Florida Senate - 2010 SB 1426
By Senator Wilson
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the Corporate Tax Credit
3 Scholarship Program; amending s. 220.187, F.S.;
4 providing an additional purpose that enables students
5 in specified grades in public schools to receive
6 certain assistance in attaining grade-level
7 performance; revising definitions; requiring
8 scholarship funding organizations to allocate at least
9 25 percent of their scholarships to public school
10 students; permitting scholarships of a certain amount
11 for public school students; requiring public schools
12 to account for the use of scholarship funds; providing
13 an effective date.
15 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
17 Section 1. Section 220.187, Florida Statutes, is amended to
19 220.187 Credits for contributions to nonprofit scholarship
20 funding organizations.—
21 (1) FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.—
22 (a) The Legislature finds that:
23 1. It has the inherent power to determine subjects of
24 taxation for general or particular public purposes.
25 2. Expanding educational opportunities and improving the
26 quality of educational services within the state are valid
27 public purposes that the Legislature may promote using its
28 sovereign power to determine subjects of taxation and exemptions
29 from taxation.
30 3. Ensuring that all parents, regardless of means, may
31 exercise and enjoy their basic right to educate their children
32 as they see fit is a valid public purpose that the Legislature
33 may promote using its sovereign power to determine subjects of
34 taxation and exemptions from taxation.
35 4. Expanding educational opportunities and the healthy
36 competition they promote are critical to improving the quality
37 of education in the state and to ensuring that all children
38 receive the high-quality education to which they are entitled.
39 (b) The purpose of this section is to:
40 1. Enable taxpayers to make private, voluntary
41 contributions to nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations in
42 order to promote the general welfare.
43 2. Provide taxpayers who wish to help parents with limited
44 resources exercise their basic right to educate their children
45 as they see fit with a means to do so.
46 3. Promote the general welfare by expanding educational
47 opportunities for children of families that have limited
48 financial resources.
49 4. Enable children in this state to achieve a greater level
50 of excellence in their education.
51 5. Improve the quality of education in this state, both by
52 expanding educational opportunities for children and by creating
53 incentives for schools to achieve excellence.
54 6. Enable students in grades 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9 in public
55 schools to receive tutoring, remediation, computers, and other
56 educational aids necessary to attain grade-level performance.
57 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
58 (a) “Department” means the Department of Revenue.
59 (b) “Direct certification list” means the certified list of
60 children who qualify for the Food Stamp Program, the Temporary
61 Assistance to Needy Families Program, or the Food Distribution
62 Program on Indian Reservations provided to the Department of
63 Education by the Department of Children and Family Services.
64 (c) “Eligible contribution” means a monetary contribution
65 from a taxpayer, subject to the restrictions provided in this
66 section, to an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
67 organization. The taxpayer making the contribution may not
68 designate a specific child as the beneficiary of the
70 (d) “Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization”
71 means a charitable organization that:
72 1. Is exempt from federal income tax pursuant to s.
73 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
74 2. Is a Florida entity formed under chapter 607, chapter
75 608, or chapter 617 and whose principal office is located in the
76 state; and
77 3. Complies with the provisions of subsection (6).
78 (e) “Eligible
private school” means a private school, as
79 defined in s. 1002.01(2), or a public school located in Florida
80 which offers an education to students in any grades K-12 and
81 that meets the requirements in subsection (8).
82 (f) “Owner or operator” includes:
83 1. An owner, president, officer, or director of an eligible
84 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or a person with
85 equivalent decisionmaking authority over an eligible nonprofit
86 scholarship-funding organization.
87 2. An owner, operator, superintendent, or principal of an
88 eligible private school or a person who has with equivalent
89 decisionmaking authority over an eligible private school.
90 (3) PROGRAM; SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY.—The Florida Tax
91 Credit Scholarship Program is established. A student is eligible
92 for a Florida tax credit scholarship under this section or s.
93 624.51055 if the student qualifies for free or reduced-price
94 school lunches under the National School Lunch Act or is on the
95 direct certification list and:
96 (a) Was counted as a full-time equivalent student during
97 the previous state fiscal year for purposes of state per-student
99 (b) Received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit
100 scholarship-funding organization or from the State of Florida
101 during the previous school year;
102 (c) Is eligible to enter kindergarten or first grade; or
103 (d) Is a student in grade 2, grade 5, grade 6, grade 8, or
104 grade 9 in an eligible public school; or
105 (e) (d) Is currently placed, or during the previous state
106 fiscal year was placed, in foster care as defined in s. 39.01.
