January 27, 2020
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HB 0313CS

CHAMBER ACTION




1The Committee on Education K-20 recommends the following:
2
3     Committee Substitute
4     Remove the entire bill and insert:
5
A bill to be entitled
6An act relating to scholarship program accountability;
7amending s. 220.187, F.S., relating to credits for
8contributions to nonprofit scholarship-funding
9organizations; removing a cap on contributions to a single
10eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization;
11revising definition of the terms "eligible nonprofit
12scholarship-funding organization" and "qualified student";
13defining the term "owner or operator"; reducing small
14business credit reservation; providing for rescindment of
15tax credit allocation; authorizing scholarships for
16transportation expenses to lab schools; providing
17restrictions on receipt of a scholarship; providing for
18obligation of eligible contributions; requiring a separate
19account for scholarship funds; authorizing transfer of
20funds between scholarship-funding organizations;
21specifying audit requirements; requiring attendance
22verification prior to scholarship payment; requiring
23quarterly scholarship payments; requiring quarterly
24reports; requiring income verification; requiring
25fingerprinting and criminal background checks; providing
26restrictions on scholarship-funding organization ownership
27or operation; providing for reporting of noncompliant
28private schools; providing for equal opportunity;
29providing for private school availability; providing for a
30line of credit; providing for parent and student
31obligations; prohibiting power of attorney for endorsing
32scholarship checks; revising fiscal soundness requirements
33for private schools; providing for additional private
34school obligations, including compliance with specified
35laws, employment of qualified teachers, and provision of
36student testing; requiring fingerprinting and criminal
37background checks; prohibiting certain types of
38educational programs; providing Department of Education
39and Commissioner of Education obligations and
40responsibilities, including verification of eligibility of
41program participants, investigation of violations,
42analysis of student performance data, and authority to
43suspend or prohibit participation in the scholarship
44program; requiring State Board of Education rules;
45providing for Department of Financial Services
46obligations; amending s. 1002.39, F.S., relating to the
47John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
48Program; revising definition of the term "students with
49disabilities"; restricting eligibility to receive a John
50M. McKay Scholarship; providing Department of Education
51obligations to establish an information hotline,
52investigate private school violations, and retain records;
53revising requirements for private school fiscal soundness;
54revising eligibility requirements for private schools,
55including compliance with specified laws and rules and
56maintenance of a physical location in the state, with an
57exception; requiring fingerprinting and criminal
58background checks; prohibiting certain types of
59educational programs; prohibiting power of attorney for
60endorsing scholarship checks; revising provisions relating
61to scholarship payment; providing for Department of
62Financial Services obligations; providing Commissioner of
63Education authority to suspend or prohibit program
64participation; providing an effective date.
65
66Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
67
68     Section 1.  Section 220.187, Florida Statutes, is amended
69to read:
70     220.187  Credits for contributions to nonprofit
71scholarship-funding organizations.--
72     (1)  PURPOSE.--The purpose of this section is to:
73     (a)  Encourage private, voluntary contributions to
74nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations.
75     (b)  Expand educational opportunities for children of
76families that have limited financial resources.
77     (c)  Enable children in this state to achieve a greater
78level of excellence in their education.
79     (2)  DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:
80     (a)  "Department" means the Department of Revenue.
81     (b)  "Eligible contribution" means a monetary contribution
82from a taxpayer, subject to the restrictions provided in this
83section, to an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
84organization. The taxpayer making the contribution may not
85designate a specific child as the beneficiary of the
86contribution. The taxpayer may not contribute more than $5
87million to any single eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
88organization.
89     (c)(d)  "Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
90organization" means a charitable organization that is exempt
91from federal income tax pursuant to s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal
92Revenue Code, that is a Florida entity formed under chapter 607,
93chapter 608, or chapter 617 and whose principal office is
94located in the state, and that complies with the provisions of
95subsection (4).
96     (d)(c)  "Eligible private nonpublic school" means a private
97nonpublic school located in Florida that offers an education to
98students in any grades K-12 and that meets the requirements in
99subsection (6)(5).
100     (e)  "Owner or operator" includes:
101     1.  An owner, president, officer, or director of an
102eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or a person
103with equivalent decisionmaking authority over an eligible
104nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
105     2.  An owner, operator, superintendent, or principal of an
106eligible private school or a person with equivalent
107decisionmaking authority over an eligible private school.
