September 18, 2020
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Senate Bill 1180

Senate Bill sb1180c2

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180

    By the Committees on Appropriations, Education and Senator
    Pruitt




    309-1561-01

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to scholarships for students

  3         with disabilities; amending s. 229.05371, F.S.;

  4         creating the scholarship program for students

  5         with disabilities; providing for eligibility;

  6         establishing obligations of school districts;

  7         establishing criteria for private school

  8         eligibility; establishing obligations for

  9         program participants; providing for funding;

10         authorizing the State Board of Education to

11         adopt rules; providing an effective date.

12

13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

14

15         Section 1.  Section 229.05371, Florida Statutes, is

16  amended to read:

17         (Substantial rewording of section. See

18         s. 229.05371, F.S., for present text.)

19         229.05371  Scholarships to public or private school of

20  choice for students with disabilities.--

21         (1)  SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM.--There is established a

22  program, which is separate and distinct from the Opportunity

23  Scholarship Program, to provide scholarships to a public or

24  private school of choice for students with disabilities. A

25  student with a disability is one who has been determined

26  eligible for a special program and for whom an individual

27  education plan has been written in accordance with rules of

28  the Commissioner of Education or the State Board of Education.

29  Students with disabilities include students who are mentally

30  handicapped, speech and language impaired, deaf or hard of

31  hearing, visually impaired, dual sensory impaired, physically

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1  impaired, emotionally handicapped, specific learning disabled,

  2  hospitalized or homebound, or autistic.

  3         (2)  SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY.--Annually, prior to May

  4  1, the Department of Education must notify the parent of every

  5  public school student with a disability that his or her child

  6  may be eligible for a scholarship under this section. A public

  7  school student's parent or guardian may request and receive

  8  from the state a scholarship for the child to enroll in and

  9  attend a private school in accordance with this section if:

10         (a)  By assigned school attendance area or by special

11  assignment, the student has spent the prior school year in

12  attendance at a public school in this state; and

13         (b)  The parent or guardian has obtained acceptance for

14  admission of the student to a private school that is eligible

15  for the program under subsection (4), and has notified the

16  school district in writing of the request for a scholarship at

17  least 60 days prior to the date of the first scholarship

18  payment. Prior year in attendance means that the student was

19  in attendance and reported by a school district for funding as

20  a student with a disability for the preceding October or

21  February Florida Education Finance Program surveys in

22  kindergarten through grade 12.

23

24  This section does not apply to a student who is enrolled in a

25  school operating for the purpose of providing educational

26  services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice commitment

27  programs. For purposes of continuity of educational choice,

28  the scholarship shall remain in force until the student

29  returns to a public school or graduates from high school.

30  However, at any time, the student's parent or guardian may

31  remove the student from the private school and place the

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1  student in another participating private school or in a public

  2  school, as provided in subsection (3).

  3         (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS.--

  4         (a)  A school district shall timely notify the parent

  5  or guardian of the student of all options available pursuant

  6  to this section and offer that student's parent or guardian an

  7  opportunity to enroll the student in another public school

  8  within the district, consistent with the school board's choice

  9  plan under s. 228.057. The parent or guardian is not required

10  to accept this offer in lieu of requesting a scholarship to a

11  private school. However, if the parent chooses the public

12  school option, the student may continue attending a public

13  school chosen by the parent until the student graduates from

14  high school. When a parent chooses the public school option,

15  the school district will provide transportation to the public

16  school selected by the parent, consistent with the school

17  board's choice plan under s. 228.057.

18         (b)  For a student with disabilities who does not have

19  a matrix of services under s. 236.025, the school district

20  must complete a matrix that assigns the student to one of the

21  levels of service as they existed prior to the 2000-2001

22  school year. The school district must complete the matrix of

23  services for any student who is participating in the

24  scholarship program for students with disabilities and must

25  notify the Department of Education of the student's matrix

26  level within 30 days after receiving notification by the

27  student's parent of intent to participate in the scholarship

28  program. The Department of Education will notify the private

29  school of the amount of the scholarship within 10 days after

30  receiving the school district's notification of the student's

31  matrix level.