108 Contingent upon available funds, a student may continue in the
109 scholarship program as long as the student’s household income
110 level does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
111 A sibling of a student who is continuing in the program and
112 resides in the same household as the student shall also be
113 eligible as a first-time tax credit scholarship recipient as
114 long as the student’s and sibling’s household income level does
115 not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Household
116 income for purposes of a student who is currently in foster care
117 as defined in s. 39.01 shall consist only of the income that may
118 be considered in determining whether he or she qualifies for
119 free or reduced-price school lunches under the National School
120 Lunch Act.
121 (4) SCHOLARSHIP PROHIBITIONS.—A student is not eligible for
122 a scholarship while he or she is:
123 (a) Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
124 providing educational services to youth in Department of
125 Juvenile Justice commitment programs;
126 (b) Receiving a scholarship from another eligible nonprofit
127 scholarship-funding organization under this section;
128 (c) Receiving an educational scholarship pursuant to
129 chapter 1002;
130 (d) Participating in a home education program as defined in
131 s. 1002.01(1);
132 (e) Participating in a private tutoring program pursuant to
133 s. 1002.43;
134 (f) Participating in a virtual school, correspondence
135 school, or distance learning program that receives state funding
136 pursuant to the student’s participation unless the participation
137 is limited to no more than two courses per school year; or
138 (g) Enrolled in the Florida School for the Deaf and the
140 (5) AUTHORIZATION TO GRANT SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING TAX CREDITS;
141 LIMITATIONS ON INDIVIDUAL AND TOTAL CREDITS.—
142 (a) There is allowed a credit of 100 percent of an eligible
143 contribution against any tax due for a taxable year under this
144 chapter. However, such a credit may not exceed 75 percent of the
145 tax due under this chapter for the taxable year, after the
146 application of any other allowable credits by the taxpayer. The
147 credit granted by this section shall be reduced by the
148 difference between the amount of federal corporate income tax
149 taking into account the credit granted by this section and the
150 amount of federal corporate income tax without application of
151 the credit granted by this section.
152 (b) For each state fiscal year, the total amount of tax
153 credits and carryforward of tax credits which may be granted
154 under this section and s. 624.51055 is $118 million.
155 (c) A taxpayer who files a Florida consolidated return as a
156 member of an affiliated group pursuant to s. 220.131(1) may be
157 allowed the credit on a consolidated return basis; however, the
158 total credit taken by the affiliated group is subject to the
159 limitation established under paragraph (a).
160 (d) Effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2006, a
161 taxpayer may rescind all or part of its allocated tax credit
162 under this section. The amount rescinded shall become available
163 for purposes of the cap for that state fiscal year under this
164 section to an eligible taxpayer as approved by the department if
165 the taxpayer receives notice from the department that the
166 rescindment has been accepted by the department and the taxpayer
167 has not previously rescinded any or all of its tax credit
168 allocation under this section more than once in the previous 3
169 tax years. Any amount rescinded under this paragraph shall
170 become available to an eligible taxpayer on a first-come, first
171 served basis based on tax credit applications received after the
172 date the rescindment is accepted by the department.
173 (e) A taxpayer who is eligible to receive the credit
174 provided for in s. 624.51055 is not eligible to receive the
175 credit provided by this section.
176 (6) OBLIGATIONS OF ELIGIBLE NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING
177 ORGANIZATIONS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
179 (a) Must comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of
180 42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.
181 (b) Must comply with the following background check
183 1. All owners and operators as defined in subparagraph
184 (2)(f)1. are, upon employment or engagement to provide services,
185 subject to level 2 background screening as provided under
186 chapter 435. The fingerprints for the background screening must
187 be electronically submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement
188 and can be taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or by
189 an employee of the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
190 organization or a private company who is trained to take
191 fingerprints. However, the complete set of fingerprints of an
192 owner or operator may not be taken by the owner or operator. The
193 results of the state and national criminal history check shall
194 be provided to the Department of Education for screening under
195 chapter 435. The cost of the background screening may be borne
196 by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or
197 the owner or operator.
