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Senate Bill 2882

Senate Bill sb2882

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882

    By the Committee on Education





    304-855C-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to accountability of the John

  3         M. McKay Scholarships for Students with

  4         Disabilities Program; amending s. 1002.39, F.S;

  5         revising the definition of an eligible student;

  6         revising the definition of prior school year in

  7         attendance; revising the eligibility

  8         requirements of the program to extend the term

  9         of the scholarship; prohibiting certain

10         students from receiving a scholarship; revising

11         the parental notification requirements;

12         authorizing certain scholarship students to

13         participate in a distance learning or

14         correspondence course under certain

15         circumstances; providing a definition of timely

16         parental notification; providing requirements

17         for district school boards with respect to

18         completing and making changes to the matrix of

19         services for scholarship students; requiring

20         school districts to provide parental

21         notification related to reassessments; revising

22         requirements that a participating private

23         school demonstrate fiscal soundness; requiring

24         a surety bond; providing an exception;

25         requiring annual registration of private

26         schools; providing requirements for

27         documentation and notice; providing additional

28         requirements for participating private schools;

29         requiring annual sworn and notarized compliance

30         statements to be filed with the department;

31         requiring specific documentation for

                                  1

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
    304-855C-04




 1         participating scholarship students; requiring

 2         that the private school maintain a physical

 3         location in this state; requiring that

 4         information be made available to potential

 5         scholarship students and the department;

 6         requiring scholarship students to participate

 7         in assessments; requiring notification to

 8         parents regarding student skill levels;

 9         requiring notification to the department

10         regarding changes in information; requiring

11         notification to local health departments;

12         requiring fingerprinting of all private school

13         owners, employees, and contractors who are in

14         direct contact with students by a time certain;

15         specifying the personnel who are authorized to

16         take fingerprints; providing for the costs of

17         fingerprinting, criminal records checks, and

18         processing; requiring that the results of

19         fingerprint and criminal records checks be

20         forwarded to the owner of a private school and

21         the Department of Education; prohibiting a

22         private school from acting as an attorney in

23         fact for the parent of a scholarship student or

24         endorsing scholarship warrants on behalf of a

25         parent; prohibiting participating private

26         schools from sending or directing scholarship

27         funds to parents of a scholarship student who

28         receives instruction at home; prohibiting a

29         participating school from being a

30         correspondence or distance learning school;

31         prohibiting a participating school from

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
    304-855C-04




 1         accepting students pending verification of

 2         information; authorizing a participating

 3         private school to request, and the department

 4         to grant, closed-enrollment status for a

 5         school; prohibiting the parent of a scholarship

 6         student from designating a participating

 7         private school as the parent's attorney in fact

 8         to sign a scholarship warrant; clarifying that

 9         the school district must report to the

10         department the students who are attending a

11         private school under the program; establishing

12         additional obligations of the Department of

13         Education; requiring the department to review,

14         approve, and verify information and review

15         background checks; requiring the department to

16         determine the eligibility of a private school

17         to participate in the program; requiring the

18         department to publish an on-line list of

19         current eligible private schools; requiring the

20         department to deny or refuse to renew the

21         registration of a private school for failing to

22         meet certain requirements; requiring the

23         department to issue a notice of noncompliance

24         for minor violations; providing for an

25         emergency order revoking the registration of a

26         private school for failing to satisfy the

27         requirements in the notice; requiring the

28         Department of Education to immediately revoke

29         the registration of a private school for

30         certain other violations; requiring the

31         department to revoke the scholarship for a

                                  3

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
    304-855C-04




 1         participant for failing to comply with

 2         statutory requirements or for engaging in

 3         specified practices; requiring the department

 4         to conduct investigations of legally sufficient

 5         complaints of violations; authorizing the

 6         department to require supporting information or

 7         documentation; authorizing the Department of

 8         Education to change the matrix of services

 9         under certain circumstances; providing for

10         audits by the Auditor General or an independent

11         certified public accountant; providing

12         requirements for the audits; requiring the

13         State Board of Education to adopt rules;

14         specifying the required rules; requiring the

15         State Board of Education to initiate the

16         adoption of rules by a time certain and report

17         to the Legislature; providing an effective

18         date.