108     (f)(e)  "Qualified student" means a student who qualifies
109for free or reduced-price school lunches under the National
110School Lunch Act and who:
111     1.  Was counted as a full-time equivalent student during
112the previous state fiscal year for purposes of state per-student
113funding;
114     2.  Received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit
115scholarship-funding organization during the previous school
116year; or
117     3.  Is eligible to enter kindergarten or first grade.
118
119However, for purposes of continuity of educational choice, a
120student who is a qualified student shall remain a qualified
121student notwithstanding a change in the family's economic status
122up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
123     (3)  AUTHORIZATION TO GRANT SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING TAX
124CREDITS; LIMITATIONS ON INDIVIDUAL AND TOTAL CREDITS.--
125     (a)  There is allowed a credit of 100 percent of an
126eligible contribution against any tax due for a taxable year
127under this chapter. However, such a credit may not exceed 75
128percent of the tax due under this chapter for the taxable year,
129after the application of any other allowable credits by the
130taxpayer. However, at least 5 percent of the total statewide
131amount authorized for the tax credit shall be reserved for
132taxpayers who meet the definition of a small business provided
133in s. 288.703(1) at the time of application. The credit granted
134by this section shall be reduced by the difference between the
135amount of federal corporate income tax taking into account the
136credit granted by this section and the amount of federal
137corporate income tax without application of the credit granted
138by this section.
139     (b)  The total amount of tax credits and carryforward of
140tax credits which may be granted each state fiscal year under
141this section is $88 million. However, at least 1 percent of the
142total statewide amount authorized for tax credits shall be
143reserved for taxpayers who meet the definition of a small
144business provided in s. 288.703(1) at the time of application.
145     (c)  A taxpayer who files a Florida consolidated return as
146a member of an affiliated group pursuant to s. 220.131(1) may be
147allowed the credit on a consolidated return basis; however, the
148total credit taken by the affiliated group is subject to the
149limitation established under paragraph (a).
150     (d)  A taxpayer may rescind all or part of its allocated
151tax credit under this section. The amount of the rescindment
152shall become available for purposes of the cap for that state
153fiscal year under this section to an eligible taxpayer as
154approved by the department if the taxpayer receives notice from
155the department that the rescindment has been accepted by the
156department, the taxpayer has not previously rescinded any or all
157of its tax credit allocation under this section more than once
158in the previous 3 tax years, and the taxpayer has not made a
159contribution pursuant to its approved application for tax credit
160under this section. Any amount rescinded under this paragraph
161shall become available to an eligible taxpayer on a first-come,
162first-served basis based on tax credit applications received
163after the date the rescindment is accepted by the department.
164     (4)  OBLIGATIONS OF ELIGIBLE NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING
165ORGANIZATIONS.--An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
166organization participating in the scholarship program
167established in this section shall have the following
168obligations:
169     (a)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
170shall provide corporate income tax credit scholarships, from
171eligible contributions, to qualified students for:
172     1.  Tuition or textbook expenses for, or transportation to,
173an eligible private nonpublic school. At least 75 percent of
174each the scholarship funding must be used to pay tuition
175expenses; or
176     2.  Transportation expenses to a Florida public school that
177is located outside the district in which the student resides or
178to a lab school as defined in s. 1002.32.
179     (b)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
180shall give priority to qualified students who received a
181scholarship from an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
182organization during the previous school year.
183     (c)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
184shall not provide a scholarship to a student who is receiving an
185opportunity scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.38 or a John M.
186McKay Scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.39. In addition, an
187eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall not
188provide a scholarship to a student who is receiving a corporate
189income tax credit scholarship from another eligible nonprofit
190scholarship-funding organization.
191     (d)(c)  The amount of a scholarship provided to any child
192for any single school year by an all eligible nonprofit
193scholarship-funding organization organizations from eligible
194contributions shall not exceed the following annual limits:
195     1.  Three thousand five hundred dollars for a scholarship
196awarded to a student enrolled in an eligible private nonpublic
197school.
198     2.  Five hundred dollars for a scholarship awarded to a
199student enrolled in a Florida public school that is located
200outside the district in which the student resides or in a lab
201school as defined in s. 1002.32.