198 2. Every 5 years following employment or engagement to
199 provide services or association with an eligible nonprofit
200 scholarship-funding organization, each owner or operator must
201 meet level 2 screening standards as described in s. 435.04, at
202 which time the nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall
203 request the Department of Law Enforcement to forward the
204 fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2
205 screening. If the fingerprints of an owner or operator are not
206 retained by the Department of Law Enforcement under subparagraph
207 3., the owner or operator must electronically file a complete
208 set of fingerprints with the Department of Law Enforcement. Upon
209 submission of fingerprints for this purpose, the eligible
210 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall request that
211 the Department of Law Enforcement forward the fingerprints to
212 the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2 screening, and
213 the fingerprints shall be retained by the Department of Law
214 Enforcement under subparagraph 3.
215 3. Beginning July 1, 2007, All fingerprints submitted to
216 the Department of Law Enforcement as required by this paragraph
217 must be retained by the Department of Law Enforcement in a
218 manner approved by rule and entered in the statewide automated
219 fingerprint identification system authorized by s. 943.05(2)(b).
220 The fingerprints must thereafter be available for all purposes
221 and uses authorized for arrest fingerprint cards entered in the
222 statewide automated fingerprint identification system pursuant
223 to s. 943.051.
224 4. Beginning July 1, 2007, The Department of Law
225 Enforcement shall search all arrest fingerprint cards received
226 under s. 943.051 against the fingerprints retained in the
227 statewide automated fingerprint identification system under
228 subparagraph 3. Any arrest record that is identified with an
229 owner’s or operator’s fingerprints must be reported to the
230 Department of Education. The Department of Education shall
231 participate in this search process by paying an annual fee to
232 the Department of Law Enforcement and by informing the
233 Department of Law Enforcement of any change in the employment,
234 engagement, or association status of the owners or operators
235 whose fingerprints are retained under subparagraph 3. The
236 Department of Law Enforcement shall adopt a rule setting the
237 amount of the annual fee to be imposed upon the Department of
238 Education for performing these services and establishing the
239 procedures for the retention of owner and operator fingerprints
240 and the dissemination of search results. The fee may be borne by
241 the owner or operator of the nonprofit scholarship-funding
243 5. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose owner
244 or operator fails the level 2 background screening shall not be
245 eligible to provide scholarships under this section.
246 6. A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose owner
247 or operator in the last 7 years has filed for personal
248 bankruptcy or corporate bankruptcy in a corporation of which he
249 or she owned more than 20 percent shall not be eligible to
250 provide scholarships under this section.
251 (c) Must not have an owner or operator who owns or operates
252 an eligible private school that is participating in the
253 scholarship program.
254 (d) Must provide scholarships, from eligible contributions,
255 to eligible students for the cost of:
256 1. Tuition and fees for an eligible private school; or
257 2. Tutoring, remediation, computers, and other educational
258 aids necessary to attain grade-level performance at a public
259 school. Transportation to a Florida public school that is
260 located outside the district in which the student resides or to
261 a lab school as defined in s. 1002.32 .
262 (e) Must give priority to eligible students who received a
263 scholarship from an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
264 organization or from the State of Florida during the previous
265 school year.
266 (f) Must provide a scholarship to an eligible student on a
267 first-come, first-served basis unless the student qualifies for
268 priority pursuant to paragraph (e).
269 (g) May not restrict or reserve scholarships for use at a
270 particular private school or provide scholarships to a child of
271 an owner or operator.
272 (h) Must allow an eligible student to attend any eligible
273 private school and must allow a parent to transfer a scholarship
274 during a school year to any other eligible private school of the
275 parent’s choice.
276 (i)1. May use up to 3 percent of eligible contributions
277 received during the state fiscal year in which such
278 contributions are collected for administrative expenses if the
279 organization has operated under this section for at least 3
280 state fiscal years and did not have any negative financial
281 findings in its most recent audit under paragraph (l). Such
282 administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary for the
283 organization’s management and distribution of eligible
284 contributions under this section. No more than one-third of the
285 funds authorized for administrative expenses under this
286 subparagraph may be used for expenses related to the recruitment
287 of contributions from taxpayers.
