October 22, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 2710
       
       
       
       By Senator Bennett
       
       
       
       
       21-01847A-10                                          20102710__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to early learning; amending s. 120.80,
    3         F.S.; exempting early learning coalitions from the
    4         Administrative Procedure Act; amending s. 411.01,
    5         F.S.; revising requirements for establishing the
    6         minimum number of children to be served by an early
    7         learning coalition to increase the maximum number of
    8         coalitions; deleting obsolete provisions relating to
    9         procedures for merging early learning coalitions;
   10         revising the review period for school readiness plans;
   11         authorizing school readiness payment rates that create
   12         certain standards or levels of services; limiting a
   13         prohibition that restricts early learning coalitions
   14         from implementing revisions to school readiness plans
   15         without approval by the Agency for Workforce
   16         Innovation; exempting early learning coalitions from
   17         chapter 287, F.S., relating to the procurement of
   18         personal property and services; requiring early
   19         learning coalitions to comply with certain federal
   20         requirements for the expenditure of, and the
   21         procurement of property and services from, certain
   22         school readiness funds; deleting a provision
   23         prohibiting the term of services contracts from
   24         exceeding a specified period; requiring early learning
   25         coalitions to comply with certain federal requirements
   26         for funding quality activities; amending s. 411.0101,
   27         F.S.; requiring early learning coalitions to comply
   28         with certain federal requirements for the selection of
   29         child care resource information agencies; amending s.
   30         1002.71, F.S.; exempting early learning coalitions
   31         from chapter 287, F.S.; requiring early learning
   32         coalitions to comply with certain federal requirements
   33         for the expenditure of, and the procurement of
   34         property and services from, certain funds provided for
   35         the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program;
   36         providing an effective date.
   37  
   38  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   39  
   40         Section 1. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (10) of
   41  section 120.80, Florida Statutes, to read:
   42         120.80 Exceptions and special requirements; agencies.—
   43         (10) AGENCY FOR WORKFORCE INNOVATION.—
   44         (d) Notwithstanding s. 120.52(1), an early learning
   45  coalition created under s. 411.01 is not an agency or part of an
   46  agency for purposes of this chapter.
   47         Section 2. Paragraphs (a), (d), and (e) of subsection (5)
   48  and paragraph (d) of subsection (9) of section 411.01, Florida
   49  Statutes, are amended to read:
   50         411.01 School readiness programs; early learning
   51  coalitions.—
   52         (5) CREATION OF EARLY LEARNING COALITIONS.—
   53         (a) Early learning coalitions.—
   54         1. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish the
   55  minimum number of children to be served by each early learning
   56  coalition through the coalition’s school readiness program. The
   57  Agency for Workforce Innovation may only approve school
   58  readiness plans in accordance with this minimum number. The
   59  minimum number must be uniform for every early learning
   60  coalition and must:
   61         a. Permit 31 30 or fewer coalitions to be established; and
   62         b. Require each coalition to serve at least 2,000 children
   63  based upon the average number of all children served per month
   64  through the coalition’s school readiness program during the
   65  previous 12 months.
   66  
   67  The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt procedures for
   68  merging early learning coalitions, including procedures for the
   69  consolidation of merging coalitions, and for the early
   70  termination of the terms of coalition members which are
   71  necessary to accomplish the mergers. Each early learning
   72  coalition must comply with the merger procedures and shall be
   73  organized in accordance with this subparagraph by April 1, 2005.
   74  By June 30, 2005, each coalition must complete the transfer of
   75  powers, duties, functions, rules, records, personnel, property,
   76  and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and
   77  other funds to the successor coalition, if applicable.