202     (e)(d)  The amount of an eligible contribution which may be
203accepted by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
204organization is limited to the amount needed to provide
205scholarships for qualified students which the organization has
206identified and for which vacancies in eligible private nonpublic
207schools have been identified.
208     (f)(e)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
209organization that receives an eligible contribution must
210obligate spend 100 percent of the eligible contribution to
211provide scholarships in the same state fiscal year in which the
212contribution was received. No portion of eligible contributions
213may be used for administrative expenses. All interest accrued
214from contributions must be used for scholarships.
215     (g)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
216must maintain separate accounts for scholarship funds and
217operating funds.
218     (h)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
219may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit scholarship-
220funding organization when additional funds are required to meet
221scholarship demand. The scholarship-funding organization
222transferring funds must request approval for the transfer from
223the Department of Education and provide documentation to support
224the transfer, including a listing of the scholarships to be
225funded from the transfer. The Department of Education shall
226verify the listing of students to receive scholarships from the
227transfer. No funds may be transferred unless matching eligible
228scholarship recipients can be identified by the scholarship-
229funding organization receiving the transfer.
230     (i)(f)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
231organization that receives eligible contributions must provide
232to the Auditor General and the Department of Education an annual
233financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records
234conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in
235accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor General. The audit
236must be conducted in compliance with generally accepted auditing
237standards and must include a report on financial statements
238presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting
239Principles set forth by the American Institute of Certified
240Public Accountants for not-for-profit organizations and a
241determination of compliance with the statutory eligibility and
242expenditure requirements set forth in this section. Audits must
243be provided to the Auditor General and the Department of
244Education within 120 days after completion of the nonprofit
245scholarship-funding organization's fiscal year.
246     (j)(g)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
247organization shall obtain verification from the private school
248of a student's continued attendance at the school prior to each
249scholarship payment. Payment of the scholarship shall be made by
250the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization no less
251frequently than on a quarterly basis. Payment of the scholarship
252by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall
253be by individual warrant or check made payable to the student's
254parent. If the parent chooses for his or her child to attend an
255eligible private nonpublic school, the warrant or check must be
256mailed by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
257organization to the private nonpublic school of the parent's
258choice, and the parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant
259or check to the private nonpublic school. An eligible nonprofit
260scholarship-funding organization shall ensure that, upon receipt
261of a scholarship warrant or check, the parent to whom the
262warrant or check is made restrictively endorses the warrant or
263check to the private nonpublic school of the parent's choice for
264deposit into the account of the private nonpublic school.
265     (k)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
266must prepare and submit quarterly reports to the Department of
267Education pursuant to subsection (7). In addition, an eligible
268nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must submit in a
269timely manner any information requested by the Department of
270Education relating to the scholarship program.
271     (l)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
272must verify the income of all applicants participating in the
273scholarship program each year with independent income
274documentation.
275     (m)  An owner or operator of an eligible nonprofit
276scholarship-funding organization must, within 5 days after
277assuming ownership or decisionmaking authority, file with the
278Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints for
279state processing for a criminal background check. The costs of
280fingerprinting and the background check shall not be borne by
281the state. The results of the criminal background check shall be
282forwarded to the owner or operator and to the Department of
283Education.
284     (n)  A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose
285owner or operator in the last 7 years has filed for personal
286bankruptcy or corporate bankruptcy in a corporation in which he
287or she owned more than 20 percent of the corporation shall not
288be eligible to provide scholarships under this section.
289     (o)  An owner or operator of an eligible nonprofit
290scholarship-funding organization is prohibited from owning or
291operating an eligible private school that is participating in
292the scholarship program.
293     (p)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
294shall report to the Department of Education any private school
295that is not in compliance with the requirements of the
296scholarship program. The eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
297organization shall not provide additional scholarship funds to a
298parent for a student to attend the private school until a
299determination is made by the Commissioner of Education that the
300school is in compliance with the requirements of the scholarship
301program.
302     (q)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
303shall not discriminate in the provision of scholarships to a
304qualified student based on the student's race, color, national
305origin, sex, or religion.
306     (r)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
307shall allow a qualified student to attend any eligible private
308school and shall allow a parent to transfer a scholarship during
309a school year to any other eligible private school of the
310parent's choice.
311     (s)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
312shall not target scholarships to a particular private school or
313provide scholarships to children of employees of the nonprofit
314scholarship-funding organization.