288 2. Must expend for annual or partial-year scholarships an
289 amount equal to or greater than 75 percent of the net eligible
290 contributions remaining after administrative expenses during the
291 state fiscal year in which such contributions are collected. No
292 more than 25 percent of such net eligible contributions may be
293 carried forward to the following state fiscal year. Any amounts
294 carried forward shall be expended for annual or partial-year
295 scholarships in the following state fiscal year. Net eligible
296 contributions remaining on June 30 of each year which that are
297 in excess of the 25 percent that may be carried forward shall be
298 returned to the State Treasury for deposit in the General
299 Revenue Fund.
300 3. Must, before granting a scholarship for an academic
301 year, document each scholarship student’s eligibility for that
302 academic year. A scholarship-funding organization may not grant
303 multiyear scholarships in one approval process.
304 (j) Must maintain separate accounts for scholarship funds
305 and operating funds.
306 (k) With the prior approval of the Department of Education,
307 may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit scholarship
308 funding organization if additional funds are required to meet
309 scholarship demand at the receiving nonprofit scholarship
310 funding organization. A transfer shall be limited to the greater
311 of $500,000 or 20 percent of the total contributions received by
312 the nonprofit scholarship-funding organization making the
313 transfer. All transferred funds must be deposited by the
314 receiving nonprofit scholarship-funding organization into its
315 scholarship accounts. All transferred amounts received by any
316 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must be separately
317 disclosed in the annual financial and compliance audit required
318 in this section.
319 (l) Must provide to the Auditor General and the Department
320 of Education an annual financial and compliance audit of its
321 accounts and records conducted by an independent certified
322 public accountant and in accordance with rules adopted by the
323 Auditor General. The audit must be conducted in compliance with
324 generally accepted auditing standards and must include a report
325 on financial statements presented in accordance with generally
326 accepted accounting principles set forth by the American
327 Institute of Certified Public Accountants for not-for-profit
328 organizations and a determination of compliance with the
329 statutory eligibility and expenditure requirements set forth in
330 this section. Audits must be provided to the Auditor General and
331 the Department of Education within 180 days after completion of
332 the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization’s fiscal
334 (m) Must prepare and submit quarterly reports to the
335 Department of Education pursuant to paragraph (9)(m). In
336 addition, an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
337 must submit in a timely manner any information requested by the
338 Department of Education relating to the scholarship program.
339 (n) Must allocate at least 25 percent of its scholarships
340 to public school students.
342 Any and all information and documentation provided to the
343 Department of Education and the Auditor General relating to the
344 identity of a taxpayer that provides an eligible contribution
345 under this section shall remain confidential at all times in
346 accordance with s. 213.053.
347 (7) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
349 (a) The parent must select an eligible private school and
350 apply for the admission of his or her child.
351 (b) The parent must inform the child’s school district when
352 the parent withdraws his or her child to attend an eligible
353 private school.
354 (c) Any student participating in the scholarship program
355 must remain in attendance throughout the school year unless
356 excused by the school for illness or other good cause.
357 (d) Each parent and each student has an obligation to the
358 private school to comply with the private school’s published
360 (e) The parent shall ensure that the student participating
361 in the scholarship program takes the norm-referenced assessment
362 offered by the private school. The parent may also choose to
363 have the student participate in the statewide assessments
364 pursuant to s. 1008.22. If the parent requests that the student
365 participating in the scholarship program take statewide
366 assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22, the parent is responsible
367 for transporting the student to the assessment site designated
368 by the school district.
369 (f) Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant from the eligible
370 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, the parent to whom
371 the warrant is made must restrictively endorse the warrant to
372 the private school for deposit into the account of the private
373 school. The parent may not designate any entity or individual
374 associated with the participating private school as the parent’s
375 attorney in fact to endorse a scholarship warrant. A participant
376 who fails to comply with this paragraph forfeits the
378 (8) PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—An eligible
379 private school may be a public school or sectarian or
380 nonsectarian private school and must:
381 (a) Comply with all requirements for private schools
382 participating in state school choice scholarship programs
383 pursuant to s. 1002.421 if the school is a private school.
384 (b) Provide to the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
385 organization, upon request, all documentation required for the
386 student’s participation, including the private school’s and
387 student’s fee schedules.
388 (c) Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting
389 the educational needs of the student by:
390 1. At a minimum, annually providing to the parent a written
391 explanation of the student’s progress.