   78         2. If an early learning coalition would serve fewer
   79  children than the minimum number established under subparagraph
   80  1., the coalition must merge with another county to form a
   81  multicounty coalition. However, the Agency for Workforce
   82  Innovation may authorize an early learning coalition to serve
   83  fewer children than the minimum number established under
   84  subparagraph 1., if:
   85         a. The coalition demonstrates to the Agency for Workforce
   86  Innovation that merging with another county or multicounty
   87  region contiguous to the coalition would cause an extreme
   88  hardship on the coalition;
   89         b. The Agency for Workforce Innovation has determined
   90  during the most recent biennial annual review of the coalition’s
   91  school readiness plan, or through monitoring and performance
   92  evaluations conducted under paragraph (4)(l), that the coalition
   93  has substantially implemented its plan and substantially met the
   94  performance standards and outcome measures adopted by the
   95  agency; and
   96         c. The coalition demonstrates to the Agency for Workforce
   97  Innovation the coalition’s ability to effectively and
   98  efficiently implement the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education
   99  Program.
  100  
  101  If an early learning coalition fails or refuses to merge as
  102  required by this subparagraph, the Agency for Workforce
  103  Innovation may dissolve the coalition and temporarily contract
  104  with a qualified entity to continue school readiness and
  105  prekindergarten services in the coalition’s county or
  106  multicounty region until the coalition is reestablished through
  107  resubmission of a school readiness plan and approval by the
  108  agency.
  109         3. Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraphs 1. and
  110  2., the early learning coalitions in Sarasota, Osceola, and
  111  Santa Rosa Counties which were in operation on January 1, 2005,
  112  are established and authorized to continue operation as
  113  independent coalitions, and shall not be counted within the
  114  limit of 31 30 coalitions established in subparagraph 1.
  115         4. Each early learning coalition shall be composed of at
  116  least 18 members but not more than 35 members. The Agency for
  117  Workforce Innovation shall adopt standards establishing within
  118  this range the minimum and maximum number of members that may be
  119  appointed to an early learning coalition. These standards must
  120  include variations for a coalition serving a multicounty region.
  121  Each early learning coalition must comply with these standards.
  122         5. The Governor shall appoint the chair and two other
  123  members of each early learning coalition, who must each meet the
  124  same qualifications as private sector business members appointed
  125  by the coalition under subparagraph 7.
  126         6. Each early learning coalition must include the following
  127  members:
  128         a. A Department of Children and Family Services district
  129  administrator or his or her designee who is authorized to make
  130  decisions on behalf of the department.
  131         b. A district superintendent of schools or his or her
  132  designee who is authorized to make decisions on behalf of the
  133  district, who shall be a nonvoting member.
  134         c. A regional workforce board executive director or his or
  135  her designee.
  136         d. A county health department director or his or her
  137  designee.
  138         e. A children’s services council or juvenile welfare board
  139  chair or executive director, if applicable, who shall be a
  140  nonvoting member if the council or board is the fiscal agent of
  141  the coalition or if the council or board contracts with and
  142  receives funds from the coalition for any purpose other than
  143  rent.
  144         f. An agency head of a local licensing agency as defined in
  145  s. 402.302, where applicable.
  146         g. A president of a community college or his or her
  147  designee.
  148         h. One member appointed by a board of county commissioners.
  149         i. A central agency administrator, where applicable, who
  150  shall be a nonvoting member.
  151         j. A Head Start director, who shall be a nonvoting member.
  152         k. A representative of private child care providers,
  153  including family day care homes, who shall be a nonvoting
  154  member.
  155         l. A representative of faith-based child care providers,
  156  who shall be a nonvoting member.
  157         m. A representative of programs for children with
  158  disabilities under the federal Individuals with Disabilities
  159  Education Act, who shall be a nonvoting member.
  160         7. Including the members appointed by the Governor under
  161  subparagraph 5., more than one-third of the members of each
  162  early learning coalition must be private sector business members
  163  who do not have, and none of whose relatives as defined in s.