315     (t)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
316may obtain a secured line of credit to fund scholarship payments
317based on estimated contributions to be received within a 6-
318month period. These funds may only be used to provide
319scholarship payments. Interest and fees related to the line of
320credit shall be paid from the scholarship-funding organization's
321operating budget and not from contributions or loan proceeds.
322     (5)  PARENT OBLIGATIONS OF PARENTS AND STUDENTS.--
323     (a)  As a condition for scholarship payment pursuant to
324paragraph (4)(j)(g), if the parent chooses for his or her child
325to attend an eligible private nonpublic school, the parent must
326inform the child's school district within 15 days after such
327decision.
328     (b)  A student is not eligible to receive a corporate
329income tax credit scholarship if he or she is receiving an
330opportunity scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.38 or a John M.
331McKay Scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.39. A student is not
332eligible to receive a scholarship from more than one eligible
333nonprofit scholarship-funding organization. A student is not
334eligible to receive a corporate income tax credit scholarship if
335the family's economic status exceeds 200 percent of the federal
336poverty level.
337     (c)  Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant or check from
338the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, the
339parent to whom the warrant or check is made must restrictively
340endorse the warrant or check to the private school for deposit
341into the account of the private school. A private school may not
342act as attorney in fact for parents of a scholarship student
343under the authority of a power of attorney executed by such
344parents or under any other authority allowing endorsement of
345scholarship warrants on behalf of parents. If a parent refuses
346to restrictively endorse a warrant to which a private school is
347entitled, that student's scholarship shall be forfeited
348immediately.
349     (d)  Any student participating in the scholarship program
350must remain in attendance throughout the school year unless
351excused by the school for illness or other good cause and must
352comply fully with the school's code of conduct.
353     (e)  The parent of a student participating in the
354scholarship program must comply fully with the private school's
355parental involvement requirements unless excused by the school
356for illness or other good cause.
357     (f)  The parent of a student participating in the
358scholarship program must ensure that the student participates in
359the nationally norm-referenced testing required by this section.
360Students with disabilities for whom standardized testing is not
361appropriate are exempt from this requirement.
362     (g)  A participant in the scholarship program who fails to
363comply with this subsection forfeits the scholarship.
364     (6)  ELIGIBLE PRIVATE NONPUBLIC SCHOOL OBLIGATIONS.--An
365eligible private nonpublic school must:
366     (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation for
3673 school years or obtain one school year or provide the
368Department of Education with a statement by a certified public
369accountant confirming that the nonpublic school desiring to
370participate is insured and the owner or owners have sufficient
371capital or credit to operate the school for the upcoming year
372serving the number of students anticipated with expected
373revenues from tuition and other sources that may be reasonably
374expected. In lieu of such a statement, a surety bond or letter
375of credit for the amount equal to the scholarship funds for any
376quarter to may be filed with the Department of Education. The
377surety bond or letter of credit shall serve to secure
378expenditures of scholarship funds should such funds be found to
379have been used for unlawful purposes. However, if during the
380school year a private school exhibits financial difficulty or is
381otherwise not in compliance with this section, the Commissioner
382of Education may impose additional requirements on the private
383school, which may include additional security bonding.
384     (b)  Notify the Department of Education of its intent to
385participate in the scholarship program. The notice must specify
386the grade levels that the private school has available for
387students participating in the scholarship program.
388     (c)(b)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42
389U.S.C. s. 2000d.
390     (d)(c)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and
391codes, including, but not limited to, laws pertaining to:
392     1.  Fire safety.
393     2.  Building codes.
394     (e)(d)  Comply with all state laws relating to general
395regulation of private nonpublic schools, including, but not
396limited to, laws pertaining to:
397     1.  Annual private school survey required in s. 1002.42(2).
398     2.  Retention of records required in s. 1002.42(3).
399     3.  Attendance records and reports required in s.
4001003.23(2).
401     4.  School-entry health examinations and immunizations
402required in s. 1003.22.
403     5.  Attendance requirements prescribed in ss. 1003.01(13)
404and 1003.21(1).
405     (f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold
406baccalaureate or higher degrees, have at least 3 years of
407teaching experience in public or private schools, or have
408special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to
409provide instruction in subjects taught.