19  

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

21  

22         Section 1.  Subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) and

23  paragraphs (d) and (e) of subsection (6) of section 1002.39,

24  Florida Statutes, are amended, present subsections (7) and (8)

25  of that section are redesignated as subsections (9) and (10),

26  respectively, and amended, and new subsections (7) and (8) are

27  added to that section, to read:

28         1002.39  The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students

29  with Disabilities Program.--There is established a program

30  that is separate and distinct from the Opportunity Scholarship

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
    304-855C-04




 1  Program and is named the John M. McKay Scholarships for

 2  Students with Disabilities Program, pursuant to this section.

 3         (1)  THE JOHN M. MCKAY SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH

 4  DISABILITIES PROGRAM.--The John M. McKay Scholarships for

 5  Students with Disabilities Program is established to provide

 6  the option to attend a public school other than the one to

 7  which assigned, or to provide a scholarship to a private

 8  school of choice, for students with disabilities for whom an

 9  individual education plan has been written in accordance with

10  rules of the State Board of Education. Students with

11  disabilities include K-12 students who are documented as

12  having mental retardation, a mentally handicapped, speech or

13  and language impairment, a impaired, deaf or hard of hearing

14  impairment, including deafness, a visual impairment, including

15  blindness, a, visually impaired, dual sensory impairment, a

16  physical impairment, a serious emotional disturbance,

17  including an emotional handicap, a impaired, physically

18  impaired, emotionally handicapped, specific learning

19  disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia,

20  dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia, a traumatic brain

21  injury disabled, hospitalized or homebound, or autism

22  autistic.

23         (2)  SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY; PROHIBITIONS.--

24         (a)  The parent of a public school student with a

25  disability who is dissatisfied with the student's progress may

26  request and receive from the state a John M. McKay Scholarship

27  for the child to enroll in and attend a private school in

28  accordance with this section if:

29         1.(a)  By assigned school attendance area or by special

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

31  attendance at a Florida public school. Prior school year in

                                  5

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  attendance means that the student was enrolled and reported as

 2  an exceptional student with a disability, as defined in s.

 3  1003.01(3), with an individual education plan by a school

 4  district for funding during the preceding school year,

 5  including the October and February Florida Education Finance

 6  Program surveys in kindergarten through grade 12.

 7         2.(b)  The parent has obtained acceptance for admission

 8  of the student to a private school that is eligible for the

 9  program under subsection (4) and has notified the Department

10  of Education school district of the request for a scholarship

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

12  payment. The parental notification must be through a

13  communication directly to the district or through the

14  Department of Education to the district in a manner that

15  creates a written or electronic record of the notification and

16  the date of receipt of the notification. The Department of

17  Education must notify the district of the parent's intent,

18  upon receipt of the parent's notification.

19  

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

21  school operating for the purpose of providing educational

22  services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice commitment

23  programs. For purposes of continuity of educational choice,

24  the scholarship shall remain in force until the student

25  returns to a public school or reaches the age of 22 graduates

26  from high school. However, at any time, the student's parent

27  may remove the student from the private school and place the

28  student in another private school that is eligible for the

29  program under subsection (4) or in a public school as provided

30  in subsection (3).

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1         (b)  A student is not eligible to receive a scholarship

 2  under this section if he or she:

 3         1.  Receives a scholarship from an eligible scholarship

 4  funding organization under s. 220.187.

 5         2.  Receives an opportunity scholarship under s.

 6  1002.38.

 7         3.  Participates in a home education program as defined

 8  in s. 1002.01(1).

 9         4.  Receives instruction from a correspondence school

10  or participates in distance learning courses.

11         5.  Does not have regular and direct contact with his

12  or her private school teachers at the school's physical

13  location.