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1         (c)  If the parent chooses the private school option

  2  and the student is accepted by the private school pending the

  3  availability of a space for the student, the parent or

  4  guardian of the student must notify the school district 60

  5  days prior to entry in the private school in order to be

  6  eligible for the scholarship when a space becomes available

  7  for the student in the private school.

  8         (d)  The parent or guardian of a student may choose, as

  9  an alternative, to enroll the student in and transport the

10  student to a public school in an adjacent school district

11  which has available space, and that school district shall

12  accept the student and report the student for purposes of the

13  district's funding pursuant to the Florida Education Finance

14  Program.

15         (e)  For a student in the district who participates in

16  the scholarship program for students with disabilities whose

17  parent requests that the student take the statewide

18  assessments under s. 229.57, the district shall provide

19  locations and times to take all statewide assessments.

20         (f)  A school district must notify the Department of

21  Education within 10 days after it receives notification of a

22  parent's intent to apply for a scholarship for a student with

23  a disability.

24         (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY.--To be eligible to

25  participate in the scholarship program for students with

26  disabilities, a private school must be a Florida private

27  school, may be sectarian or nonsectarian, and must:

28         (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation

29  for one school year or provide the Department of Education

30  with a statement by a certified public accountant confirming

31  that the private school desiring to participate is insured and

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1  the owner or owners have sufficient capital or credit to

  2  operate the school for the upcoming year serving the number of

  3  students anticipated with expected revenues from tuition and

  4  other sources that may be reasonably expected. In lieu of such

  5  a statement, a surety bond or letter of credit for the amount

  6  equal to the scholarship funds for any quarter may be filed

  7  with the department.

  8         (b)  Notify the Department of Education of its intent

  9  to participate in the program under this section by May 1 of

10  the school year preceding the school year in which it intends

11  to participate. The notice must specify the grade levels and

12  services that the private school has available for students

13  with disabilities who are participating in the scholarship

14  program.

15         (c)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of

16  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.

17         (d)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and

18  codes.

19         (e)  Be academically accountable to the parent or

20  guardian for meeting the educational needs of the student.

21         (f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold

22  baccalaureate or higher degrees; or have at least 3 years of

23  teaching experience in public or private schools; or have

24  special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to

25  provide instruction in subjects taught.

26         (g)  Comply with all state laws relating to general

27  regulation of private schools.

28         (h)  Adhere to the tenets of its published disciplinary

29  procedures prior to the expulsion of a scholarship student.

30         (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.--

31

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
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  1         (a)  A parent or guardian who applies for a scholarship

  2  for a student with a disability is exercising his or her

  3  parental option to place his or her child in a private school.

  4  The parent or guardian must select the private school and

  5  apply for admission for his or her child.

  6         (b)  The parent or guardian must have requested the

  7  scholarship at least 60 days prior to the date of the first

  8  scholarship payment.

  9         (c)  Any student participating in the scholarship

10  program for students with disabilities must remain in

11  attendance throughout the school year, unless excused by the

12  school for illness or other good cause, and must comply fully

13  with the school's code of conduct.

14         (d)  The parent or guardian of each student

15  participating in the scholarship program for students with

16  disabilities must comply fully with the private school's

17  parental involvement requirements, unless excused by the

18  school for illness or other good cause.

19         (e)  If the parent or guardian requests that the

20  student participating in the scholarship program for students

21  with disabilities takes all statewide assessments required

22  pursuant to s. 229.57, the parent or guardian is responsible

23  for transporting the student to the assessment site designated

24  by the school district.

25         (f)  Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant, the parent

26  or guardian to whom the warrant is made must restrictively

27  endorse the warrant to the private school for deposit into the

28  account of the private school.

29         (g)  A participant who fails to comply with this

30  subsection forfeits the scholarship.