410     (g)  Annually administer or make provision for students
411participating in the scholarship program to take one of the
412nationally norm-referenced tests identified by the Department of
413Education. Students with disabilities for whom standardized
414testing is not appropriate are exempt from this requirement. A
415participating private school must report a student's scores to
416the parent and to the independent private research organization
417selected by the Department of Education pursuant to subsection
418(7).
419     (h)  Within 60 days after employment, for any private
420school owner-operator or private school manager, file with the
421Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints for
422state processing for a criminal background check. The costs of
423fingerprinting and the background check shall not be borne by
424the state. The results of a criminal background check shall be
425reported to the Department of Education. The owner or operator
426of the private school shall immediately report to the Department
427of Education any private school owner-operator or private school
428manager who has been convicted of a crime that bears upon the
429individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and
430well-being of children. Employment of such an individual shall
431cause a private school to be ineligible for participation in the
432scholarship program. An individual holding a valid Florida
433teaching certificate who has been fingerprinted pursuant to s.
4341012.32 shall not be required to comply with the provisions of
435this paragraph.
436     (i)  Annually comply with the requirements of the
437Department of Education to complete a sworn compliance form
438certifying compliance with state laws pursuant to subsection
439(7).
440     (j)  Notify the Department of Education and the eligible
441nonprofit scholarship-funding organization if any participating
442student is receiving a warrant or check from more than one
443eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
444     (k)  Comply with all applicable state agency rules relating
445to private schools.
446     (l)  Not operate as a home education program as defined in
447ss. 1002.01 and 1002.41, a correspondence course program, or a
448private tutoring program as described in s. 1002.43.
449
450The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
451this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
452of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
453as determined by the Department of Education.
454     (7)  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION,
455AND STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS; RESPONSIBILITIES.--
456     (a)  The Department of Education shall:
457     1.  Annually submit to the Department of Revenue, by March
45815, a list of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
459organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(c).
460     2.  Verify the eligibility of nonprofit scholarship-funding
461organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(c).
462     3.  Verify the eligibility of private schools that meet the
463requirements of paragraph (2)(d).
464     4.  Verify the eligibility of expenditures as provided in
465subsection (4).
466     5.  Establish a toll-free hotline that provides parents,
467private schools, and nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations
468with information on participation in the scholarship program.
469     6.  Establish a process by which individuals may notify the
470Department of Education of any violation by a private school or
471nonprofit scholarship-funding organization of state laws
472relating to scholarship program participation. The department
473shall conduct an investigation of any written complaint of a
474violation of this section if the complaint is signed by the
475complainant and is legally sufficient. A complaint is legally
476sufficient if it contains ultimate facts that show that a
477violation of this section or any rule adopted by the State Board
478of Education or other state agency has occurred. In order to
479determine legal sufficiency, the Department of Education may
480require supporting information or documentation from the
481complainant.
482     7.  Require annual completion of a sworn compliance form by
483participating private schools certifying compliance with state
484laws and retain such records.
485     8.  Identify all nationally norm-referenced tests that are
486comparable to the norm-referenced test portions of the Florida
487Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
488     9.  Select an independent private research organization to
489which participating private schools must report the scores of
490participating students on the nationally norm-referenced tests
491administered by the private school. The independent private
492research organization must annually report to the Department of
493Education on the year-to-year improvements of the participating
494students. The independent private research organization must
495analyze and report student performance data in a manner that
496protects the rights of students and parents as mandated in 20
497U.S.C. s. 1232g and must not disaggregate data to a level that
498will disclose the academic level of individuals or of individual
499schools. To the extent possible, the independent private
500research organization must accumulate historical performance
501data on students from the Department of Education and private
502schools to describe baseline performance and to conduct
503longitudinal studies. To minimize costs and reduce time required
504for third-party analysis and evaluation, the Department of
505Education shall conduct analyses of matched students from public
506school assessment data and calculate control group learning
507gains using an agreed upon methodology outlined in the contract
508with the third-party evaluator. The sharing of student data must
509be in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy
510Act requirements and shall be for the sole purpose of conducting
511the evaluation. All parties must preserve the confidentiality of
512such information.
513     10.  Provide a private school profile on-line for those
514private schools participating in the scholarship program.
515     11.  Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
516organization of any of the organization's identified students
517who are receiving an opportunity scholarship pursuant to s.
5181002.38 or a John M. McKay Scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.39.