14         6.  Is enrolled in a school operating for the purpose

15  of providing educational services to youth in commitment

16  programs of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

17  

18  Notwithstanding the prohibition set forth in subparagraph 4.,

19  a student who receives a John M. McKay Scholarship may

20  participate in a distance learning course or a course offered

21  by a correspondence school, the tuition and other costs of

22  which are not paid by scholarship funds provided under this

23  section.

24         (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

25  OBLIGATIONS.--

26         (a)  The Department of Education A school district

27  shall timely notify the parent of each public school the

28  student of all options available pursuant to this section and

29  offer that student's parent an opportunity to enroll the

30  student in another public school within the district. The

31  parent is not required to accept this offer in lieu of

                                  7

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
    304-855C-04




 1  requesting a John M. McKay Scholarship to a private school.

 2  However, if the parent chooses the public school option, the

 3  student may continue attending a public school chosen by the

 4  parent until the student graduates from high school. If the

 5  parent chooses a public school consistent with the district

 6  school board's choice plan under s. 1002.31, the school

 7  district shall provide transportation to the public school

 8  selected by the parent. The parent is responsible to provide

 9  transportation to a public school chosen that is not

10  consistent with the district school board's choice plan under

11  s. 1002.31. For purposes of this paragraph, timely

12  notification means notification no later than April 1 of each

13  school year.

14         (b)1.  For a student with disabilities who does not

15  have a matrix of services under s. 1011.62(1)(e), the school

16  district must complete a matrix that assigns the student to

17  one of the levels of service as they existed prior to the

18  2000-2001 school year.

19         2.a.  The school district must complete the matrix of

20  services for any student who is participating in the John M.

21  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program and

22  must notify the Department of Education of the student's

23  matrix level within 30 days after receiving notification by

24  the Department of Education of the parent's student's parent

25  of intent to participate in the scholarship program. The

26  nature and intensity of the services indicated in the matrix

27  must be consistent with the services described in the

28  student's individual education plan.

29         b.  A school district may change a matrix of services

30  only if the change is to:

31  

                                  8

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1         (I)  Correct a technical, typographical, or calculation

 2  error; or

 3         (II)  Align the matrix of services with the student's

 4  individual education plan completed by the public school

 5  district for use in the public school prior to the student

 6  enrolling in or attending a private school.

 7         3.  The Department of Education shall notify the

 8  private school of the amount of the scholarship within 10 days

 9  after receiving the school district's notification of the

10  student's matrix level.

11         4.  Within 10 school days after it receives

12  notification of a parent's intent to apply for a McKay

13  Scholarship, a district school board must notify the student's

14  parent if the matrix has not been completed and provide the

15  parent with the date for completion of the matrix required in

16  this paragraph.

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

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

19  availability of a space for the student, the parent of the

20  student must notify the Department of Education school

21  district 60 days prior to the first scholarship payment and

22  before entering the private school in order to be eligible for

23  the scholarship when a space becomes available for the student

24  in the private school.

25         (d)  The parent of a student may choose, as an

26  alternative, to enroll the student in and transport the

27  student to a public school in an adjacent school district

28  which has available space and has a program with the services

29  agreed to in the student's individual education plan already

30  in place, and that school district shall accept the student

31  and report the student to the Department of Education for

                                  9

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  purposes of the district's funding pursuant to the Florida

 2  Education Finance Program.

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

 4  the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

 5  Program whose parent requests that the student take the

 6  statewide assessments under s. 1008.22, the district shall

 7  provide locations and times to take all statewide assessments.

 8         (f)  A school district must notify The Department of

 9  Education must notify the school district upon receipt of the

10  within 10 days after it receives notification of a parent's

11  intent to apply for a scholarship for a student with a

12  disability. A school district must provide the student's

13  parent with the student's matrix level within 10 school days

14  after its completion.

15         (g)  A school district shall provide notification to

16  parents of the availability of a reassessment of each student

17  who receives a McKay Scholarship at least every 3 years.

