
   88  eligible institutions, local workforce development boards, and
   89  other local, regional, or state initiatives that interact with
   90  the GATE Program’s target population.
   91         (b) Connect prospective students directly to eligible
   92  institutions.
   93         (c) Provide access to online career planning tools.
   94         (5) REPORTING.—Beginning October 1, 2025, and each October
   95  1 thereafter, the Department of Education shall submit a report
   96  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
   97  the House of Representatives on the number and value of
   98  registration, tuition, laboratory, and examination fees and
   99  instructional materials costs waived and reimbursed, by
  100  institution; the number of students who have obtained a standard
  101  high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma while
  102  participating in the GATE Program; the number of students
  103  completing an applied technology diploma or career certificate
  104  while participating in the GATE Program; the number of students
  105  participating in the GATE Program who receive a stipend under s.
  106  1009.895(3); the number of students who have earned an industry
  107  certification on the CAPE Industry Certification Funding List
  108  while participating in the GATE Program; and the number of
  109  students who completed the GATE Program. The reporting period
  110  shall cover the previous academic year.
  111         (6) RULES.—The State Board of Education may adopt rules to
  112  implement this section.
  113         Section 2. Paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of section
  114  445.009, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  115         445.009 One-stop delivery system.—
  116         (1) The one-stop delivery system is the state’s primary
  117  customer-service strategy for offering every Floridian access,
  118  through service sites or telephone or computer networks, to the
  119  following services:
  120         (g) Adult education, and basic skills training, integrated
  121  education and training, and the Graduation Alternative to
  122  Traditional Education Program under s. 1004.933.
  123         Section 3. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
  124  1003.21, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  125         1003.21 School attendance.—
  126         (1)
  127         (c) A student who attains the age of 16 years during the
  128  school year is not subject to compulsory school attendance
  129  beyond the date upon which he or she attains that age if the
  130  student files a formal declaration of intent to terminate school
  131  enrollment with the district school board. Public school
  132  students who have attained the age of 16 years and who have not
  133  graduated are subject to compulsory school attendance until the
  134  formal declaration of intent is filed with the district school
  135  board. The declaration must acknowledge that terminating school
  136  enrollment is likely to reduce the student’s earning potential
  137  and must be signed by the student and the student’s parent. The
  138  school district shall notify the student’s parent of receipt of
  139  the student’s declaration of intent to terminate school
  140  enrollment. The student’s certified school counselor or other
  141  school personnel shall conduct an exit interview with the
  142  student to determine the reasons for the student’s decision to
  143  terminate school enrollment and actions that could be taken to
  144  keep the student in school. The student’s certified school
  145  counselor or other school personnel shall inform the student of
  146  opportunities to continue his or her education in a different
  147  environment, including, but not limited to, adult education, and
  148  high school equivalency examination preparation, and the
  149  Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education Program under s.
  150  1004.933. Additionally, the student shall complete a survey in a
  151  format prescribed by the Department of Education to provide data
  152  on student reasons for terminating enrollment and actions taken
  153  by schools to keep students enrolled.
  154         Section 4. Subsection (3) of section 1003.435, Florida
  155  Statutes, is amended to read:
  156         1003.435 High school equivalency diploma program.—
  157         (3) Each district school board shall:
  158         (a) Offer and administer the high school equivalency
  159  diploma examinations and the subject area examinations to all
  160  candidates pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education.
  161         (b)Notify each candidate of adult secondary and
  162  postsecondary education options available in or near the school
  163  district, including the Graduation Alternative to Traditional
  164  Education Program under s. 1004.933. The candidate must also be
  165  informed of the eligibility requirements and any minimum
  166  academic requirements for each available option.
  167         Section 5. Section 1009.711, Florida Statutes, is created
  168  to read:
  169         1009.711GATE Scholarship Program.—
  170         (1)The GATE Scholarship Program is created to financially
  171  support institutions participating in the GATE Program
  172  established pursuant to s. 1004.933.
  173         (2)The Department of Education shall administer the GATE
  174  Scholarship Program in accordance with rules adopted by the
  175  State Board of Education.
  176         (3)The GATE Scholarship Program shall reimburse eligible
  177  institutions for registration, tuition, laboratory, and
  178  examination fees and related instructional materials costs for
  179  students enrolled in the GATE Program. School district career
  180  centers and Florida College System institutions must be
  181  reimbursed at the in-state resident tuition rate established in
  182  s. 1009.22(3)(c).