392 2. Annually administering or making provision for students
393 participating in the scholarship program to take one of the
394 nationally norm-referenced tests identified by the Department of
395 Education. Students with disabilities for whom standardized
396 testing is not appropriate are exempt from this requirement. A
397 participating private school must report a student’s scores to
398 the parent and to the independent research organization selected
399 by the Department of Education as described in paragraph (9)(j).
400 3. Cooperating with the scholarship student whose parent
401 chooses to have the student participate in the statewide
402 assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22.
403 (d) Employ or contract with teachers who have regular and
404 direct contact with each student receiving a scholarship under
405 this section at the school’s physical location.
406 (e) Provide a monthly accounting of the use of the
407 scholarship funds to the legal guardian of each scholarship
408 student in a public school.
410 The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
411 this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
412 of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
413 as determined by the Department of Education.
414 (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of
415 Education shall:
416 (a) Annually submit to the department, by March 15, a list
417 of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations that
418 meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(d).
419 (b) Annually verify the eligibility of nonprofit
420 scholarship-funding organizations that meet the requirements of
421 paragraph (2)(d).
422 (c) Annually verify the eligibility of private schools that
423 meet the requirements of subsection (8).
424 (d) Annually verify the eligibility of expenditures as
425 provided in paragraph (6)(d) using the audit required by
426 paragraph (6)(l).
427 (e) Establish a toll-free hotline that provides parents and
428 private schools with information on participation in the
429 scholarship program.
430 (f) Establish a process by which individuals may notify the
431 Department of Education of any violation by a parent, private
432 school, or school district of state laws relating to program
433 participation. The Department of Education shall conduct an
434 inquiry of any written complaint of a violation of this section,
435 or make a referral to the appropriate agency for an
436 investigation, if the complaint is signed by the complainant and
437 is legally sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it
438 contains ultimate facts that show that a violation of this
439 section or any rule adopted by the State Board of Education has
440 occurred. In order to determine legal sufficiency, the
441 Department of Education may require supporting information or
442 documentation from the complainant. A department inquiry is not
443 subject to the requirements of chapter 120.
444 (g) Require an annual, notarized, sworn compliance
445 statement by participating private schools certifying compliance
446 with state laws and shall retain such records.
447 (h) Cross-check the list of participating scholarship
448 students with the public school enrollment lists to avoid
450 (i) Maintain a list of nationally norm-referenced tests
451 identified for purposes of satisfying the testing requirement in
452 subparagraph (8)(c)2. The tests must meet industry standards of
453 quality in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
454 (j) Select an independent research organization, which may
455 be a public or private entity or university, to which
456 participating private schools must report the scores of
457 participating students on the nationally norm-referenced tests
458 administered by the private school. The independent research
459 organization must annually report to the Department of Education
460 on the year-to-year improvements of participating students. The
461 independent research organization must analyze and report
462 student performance data in a manner that protects the rights of
463 students and parents as mandated in 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, the
464 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and must not
465 disaggregate data to a level that will disclose the academic
466 level of individual students or of individual schools. To the
467 extent possible, the independent research organization must
468 accumulate historical performance data on students from the
469 Department of Education and private schools to describe baseline
470 performance and to conduct longitudinal studies. To minimize
471 costs and reduce time required for third-party analysis and
472 evaluation, the Department of Education shall conduct analyses
473 of matched students from public school assessment data and
474 calculate control group learning gains using an agreed-upon
475 methodology outlined in the contract with the third-party
476 evaluator. The sharing of student data must be in accordance
477 with requirements of 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, the Family Educational
478 Rights and Privacy Act, and shall be for the sole purpose of
479 conducting the evaluation. All parties must preserve the
480 confidentiality of such information as required by law.
481 (k) Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
482 organization of any of the organization’s identified students
483 who are receiving educational scholarships pursuant to chapter
485 (l) Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
486 organization of any of the organization’s identified students
487 who are receiving tax credit scholarships from other eligible
488 nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations.
489 (m) Require quarterly reports by an eligible nonprofit
490 scholarship-funding organization regarding the number of
491 students participating in the scholarship program, the private
492 schools at which the students are enrolled, and other
493 information that deemed necessary by the Department of Education
494 considers necessary.