  164  112.3143 has, a substantial financial interest in the design or
  165  delivery of the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program
  166  created under part V of chapter 1002 or the coalition’s school
  167  readiness program. To meet this requirement an early learning
  168  coalition must appoint additional members from a list of
  169  nominees submitted to the coalition by a chamber of commerce or
  170  economic development council within the geographic region served
  171  by the coalition. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall
  172  establish criteria for appointing private sector business
  173  members. These criteria must include standards for determining
  174  whether a member or relative has a substantial financial
  175  interest in the design or delivery of the Voluntary
  176  Prekindergarten Education Program or the coalition’s school
  177  readiness program.
  178         8. A majority of the voting membership of an early learning
  179  coalition constitutes a quorum required to conduct the business
  180  of the coalition. An early learning coalition board may use any
  181  method of telecommunications to conduct meetings, including
  182  establishing a quorum through telecommunications, provided that
  183  the public is given proper notice of a telecommunications
  184  meeting and reasonable access to observe and, when appropriate,
  185  participate.
  186         9. A voting member of an early learning coalition may not
  187  appoint a designee to act in his or her place, except as
  188  otherwise provided in this paragraph. A voting member may send a
  189  representative to coalition meetings, but that representative
  190  does not have voting privileges. When a district administrator
  191  for the Department of Children and Family Services appoints a
  192  designee to an early learning coalition, the designee is the
  193  voting member of the coalition, and any individual attending in
  194  the designee’s place, including the district administrator, does
  195  not have voting privileges.
  196         10. Each member of an early learning coalition is subject
  197  to ss. 112.313, 112.3135, and 112.3143. For purposes of s.
  198  112.3143(3)(a), each voting member is a local public officer who
  199  must abstain from voting when a voting conflict exists.
  200         11. For purposes of tort liability, each member or employee
  201  of an early learning coalition shall be governed by s. 768.28.
  202         12. An early learning coalition serving a multicounty
  203  region must include representation from each county.
  204         13. Each early learning coalition shall establish terms for
  205  all appointed members of the coalition. The terms must be
  206  staggered and must be a uniform length that does not exceed 4
  207  years per term. Appointed members may serve a maximum of two
  208  consecutive terms. When a vacancy occurs in an appointed
  209  position, the coalition must advertise the vacancy.
  210         (d) Implementation.—
  211         1. An early learning coalition may not implement the school
  212  readiness program until the coalition is authorized through
  213  approval of the coalition’s school readiness plan by the Agency
  214  for Workforce Innovation.
  215         2. Each early learning coalition shall develop a plan for
  216  implementing the school readiness program to meet the
  217  requirements of this section and the performance standards and
  218  outcome measures adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
  219  The plan must demonstrate how the program will ensure that each
  220  3-year-old and 4-year-old child in a publicly funded school
  221  readiness program receives scheduled activities and instruction
  222  designed to enhance the age-appropriate progress of the children
  223  in attaining the performance standards adopted by the Agency for
  224  Workforce Innovation under subparagraph (4)(d)8. Before
  225  implementing the school readiness program, the early learning
  226  coalition must submit the plan to the Agency for Workforce
  227  Innovation for approval. The Agency for Workforce Innovation may
  228  approve the plan, reject the plan, or approve the plan with
  229  conditions. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall review
  230  school readiness plans once every 2 years at least annually.
  231         3. If the Agency for Workforce Innovation determines during
  232  the biennial annual review of school readiness plans, or through
  233  monitoring and performance evaluations conducted under paragraph
  234  (4)(l), that an early learning coalition has not substantially
  235  implemented its plan, has not substantially met the performance
  236  standards and outcome measures adopted by the agency, or has not
  237  effectively administered the school readiness program or
  238  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, the Agency for
  239  Workforce Innovation may dissolve the coalition and temporarily
  240  contract with a qualified entity to continue school readiness
  241  and prekindergarten services in the coalition’s county or
  242  multicounty region until the coalition is reestablished through
  243  resubmission of a school readiness plan and approval by the
  244  agency.