  183         (4)Each participating institution shall report to the
  184  department all students enrolled in the GATE Program during the
  185  fall, spring, or summer terms within 30 days after the end of
  186  regular registration. For each eligible student, the institution
  187  shall report the total reimbursable expenses by category, which
  188  the department must consider in determining an institution’s
  189  award under this section. The department shall reimburse each
  190  participating institution no later than 30 days after the
  191  institution has reported enrollment for that term.
  192         (5)Reimbursements from the GATE Scholarship Program are
  193  contingent upon an annual appropriation in the General
  194  Appropriations Act. If the statewide reimbursement amount is
  195  greater than the appropriation, the institutional reimbursement
  196  amounts specified in subsection (3) must be prorated among the
  197  institutions that have timely reported eligible students to the
  198  department.
  199         (6)The State Board of Education may adopt rules to
  200  implement this section.
  201         Section 6. Subsection (10) of section 1011.80, Florida
  202  Statutes, is amended to read:
  203         1011.80 Funds for operation of workforce education
  204  programs.—
  205         (10) A high school student dually enrolled under s.
  206  1007.271 in a workforce education program operated by a Florida
  207  College System institution or school district career center
  208  generates the amount calculated for workforce education funding,
  209  including any payment of performance funding, and the
  210  proportional share of full-time equivalent enrollment generated
  211  through the Florida Education Finance Program for the student’s
  212  enrollment in a high school. If a high school student is dually
  213  enrolled in a Florida College System institution program,
  214  including a program conducted at a high school, the Florida
  215  College System institution earns the funds generated for
  216  workforce education funding, and the school district earns the
  217  proportional share of full-time equivalent funding from the
  218  Florida Education Finance Program. If a student is dually
  219  enrolled in a career center operated by the same district as the
  220  district in which the student attends high school, that district
  221  earns the funds generated for workforce education funding and
  222  also earns the proportional share of full-time equivalent
  223  funding from the Florida Education Finance Program. If a student
  224  is dually enrolled in a workforce education program provided by
  225  a career center operated by a different school district, the
  226  funds must be divided between the two school districts
  227  proportionally from the two funding sources. A student may not
  228  be reported for funding in a dual enrollment workforce education
  229  program unless the student has completed the basic skills
  230  assessment pursuant to s. 1004.91. A student who is coenrolled
  231  in a K-12 education program and an adult education program may
  232  be reported for purposes of funding in an adult education
  233  program. If a student is coenrolled in core curricula courses
  234  for credit recovery or dropout prevention purposes and does not
  235  have a pattern of excessive absenteeism or habitual truancy or a
  236  history of disruptive behavior in school, the student may be
  237  reported for funding for up to four two courses per year. Such a
  238  student is exempt from the payment of the block tuition for
  239  adult general education programs provided in s. 1009.22(3)(c).
  240  The Department of Education shall develop a list of courses to
  241  be designated as core curricula courses for the purposes of
  242  coenrollment.
  243         Section 7. Section 1011.804, Florida Statutes, is created
  244  to read:
  245         1011.804GATE Startup Grant Program.—
  246         (1)The GATE Startup Grant Program is established within
  247  the Department of Education to fund and support the startup and
  248  implementation of the GATE Program, subject to legislative
  249  appropriation. The purpose of the grant program is to increase
  250  access to programs that support adult learners earning a high
  251  school credential, either a high school diploma or its
  252  equivalent, and a workforce credential aligned to statewide or
  253  regional demand. The department shall administer the grants,
  254  determine eligibility, and distribute grant awards.
  255         (2)The department may solicit proposals from school
  256  districts and Florida College System institutions without
  257  programs that meet the requirements of s. 1004.933(2). Such
  258  school districts and institutions must be located in or serve a
  259  rural area of opportunity as designated by the Governor.
  260         (3)The department shall prioritize grant proposals that
  261  combine adult basic education, adult secondary education, and
  262  career education programs at one location or allow students to
  263  complete programs through distance learning. An applicant may
  264  not receive more than 10 percent of the total amount
  265  appropriated for the program.
  266         (4)The department shall make the grant application
  267  available to potential applicants no later than August 15, 2024.
  268  A grant proposal must include:
  269         (a)The Florida College System institution or institutions
  270  that will provide the adult basic education, adult secondary
  271  education, and career education programs;
  272         (b)The proposed adult basic education and adult secondary
  273  education program or programs the institution or institutions
  274  will provide, and the projected enrollment for such program or
  275  programs;
  276         (c)The proposed career education program or programs the
  277  institution or institutions will provide and the projected
  278  enrollment for such program or programs;
  279         (d)The credential or credentials associated with the
  280  career education program or programs. Such credential or
  281  credentials must be included on the Master Credentials List
  282  under s. 445.004(4);
  283         (e)The cost of instruction for all programs contemplated
  284  in the proposal, including costs for tuition, fees,
  285  registration, and laboratory, examination, and instructional
  286  materials costs;
  287         (f)Outreach strategies, including collaboration with local
  288  workforce development boards; and
  289         (g)A plan or timeline for implementing s. 1004.933 and
  290  enrolling students.