519     12.  Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
520organization of any of the organization's identified students
521who are receiving a corporate income tax credit scholarship from
522another eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
523     13.  Require quarterly reports by an eligible nonprofit
524scholarship-funding organization regarding the number of
525students participating in the scholarship program, the private
526schools at which the students are enrolled, and other
527information deemed necessary by the Department of Education.
528     14.  Regularly cross-check the list of participating
529scholarship students with the public school enrollment lists to
530avoid duplication.
531     (b)  The Commissioner of Education is authorized to suspend
532or prohibit an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
533organization from participation in the scholarship program and
534to take other action necessary to ensure compliance with the
535provisions of this section.
536     (c)  The State Board of Education shall adopt rules
537pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the
538provisions of this subsection, including rules to determine the
539eligibility of nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations and
540to identify qualified students.
541     (8)(7)  ADMINISTRATION; RULES.--
542     (a)  If the credit granted pursuant to this section is not
543fully used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability
544on the part of the corporation, the unused amount may be carried
545forward for a period not to exceed 3 years; however, any
546taxpayer that seeks to carry forward an unused amount of tax
547credit must submit an application for allocation of tax credits
548or carryforward credits as required in paragraph (d) in the year
549that the taxpayer intends to use the carryforward. The total
550amount of tax credits and carryforward of tax credits granted
551each state fiscal year under this section is $88 million. This
552carryforward applies to all approved contributions made after
553January 1, 2002. A taxpayer may not convey, assign, or transfer
554the credit authorized by this section to another entity unless
555all of the assets of the taxpayer are conveyed, assigned, or
556transferred in the same transaction.
557     (b)  An application for a tax credit pursuant to this
558section shall be submitted to the department on forms
559established by rule of the department.
560     (c)  The department and the Department of Education shall
561develop a cooperative agreement to assist in the administration
562of this section. The Department of Education shall be
563responsible for annually submitting, by March 15, to the
564department a list of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
565organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(d) and
566for monitoring eligibility of nonprofit scholarship-funding
567organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(d),
568eligibility of nonpublic schools that meet the requirements of
569paragraph (2)(c), and eligibility of expenditures under this
570section as provided in subsection (4).
571     (d)  The department shall adopt rules necessary to
572administer this section, including rules establishing
573application forms and procedures and governing the allocation of
574tax credits and carryforward credits under this section on a
575first-come, first-served basis.
576     (e)  Subsequent to each scholarship payment, the Department
577of Financial Services shall randomly review endorsed warrants to
578confirm compliance with endorsement requirements. The Department
579of Education shall adopt rules necessary to determine
580eligibility of nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations as
581defined in paragraph (2)(d) and according to the provisions of
582subsection (4) and identify qualified students as defined in
583paragraph (2)(e).
584     (9)(8)  DEPOSITS OF ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS.--All eligible
585contributions received by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-
586funding organization shall be deposited in a manner consistent
587with s. 17.57(2).
588     Section 2.  Subsections (1), (2), and (4), paragraph (f) of
589subsection (5), and paragraph (f) of subsection (6) of section
5901002.39, Florida Statutes, are amended, paragraphs (g) through
591(j) are added to subsection (3), paragraph (g) is added to
592subsection (6), subsection (8) is renumbered as subsection (9),
593and a new subsection (8) is added to said section, to read:
594     1002.39  The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with
595Disabilities Program.--There is established a program that is
596separate and distinct from the Opportunity Scholarship Program
597and is named the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with
598Disabilities Program, pursuant to this section.
599     (1)  THE JOHN M. MCKAY SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH
600DISABILITIES PROGRAM.--The John M. McKay Scholarships for
601Students with Disabilities Program is established to provide the
602option to attend a public school other than the one to which
603assigned, or to provide a scholarship to a private school of
604choice, for students with disabilities for whom an individual
605education plan has been written in accordance with rules of the
606State Board of Education.  Students with disabilities include K-
60712 students who are documented as having mental retardation; a
608mentally handicapped, speech or and language impairment; a
609impaired, deaf or hard of hearing impairment, including
610deafness; a visual impairment, including blindness; a, visually
611impaired, dual sensory impairment; a physical impairment; a
612serious emotional disturbance, including an emotional handicap;
613a impaired, physically impaired, emotionally handicapped,
614specific learning disability, including, but not limited to,
615dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; a traumatic
616brain injury; disabled, hospitalized or homebound, or autism
617autistic.