  245         4. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt criteria
  246  for the approval of school readiness plans. The criteria must be
  247  consistent with the performance standards and outcome measures
  248  adopted by the agency and must require each approved plan to
  249  include the following minimum standards and provisions:
  250         a. A sliding fee scale establishing a copayment for parents
  251  based upon their ability to pay, which is the same for all
  252  program providers, to be implemented and reflected in each
  253  program’s budget.
  254         b. A choice of settings and locations in licensed,
  255  registered, religious-exempt, or school-based programs to be
  256  provided to parents.
  257         c. Instructional staff who have completed the training
  258  course as required in s. 402.305(2)(d)1., as well as staff who
  259  have additional training or credentials as required by the
  260  Agency for Workforce Innovation. The plan must provide a method
  261  for assuring the qualifications of all personnel in all program
  262  settings.
  263         d. Specific eligibility priorities for children within the
  264  early learning coalition’s county or multicounty region in
  265  accordance with subsection (6).
  266         e. Performance standards and outcome measures adopted by
  267  the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
  268         f. Payment rates adopted by the early learning coalition
  269  and approved by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Payment
  270  rates may not have the effect of limiting parental choice or
  271  creating standards or levels of services that have not been
  272  authorized by the Legislature or recognized by the Federal
  273  Government as an appropriate use of funding.
  274         g. Systems support services, including a central agency,
  275  child care resource and referral, eligibility determinations,
  276  training of providers, and parent support and involvement.
  277         h. Direct enhancement services to families and children.
  278  System support and direct enhancement services shall be in
  279  addition to payments for the placement of children in school
  280  readiness programs.
  281         i. The business organization of the early learning
  282  coalition, which must include the coalition’s articles of
  283  incorporation and bylaws if the coalition is organized as a
  284  corporation. If the coalition is not organized as a corporation
  285  or other business entity, the plan must include the contract
  286  with a fiscal agent. An early learning coalition may contract
  287  with other coalitions to achieve efficiency in multicounty
  288  services, and these contracts may be part of the coalition’s
  289  school readiness plan.
  290         j. Strategies to meet the needs of unique populations, such
  291  as migrant workers.
  292  
  293  As part of the school readiness plan, the early learning
  294  coalition may request the Governor to apply for a waiver to
  295  allow the coalition to administer the Head Start Program to
  296  accomplish the purposes of the school readiness program. If a
  297  school readiness plan demonstrates that specific statutory goals
  298  can be achieved more effectively by using procedures that
  299  require modification of existing rules, policies, or procedures,
  300  a request for a waiver to the Agency for Workforce Innovation
  301  may be submitted as part of the plan. Upon review, the Agency
  302  for Workforce Innovation may grant the proposed modification.
  303         5. Persons with an early childhood teaching certificate may
  304  provide support and supervision to other staff in the school
  305  readiness program.
  306         6. An early learning coalition may not implement its school
  307  readiness plan until it submits the plan to and receives
  308  approval from the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Once the plan
  309  is approved, the plan and the services provided under the plan
  310  shall be controlled by the early learning coalition. An early
  311  learning coalition The plan shall review and revise its school
  312  readiness plan be reviewed and revised as necessary, but at
  313  least once every 2 years biennially. Revision of any provision
  314  of the plan that implements the an early learning coalition’s
  315  duties provided by law or contractual obligations to the Agency
  316  for Workforce Innovation coalition may not take effect implement
  317  the revisions until the coalition submits the revised provision
  318  plan to and receives approval from the agency for Workforce
  319  Innovation. If the Agency for Workforce Innovation rejects a
  320  revised provision of a school readiness plan, the coalition must
  321  continue to operate under its prior approved plan.
  322         7. Sections 125.901(2)(a)3., 411.221, and 411.232 do not
  323  apply to an early learning coalition with an approved school
  324  readiness plan. To facilitate innovative practices and to allow
  325  the regional establishment of school readiness programs, an
  326  early learning coalition may apply to the Governor and Cabinet
  327  for a waiver of, and the Governor and Cabinet may waive, any of
  328  the provisions of ss. 411.223, 411.232, and 1003.54, if the
  329  waiver is necessary for implementation of the coalition’s school
  330  readiness plan.
