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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 1426
       By Senator Wilson
       33-01380-10                                           20101426__
    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
   18  read:
   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
   69  contribution.
   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
   98  funding;
   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
  139  Blind.
  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.
  177  ORGANIZATIONS.—An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
  178  organization:
  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
  182  requirements:
  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
  242  organization.
  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
  333  year.
  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.
  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
  359  policies.
  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
  377  scholarship.
  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
  449  duplication.
  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
  484  1002.
  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).
  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.
  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
  547  following:
  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).
  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
  615  thereafter.
  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.

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