618     (2)  SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY.--The parent of a public
619school student with a disability who is dissatisfied with the
620student's progress may request and receive from the state a John
621M. McKay Scholarship for the child to enroll in and attend a
622private school in accordance with this section if:
623     (a)  By assigned school attendance area or by special
624assignment, the student has spent the prior school year in
625attendance at a Florida public school. Prior school year in
626attendance means that the student was enrolled and reported by a
627school district for funding during the preceding October and
628February Florida Education Finance Program surveys in
629kindergarten through grade 12.
630     (b)  The parent has obtained acceptance for admission of
631the student to a private school that is eligible for the program
632under subsection (4) and has notified the school district of the
633request for a scholarship at least 60 days prior to the date of
634the first scholarship payment. The parental notification must be
635through a communication directly to the district or through the
636Department of Education to the district in a manner that creates
637a written or electronic record of the notification and the date
638of receipt of the notification.
639
640This section does not apply to A student is not eligible to
641receive a John M. McKay Scholarship if he or she receives an
642opportunity scholarship or a corporate tax credit scholarship or
643who is enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
644providing educational services to youth in Department of
645Juvenile Justice commitment program programs. For purposes of
646continuity of educational choice, the scholarship shall remain
647in force until the student returns to a public school or
648graduates from high school. However, at any time, the student's
649parent may remove the student from the private school and place
650the student in another private school that is eligible for the
651program under subsection (4) or in a public school as provided
652in subsection (3).
653     (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
654OBLIGATIONS.--
655     (g)  The Department of Education shall establish a toll-
656free hotline that provides parents and private schools with
657information on participation in the John M. McKay Scholarships
658for Students with Disabilities Program.
659     (h)  The Department of Education shall establish a process
660by which individuals may notify the department of any violation
661by a private school of state laws relating to program
662participation. The department shall conduct an investigation of
663any written complaint of a violation of this section if the
664complaint is signed by the complainant and is legally
665sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it contains
666ultimate facts that show that a violation of this section or any
667rule adopted by the State Board of Education or other state
668agency has occurred. In order to determine legal sufficiency,
669the Department of Education may require supporting information
670or documentation from the complainant.
671     (i)  The Department of Education shall require annual
672completion of a sworn compliance form by participating private
673schools certifying compliance with state laws and shall retain
674such records.
675     (j)  The Department of Education shall regularly cross-
676check the list of participating scholarship students with the
677public school enrollment lists to avoid duplication.
678     (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY.--To be eligible to
679participate in the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with
680Disabilities Program, a private school must be a Florida private
681school, as defined in s. 1002.01(2), may be sectarian or
682nonsectarian, and must:
683     (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation for
6843 school years or obtain 1 school year or provide the Department
685of Education with a statement by a certified public accountant
686confirming that the private school desiring to participate is
687insured and the owner or owners have sufficient capital or
688credit to operate the school for the upcoming year serving the
689number of students anticipated with expected revenues from
690tuition and other sources that may be reasonably expected. In
691lieu of such a statement, a surety bond or letter of credit for
692the amount equal to the scholarship funds for any quarter to may
693be filed with the Department of Education. The surety bond or
694letter of credit shall serve to secure expenditures of
695scholarship funds should such funds be found to have been used
696for unlawful purposes. However, if during the school year a
697private school exhibits financial difficulty or is otherwise not
698in compliance with this section, the Commissioner of Education
699may impose additional requirements on the private school, which
700may include additional security bonding.
701     (b)  Notify the Department of Education of its intent to
702participate in the program under this section. The notice must
703specify the grade levels and services that the private school
704has available for students with disabilities who are
705participating in the scholarship program.
706     (c)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42
707U.S.C. s. 2000d.
708     (d)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and codes,
709including, but not limited to, laws pertaining to:
710     1.  Fire safety.
711     2.  Building codes.
712     (e)  Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
713the educational needs of the student by providing to the parent
714a written explanation of the student's progress.
715     (f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold
716baccalaureate or higher degrees, or have at least 3 years of
717teaching experience in public or private schools, or have
718special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to
719provide instruction in subjects taught.
720     (g)  Comply with all state laws relating to general
721regulation of private schools, including, but not limited to,
722laws pertaining to:
723     1.  Annual private school survey required in s. 1002.42(2).
724     2.  Retention of records required in s. 1002.42(3).