  331         8. Two or more counties may join for purposes of planning
  332  and implementing a school readiness program.
  333         9. An early learning coalition may, subject to approval by
  334  the Agency for Workforce Innovation as part of the coalition’s
  335  school readiness plan, receive subsidized child care funds for
  336  all children eligible for any federal subsidized child care
  337  program.
  338         10. An early learning coalition may enter into multiparty
  339  contracts with multicounty service providers in order to meet
  340  the needs of unique populations such as migrant workers.
  341         (e) School readiness funds; expenditure and procurement of
  342  property and services; Requests for proposals; payment
  343  schedule.—
  344         1. Chapter 287 does not apply to an Each early learning
  345  coalition. However, an early learning coalition must comply with
  346  all federal regulations applicable to the expenditure of, and
  347  the procurement of property and services from, federal grant
  348  funds, which regulations may include, but are not limited to, 2
  349  C.F.R. part 215, 45 C.F.R. part 74, or 45 C.F.R. part 92. An
  350  early learning coalition must also apply such federal
  351  regulations to s. 287.057 for the expenditure of, and the
  352  procurement of property and commodities or contractual services
  353  from, all state and local the funds described as school
  354  readiness funds in subparagraph (9)(d)1. paragraph (9)(d). The
  355  period of a contract for purchase of these commodities or
  356  contractual services, together with any renewal of the original
  357  contract, may not exceed 3 years.
  358         2. Each early learning coalition shall adopt a payment
  359  schedule that encompasses all programs funded by the coalition
  360  under this section. The payment schedule must take into
  361  consideration the relevant market rate, must include the
  362  projected number of children to be served, and must be submitted
  363  for approval by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Informal
  364  child care arrangements shall be reimbursed at not more than 50
  365  percent of the rate developed for a family day care home.
  366         (9) FUNDING; SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM.—
  367         (d)1. All state, federal, and required local maintenance
  368  of-effort or matching funds provided to an early learning
  369  coalition for purposes of this section shall be used by the
  370  coalition for implementation of its school readiness plan,
  371  including the hiring of staff to effectively operate the
  372  coalition’s school readiness program.
  373         2. As part of plan approval and periodic plan review, the
  374  Agency for Workforce Innovation shall require that
  375  administrative costs be kept to the minimum necessary for
  376  efficient and effective administration of the school readiness
  377  plan, but total administrative expenditures must not exceed 5
  378  percent unless specifically waived by the Agency for Workforce
  379  Innovation. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall annually
  380  report to the Legislature any problems relating to
  381  administrative costs.
  382         3. An early learning coalition must comply with the federal
  383  requirements for funding quality activities in 45 C.F.R. s.
  384  98.51.
  385         Section 3. Section 411.0101, Florida Statutes, is amended
  386  to read:
  387         411.0101 Child care and early childhood resource and
  388  referral.—The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish a
  389  statewide child care resource and referral network. Preference
  390  shall be given to using the already established early learning
  391  coalitions as the child care resource and referral agency. If an
  392  early learning coalition cannot comply with the requirements to
  393  offer the resource information component or does not want to
  394  offer that service, the early learning coalition shall select
  395  the resource information agency in accordance with the
  396  requirements for the procurement of property and services in
  397  based upon a request for proposal pursuant to s. 411.01(5)(e)1.
  398  At least one child care resource and referral agency must be
  399  established in each early learning coalition’s county or
  400  multicounty region. Child care resource and referral agencies
  401  shall provide the following services:
  402         (1) Identification of existing public and private child
  403  care and early childhood education services, including child
  404  care services by public and private employers, and the
  405  development of a resource file of those services. These services
  406  may include family day care, public and private child care
  407  programs, head start, prekindergarten early intervention
  408  programs, special education programs for prekindergarten
  409  handicapped children, services for children with developmental
  410  disabilities, full-time and part-time programs, before-school
  411  and after-school programs, vacation care programs, parent
  412  education, the WAGES Program, and related family support
  413  services. The resource file shall include, but not be limited
  414  to:
  415         (a) Type of program.