31         (6)  SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING AND PAYMENT.--

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1         (a)1.  The maximum scholarship granted for an eligible

  2  student with disabilities shall be a calculated amount

  3  equivalent to the base student allocation in the Florida

  4  Education Finance Program multiplied by the appropriate cost

  5  factor for the educational program that would have been

  6  provided for the student in the district school to which he or

  7  she was assigned, multiplied by the district cost

  8  differential. If the General Appropriations Act does not

  9  specify a program cost factor for the program to which a

10  student is assigned, based upon completion of a matrix of

11  services for that student, a program cost factor shall be

12  calculated using the following procedure. First, historical

13  cost factor ratios shall be calculated by dividing the Level

14  1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 program cost factors by the

15  program cost factor for Level 5 for the most recent year for

16  which all five exceptional-child program cost factors were

17  defined in the General Appropriations Act. Second, the

18  historical cost factor ratio for the program to which a

19  student is assigned and for which a scholarship entitlement is

20  being calculated shall be multiplied by the Level 5 program

21  cost factor defined in the General Appropriations Act for the

22  school year for which the scholarship entitlement is being

23  calculated. In addition, the calculated amount shall include

24  the per-student share of all formula components and major

25  categorical program allocations that are included in the

26  calculation of the state share of school districts' total

27  potential funding entitlements. The amount of any assessment

28  fee required by the participating private school may be paid

29  from the total amount of the exceptional student scholarship

30  amount. If the participating private school requires partial

31  payment of tuition prior to the start of the academic year to

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1  reserve space for students admitted to the school, that

  2  partial payment may be paid by the Department of Education

  3  prior to the first quarterly payment of the year in which the

  4  scholarship is awarded, up to a maximum of $1,000, and

  5  deducted from subsequent scholarship payments. There is a

  6  limit of one reservation payment per student per year. The

  7  amount of the scholarship for students with disabilities shall

  8  be the calculated amount or the amount of the private school's

  9  tuition and fees, whichever is less. The district shall report

10  all students who are attending a private school under this

11  program. The students with disabilities attending private

12  schools on scholarships shall be reported separately from

13  other students reported for purposes of the Florida Education

14  Finance Program.

15         2.  Following notification on July 1, September 1,

16  December 1, or February 1 of the number of participants, the

17  Department of Education shall transfer the amount calculated

18  under subparagraph 1. from the district's total funding

19  entitlement under the Florida Education Finance Program and

20  from authorized categorical accounts to a separate account for

21  the scholarship program for quarterly disbursement to the

22  parents or guardians of participating students. When a student

23  enters the scholarship program, the Department of Education

24  must receive all documentation required for the student's

25  participation, including the private school's and student's

26  fee schedules, at least 30 days before the first quarterly

27  payment is made for the student. The Department of Education

28  may not make any retroactive payments.

29         (b)  Upon proper documentation reviewed and approved by

30  the Department of Education, the Comptroller shall make

31  scholarship payments in four equal amounts no later than

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1  September 1, November 1, February 1, and April 1 of each

  2  academic year in which the scholarship is in force. The

  3  initial payment shall be made after Department of Education

  4  verification of admission acceptance, and subsequent payments

  5  shall be made upon verification of continued enrollment and

  6  attendance at the private school. Payment must be by

  7  individual warrant made payable to the student's parent or

  8  guardian and mailed by the Department of Education to the

  9  private school of the parent's or guardian's choice, and the

10  parent or guardian shall restrictively endorse the warrant to

11  the private school for deposit into the account of the private

12  school.

13         (7)  LIABILITY.--No liability shall arise on the part

14  of the state based on any grant or use of a scholarship for

15  students with disabilities.

16         (8)  RULES.--The State Board of Education may adopt

17  rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this

18  section. However, the inclusion of eligible private schools

19  within options available to Florida public school students

20  does not expand the regulatory authority of the state, its

21  officers, or any school district to impose any additional

22  regulation of private schools beyond those reasonably

23  necessary to enforce requirements expressly set forth in this

24  section.

25         Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

26  law.

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    Florida Senate - 2001                    CS for CS for SB 1180
    309-1561-01




  1          STATEMENT OF SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES CONTAINED IN
                       COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
  2                          CS for SB 1180

  3

  4  Clarifies that public school choice and the provision of
    transportation must be consistent with the district's school
  5  choice plan.

  6  Allows DOE to prorate payments for the private school.

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