495 (n)1. Conduct random site visits to private schools
496 participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The
497 purpose of the site visits is solely to verify the information
498 reported by the schools concerning the enrollment and attendance
499 of students, the credentials of teachers, background screening
500 of teachers, and teachers’ fingerprinting results, and to
501 account for the use of funds at public schools. The Department
502 of Education may not make more than seven random site visits
503 each year and may not make more than one random site visit each
504 year to the same private school.
505 2. Annually, by December 15, report to the Governor, the
506 President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
507 Representatives the Department of Education’s actions with
508 respect to implementing accountability in the scholarship
509 program under this section and s. 1002.421, any substantiated
510 allegations or violations of law or rule by an eligible private
511 school under this program concerning the enrollment and
512 attendance of students, the credentials of teachers, background
513 screening of teachers, and teachers’ fingerprinting results and
514 the corrective action taken by the Department of Education.
515 (o) Provide a process to match the direct certification
516 list with the scholarship application data submitted by any
517 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization eligible to receive
518 the 3-percent administrative allowance under paragraph (6)(i).
519 (10) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS; PARENTAL OPTIONS.—Upon
520 the request of any eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
521 organization, a school district shall inform all households
522 within the district receiving free or reduced-priced meals under
523 the National School Lunch Act of their eligibility to apply for
524 a tax credit scholarship. The form of such notice shall be
525 provided by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
526 organization, and the district shall include the provided form,
527 if requested by the organization, in any normal correspondence
528 with eligible households. If an eligible nonprofit scholarship
529 funding organization requests a special communication to be
530 issued to households within the district receiving free or
531 reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act, the
532 organization shall reimburse the district for the cost of
533 postage. Such notice is limited to once a year.
534 (11) COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—
535 (a) The Commissioner of Education shall deny, suspend, or
536 revoke a private school’s participation in the scholarship
537 program if it is determined that the private school has failed
538 to comply with the provisions of this section. However, if in
539 instances in which the noncompliance is correctable within a
540 reasonable amount of time and in which the health, safety, or
541 welfare of the students is not threatened, the commissioner may
542 issue a notice of noncompliance that shall provide the private
543 school with a timeframe within which to provide evidence of
544 compliance before prior to taking action to suspend or revoke
545 the private school’s participation in the scholarship program.
546 (b) The commissioner’s determination is subject to the
548 1. If the commissioner intends to deny, suspend, or revoke
549 a private school’s participation in the scholarship program, the
550 Department of Education shall notify the private school of such
551 proposed action in writing by certified mail and regular mail to
552 the private school’s address of record with the Department of
553 Education. The notification must shall include the reasons for
554 the proposed action and notice of the timelines and procedures
555 set forth in this paragraph.
556 2. The private school that is adversely affected by the
557 proposed action shall have 15 days following from receipt of the
558 notice of proposed action to file with the Department of
559 Education’s agency clerk a request for a proceeding pursuant to
560 ss. 120.569 and 120.57. If the private school is entitled to a
561 hearing under s. 120.57(1), the Department of Education shall
562 forward the request to the Division of Administrative Hearings.
563 3. Upon receipt of a request referred pursuant to this
564 paragraph, the director of the Division of Administrative
565 Hearings shall expedite the hearing and assign an administrative
566 law judge who shall commence a hearing within 30 days after the
567 receipt of the formal written request by the division and enter
568 a recommended order within 30 days after the hearing or within
569 30 days after receipt of the hearing transcript, whichever is
570 later. Each party shall be allowed 10 days in which to submit
571 written exceptions to the recommended order. A final order shall
572 be entered by the agency within 30 days after the entry of a
573 recommended order. The provisions of this subparagraph may be
574 waived upon stipulation by all parties.
575 (c) The commissioner may immediately suspend payment of
576 scholarship funds if it is determined that there is probable
577 cause to believe that there is:
578 1. An imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of
579 the students; or
580 2. Fraudulent activity on the part of the private school.
581 Notwithstanding s. 1002.22, in incidents of alleged fraudulent
582 activity pursuant to this section, the Department of Education’s
583 Office of Inspector General is authorized to release personally
584 identifiable records or reports of students to the following
585 persons or organizations:
586 a. A court of competent jurisdiction in compliance with an
587 order of that court or the attorney of record in accordance with
588 a lawfully issued subpoena, consistent with the Family
589 Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g.