  416         (b) Hours of service.
  417         (c) Ages of children served.
  418         (d) Number of children served.
  419         (e) Significant program information.
  420         (f) Fees and eligibility for services.
  421         (g) Availability of transportation.
  422         (2) The establishment of a referral process which responds
  423  to parental need for information and which is provided with full
  424  recognition of the confidentiality rights of parents. Resource
  425  and referral programs shall make referrals to licensed child
  426  care facilities. Referrals shall be made to an unlicensed child
  427  care facility or arrangement only if there is no requirement
  428  that the facility or arrangement be licensed.
  429         (3) Maintenance of ongoing documentation of requests for
  430  service tabulated through the internal referral process. The
  431  following documentation of requests for service shall be
  432  maintained by all child care resource and referral agencies:
  433         (a) Number of calls and contacts to the child care
  434  information and referral agency component by type of service
  435  requested.
  436         (b) Ages of children for whom service was requested.
  437         (c) Time category of child care requests for each child.
  438         (d) Special time category, such as nights, weekends, and
  439  swing shift.
  440         (e) Reason that the child care is needed.
  441         (f) Name of the employer and primary focus of the business.
  442         (4) Provision of technical assistance to existing and
  443  potential providers of child care services. This assistance may
  444  include:
  445         (a) Information on initiating new child care services,
  446  zoning, and program and budget development and assistance in
  447  finding such information from other sources.
  448         (b) Information and resources which help existing child
  449  care services providers to maximize their ability to serve
  450  children and parents in their community.
  451         (c) Information and incentives which could help existing or
  452  planned child care services offered by public or private
  453  employers seeking to maximize their ability to serve the
  454  children of their working parent employees in their community,
  455  through contractual or other funding arrangements with
  456  businesses.
  457         (5) Assistance to families and employers in applying for
  458  various sources of subsidy including, but not limited to,
  459  subsidized child care, head start, prekindergarten early
  460  intervention programs, Project Independence, private
  461  scholarships, and the federal dependent care tax credit.
  462         (6) Assistance to state agencies in determining the market
  463  rate for child care.
  464         (7) Assistance in negotiating discounts or other special
  465  arrangements with child care providers.
  466         (8) Information and assistance to local interagency
  467  councils coordinating services for prekindergarten handicapped
  468  children.
  469         (9) Assistance to families in identifying summer recreation
  470  camp and summer day camp programs and in evaluating the health
  471  and safety qualities of summer recreation camp and summer day
  472  camp programs and in evaluating the health and safety qualities
  473  of summer camp programs. Contingent upon specific appropriation,
  474  a checklist of important health and safety qualities that
  475  parents can use to choose their summer camp programs shall be
  476  developed and distributed in a manner that will reach parents
  477  interested in such programs for their children.
  478         (10) A child care facility licensed under s. 402.305 and
  479  licensed and registered family day care homes must provide the
  480  statewide child care and resource and referral agencies with the
  481  following information annually:
  482         (a) Type of program.
  483         (b) Hours of service.
  484         (c) Ages of children served.
  485         (d) Fees and eligibility for services.
  486         (11) The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt any
  487  rules necessary for the implementation and administration of
  488  this section.
  489         Section 4. Subsection (10) is added to section 1002.71,
  490  Florida Statutes, to read:
  491         1002.71 Funding; financial and attendance reporting.—
  492         (10) Chapter 287 does not apply to an early learning
  493  coalition. However, an early learning coalition must apply all
  494  federal regulations applicable to the expenditure of, and the
  495  procurement of property and services from, federal grant funds
  496  as specified in s. 411.01(5)(e)1. to the expenditure of, and the
  497  procurement of property and services from, all state funds
  498  provided for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program
  499  under this part.
  500         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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