  291         (5)Grant funds may be used for planning activities and
  292  other expenses associated with the creation of the GATE Program,
  293  such as expenses related to program instruction, instructional
  294  equipment, supplies, instructional personnel, and student
  295  services. Grant funds may not be used for indirect costs. Grant
  296  recipients must submit an annual report in a format prescribed
  297  by the department. The department shall consolidate such annual
  298  reports and include the reports in the report required by s.
  299  1004.933(5).
  300         (6)The State Board of Education may adopt rules to
  301  administer this section.
  302         Section 8. Section 1011.8041, Florida Statutes, is created
  303  to read:
  304         1011.8041 GATE Program Performance Fund.—
  305         (1) The GATE Program Performance Fund is created to reward
  306  school districts and Florida College System institutions for the
  307  documented success of students participating in the GATE Program
  308  established under s. 1004.933.
  309         (2) As used in this section, the term “institution” means a
  310  school district career center established under s. 1001.44, a
  311  charter technical career center established under s. 1002.34, or
  312  a Florida College System institution identified in s. 1000.21
  313  which offers the GATE Program pursuant to s. 1004.933.
  314         (3) Subject to legislative appropriation, each
  315  participating institution must receive $1,000 per student who
  316  completes the GATE Program by completing the adult secondary
  317  education program and the career education program within 3
  318  years. If the student completed the adult secondary education
  319  program and the career education programs at different
  320  institutions, then each institution must receive $500. If funds
  321  are insufficient to fully fund the calculated total award, such
  322  funds must be prorated among the institutions.
  323         (4) The State Board of Education may adopt rules to
  324  implement this section.
  325         Section 9. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.
  327  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  328  And the title is amended as follows:
  329         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  330  and insert:
  331                        A bill to be entitled                      
  332         An act relating to education; creating s. 1004.933,
  333         F.S.; providing legislative intent; establishing the
  334         Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE)
  335         Program within the Department of Education; providing
  336         definitions; requiring institutions to waive payments
  337         for specified student fees; providing eligibility
  338         requirements; providing that students participating in
  339         the program are eligible for a specified stipend under
  340         certain circumstances; prohibiting an institution from
  341         imposing additional eligibility requirements;
  342         providing department responsibilities; providing
  343         department reporting requirements; authorizing the
  344         State Board of Education to adopt rules; amending s.
  345         445.009, F.S.; revising the services to which the one
  346         stop delivery system is intended to provide access;
  347         amending s. 1003.21, F.S.; requiring a student’s
  348         certified school counselor or other school personnel
  349         to inform the student of opportunities in the GATE
  350         Program; amending s. 1003.435, F.S.; requiring
  351         district school boards to notify all candidates for
  352         the high school equivalency diploma of adult secondary
  353         and postsecondary education options, including
  354         specified eligibility requirements; creating s.
  355         1009.711, F.S.; creating the GATE Scholarship Program;
  356         requiring the department to administer the program;
  357         requiring the program to reimburse eligible
  358         institutions for specified student fees and costs;
  359         requiring participating institutions to report
  360         specified information to the department; requiring the
  361         department to reimburse participating institutions
  362         within a specified timeframe; providing that
  363         reimbursements are contingent upon legislative
  364         appropriation and must be prorated under certain
  365         circumstances; authorizing the state board to adopt
  366         rules; amending s. 1011.80, F.S.; revising the number
  367         of courses for which certain students may be reported
  368         for certain funding purposes; providing that such
  369         courses do not have to be core curricula courses;
  370         deleting a requirement that the department develop a
  371         list of courses to be designated as core curricula
  372         courses; creating s. 1011.804, F.S.; establishing the
  373         GATE Startup Grant Program within the department for a
  374         specified purpose; providing eligibility requirements;
  375         providing department duties; providing requirements
  376         for grant proposals, grant awards, and the use of
  377         grant funds; providing reporting requirements;
  378         authorizing the state board to adopt rules; creating
  379         s. 1011.8041, F.S.; creating the GATE Program
  380         Performance Fund for a specified purpose; defining the
  381         term “institution”; subject to legislative
  382         appropriation, requiring each participating
  383         institution to receive a specified amount of money per
  384         student, subject to certain conditions; authorizing
  385         the state board to adopt rules; providing an effective
  386         date.