590 b. A person or entity authorized by a court of competent
591 jurisdiction in compliance with an order of that court or the
592 attorney of record pursuant to a lawfully issued subpoena,
593 consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,
594 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g.
595 c. Any person, entity, or authority issuing a subpoena for
596 law enforcement purposes when the court or other issuing agency
597 has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena
598 or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be
599 disclosed, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and
600 Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, and 34 C.F.R. s. 99.31.
602 The commissioner’s order suspending payment pursuant to this
603 paragraph may be appealed pursuant to the same procedures and
604 timelines as the notice of proposed action set forth in
605 paragraph (b).
606 (12) SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT AND PAYMENT.—
607 (a) The amount of a scholarship provided to any student for
608 any single school year by an eligible nonprofit scholarship
609 funding organization from eligible contributions may shall be
610 for total costs authorized under paragraph (6)(d), not to exceed
611 the following annual limits:
612 1. Four Three thousand nine hundred fifty dollars for a
613 scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in an eligible private
614 school for the 2008-2009 state fiscal year and each fiscal year
616 2. Four thousand Five hundred dollars for a scholarship
617 awarded to a student enrolled in a Florida public school that is
618 located outside the district in which the student resides or in
619 a lab school as defined in s. 1002.32.
620 (b) Payment of the scholarship by the eligible nonprofit
621 scholarship-funding organization shall be by individual warrant
622 made payable to the student’s parent. If the parent chooses that
623 his or her child attend an eligible private school, The warrant
624 must be delivered by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
625 organization to the private school of the parent’s choice, and
626 the parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant to the
627 private school. An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
628 organization shall ensure that the parent to whom the warrant is
629 made restrictively endorsed the warrant to the private school
630 for deposit into the account of the private school.
631 (c) An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
632 shall obtain verification from the private school of a student’s
633 continued attendance at the school for each period covered by a
634 scholarship payment.
635 (d) Payment of the scholarship shall be made by the
636 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization no less
637 frequently than on a quarterly basis.
638 (13) ADMINISTRATION; RULES.—
639 (a) If the credit granted pursuant to this section is not
640 fully used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability
641 on the part of the corporation, the unused amount may be carried
642 forward for a period not to exceed 3 years; however, any
643 taxpayer that seeks to carry forward an unused amount of tax
644 credit must submit an application for allocation of tax credits
645 or carryforward credits as required in paragraph (d) in the year
646 that the taxpayer intends to use the carryforward. This
647 carryforward applies to all approved contributions made after
648 January 1, 2002. A taxpayer may not convey, assign, or transfer
649 the credit authorized by this section to another entity unless
650 all of the assets of the taxpayer are conveyed, assigned, or
651 transferred in the same transaction.
652 (b) An application for a tax credit pursuant to this
653 section shall be submitted to the department on forms
654 established by rule of the department.
655 (c) The department and the Department of Education shall
656 develop a cooperative agreement to assist in the administration
657 of this section.
658 (d) The department shall adopt rules necessary to
659 administer this section, including rules establishing
660 application forms and procedures and governing the allocation of
661 tax credits and carryforward credits under this section on a
662 first-come, first-served basis.
663 (e) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant
664 to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section as it
665 relates to the roles of the Department of Education and the
666 Commissioner of Education.
667 (14) DEPOSITS OF ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS.—All eligible
668 contributions received by an eligible nonprofit scholarship
669 funding organization shall be deposited in a manner consistent
670 with s. 17.57(2).
671 (15) PRESERVATION OF CREDIT.—If any provision or portion of
672 subsection (5) or the application thereof to any person or
673 circumstance is held unconstitutional by any court or is
674 otherwise declared invalid, the unconstitutionality or
675 invalidity shall not affect any credit earned under subsection
676 (5) by any taxpayer with respect to any contribution paid to an
677 eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization before the
678 date of a determination of unconstitutionality or invalidity.
679 Such credit shall be allowed at such time and in such a manner
680 as if a determination of unconstitutionality or invalidity had
681 not been made, provided that nothing in this subsection by
682 itself or in combination with any other provision of law shall
683 result in the allowance of any credit to any taxpayer in excess
684 of one dollar of credit for each dollar paid to an eligible
685 nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
686 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.