725     3.  Attendance records and reports required in s.
7261003.23(2).
727     4.  School-entry health examinations and immunizations
728required in s. 1003.22.
729     5.  Attendance requirements prescribed in ss. 1003.01(13)
730and 1003.21(1).
731     (h)  Adhere to the tenets of its published disciplinary
732procedures prior to the expulsion of a scholarship student.
733     (i)  Within 60 days after employment, for any private
734school owner-operator or private school manager, file with the
735Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints for
736state processing for a criminal background check. The costs of
737fingerprinting and the background check shall not be borne by
738the state. The results of a criminal background check shall be
739reported to the Department of Education. The owner or operator
740of the private school shall immediately report to the Department
741of Education any private school owner-operator or private school
742manager who has been convicted of a crime that bears upon the
743individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and
744well-being of children. Employment of such an individual shall
745cause a private school to be ineligible for participation in the
746scholarship program. An individual holding a valid Florida
747teaching certificate who has been fingerprinted pursuant to s.
7481012.32 shall not be required to comply with the provisions of
749this paragraph.
750     (j)  Annually comply with the requirements of the
751Department of Education to complete a sworn compliance form
752certifying compliance with state laws pursuant to subsection
753(3). The form and timeline for submission of the compliance form
754shall be specified in rules adopted by the State Board of
755Education.
756     (k)  Comply with all applicable state agency rules relating
757to private schools.
758     (l)  Not operate as a home education program as defined in
759ss. 1002.01 and 1002.41 or a private tutoring program as
760described in s. 1002.43.
761     (m)  Maintain a physical private school location in this
762state where a scholarship student regularly attends classes
763consistent with s. 1003.01(13)(b) or s. 1003.01(13)(c). However,
764this paragraph does not preclude a private school from offering
765services through a satellite-based service network that
766implements portions of the education or training of a John M.
767McKay Scholarship student as directed by a professional trained
768in special education. Such a school must meet all requirements
769relating to private schools and all other requirements in this
770section and shall:
771     1.  Make no payments to the parent of the child for
772services, equipment, instruction, or instructional materials.
773     2.  Employ and direct payment to qualified specialists who
774can meet the needs of the child as identified in the educational
775plan developed for the child.
776     3.  Have a physical location for processing services and
777providing oversight of the child's educational progress.
778     4.  Monitor and supervise work done by the parent and the
779specialists to follow the educational plan developed for the
780child.
781     (n)  Require the parent of each scholarship student to
782personally restrictively endorse the scholarship check to the
783school. The school may not:
784     1.  Act as attorney in fact for parents of a scholarship
785student under the authority of a power of attorney executed by
786such parents, or under any other authority, to endorse
787scholarship warrants on behalf of parents.
788     2.  Send or direct John M. McKay Scholarship funds to
789parents of a scholarship student who is home schooled pursuant
790to s. 1002.41.
791     3.  Accept a John M. McKay Scholarship student until the
792sworn compliance form has been completed, submitted to, and
793independently verified by the Department of Education.
794
795The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
796this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
797of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
798as determined by the Department of Education.
799     (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS.--
800     (f)  Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant, the parent to
801whom the warrant is made must restrictively endorse the warrant
802to the private school for deposit into the account of the
803private school. A private school may not act as attorney in fact
804pursuant to paragraph (4)(n).
805     (6)  SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING AND PAYMENT.--
806     (f)  Upon proper documentation reviewed and approved by the
807Department of Education, the Chief Financial Officer shall make
808scholarship payments in four equal amounts no later than
809September 1, November 1, February 1, and April 1 15 of each
810academic year in which the scholarship is in force. The initial
811payment shall be made after Department of Education verification
812of admission acceptance, and subsequent payments shall be made
813upon verification of continued enrollment and attendance at the
814private school. Payment must be by individual warrant made
815payable to the student's parent and mailed by the Department of
816Education to the private school of the parent's choice, and the
817parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant to the private
818school for deposit into the account of the private school.
819     (g)  Subsequent to each scholarship payment, the Department
820of Financial Services shall randomly review endorsed warrants to
821confirm compliance with endorsement requirements.
822     (8)  COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY.--The Commissioner of Education
823may suspend or prohibit a private school or a student from
824participation in the scholarship program and take other action
825necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this
826section.
827     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.


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