18         (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY; REGISTRATION;

19  PROHIBITIONS.--

20         (a)  To be eligible to participate in the John M. McKay

21  Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, a private

22  school must be a Florida private school as defined in s.

23  1002.01(2), may be sectarian or nonsectarian, and must:

24         1.(a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by filing with

25  being in operation for 1 school year or provide the Department

26  of Education with a surety bond for the amount equal to the

27  scholarship amount for each quarter of the school year. The

28  surety bond must be filed at the time of the private school's

29  initial registration and at each renewal period thereafter for

30  a total of 3 years. This requirement does not apply to an

31  eligible private school that:

                                  10

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1         a.  Participates in the program for a total of 3 years

 2  or longer; and

 3         b.  Has had no action taken by the Department of

 4  Education against the private school for any violation of this

 5  section during the 3-year period.

 6  

 7  However, any private school that was subject to an action

 8  taken by the department for any violation of this section

 9  shall, at the time of renewal and for 2 years thereafter, file

10  a surety bond with the department.

11         2.  Annually register with the Department of Education.

12  Each owner or administrator of a private school must provide

13  the following information:

14         a.  The legal business and trade name, mailing address,

15  and business location of the private school;

16         b.  The full name, address, and telephone number of

17  each owner or administrator of the private school;

18         c.  A notification of the private school's intent to

19  participate in the program under this section. The notice must

20  specify the grade levels and services that the private school

21  has available for students with disabilities who are

22  participating in the scholarship program. statement by a

23  certified public accountant confirming that the private school

24  desiring to participate is insured and the owner or owners

25  have sufficient capital or credit to operate the school for

26  the upcoming year serving the number of students anticipated

27  with expected revenues from tuition and other sources that may

28  be reasonably expected. In lieu of such a statement, a surety

29  bond or letter of credit for the amount equal to the

30  scholarship funds for any quarter may be filed with the

31  department.

                                  11

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1         (b)  Notify the Department of Education of its intent

 2  to participate in the program under this section. The notice

 3  must specify the grade levels and services that the private

 4  school has available for students with disabilities who are

 5  participating in the scholarship program.

 6         3.(c)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of

 7  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.

 8         4.(d)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and

 9  codes.

10         5.(e)  Be academically accountable to the parent for

11  meeting the educational needs of the student.

12         6.(f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold

13  baccalaureate or higher degrees, or have at least 3 years of

14  teaching experience in public or private schools, or have

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

16  provide instruction in subjects taught.

17         7.(g)  Comply with all state laws relating to general

18  regulation of private schools, including, but not limited to,

19  s. 1002.42.

20         8.(h)  Publish and adhere to the tenets of its adopted

21  published disciplinary procedures prior to the expulsion of a

22  scholarship student.

23         9.  Provide the Department of Education with all

24  documentation required for each scholarship student's

25  participation in the scholarship program, including, but not

26  limited to:

27         a.  The private school's fee schedule, including, but

28  not limited to, fees for services, tuition, and instructional

29  materials, and each individual scholarship student's schedule

30  of fees and charges, at least 30 days before the first

31  quarterly scholarship payment is made for the student; and

                                  12

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1         b.  The enrollment and attendance information,

 2  including an on-line attendance verification form, for each

 3  scholarship student at the private school, prior to each

 4  scholarship payment.

 5  

 6  The on-line attendance form must be documented each quarter by

 7  a notarized statement that is signed by the private school and

 8  the parents of each McKay scholarship student in attendance at

 9  the private school. The private school must send this

10  documentation to the Department of Education each quarter.

11         10.  Maintain a physical location in this state where a

12  scholarship student regularly attends classes.

13         11.a.  Advertise or notify potential McKay Scholarship

14  students and parents of the specific types of disabilities

15  school personnel are qualified to work with and the

16  qualifications of school personnel, and provide this

17  information to the Department of Education.

18         b.  Discuss with the parent those parts of the

19  student's individual education plan that can be met by the

20  private school.

21         12.  Require each McKay Scholarship student to

22  participate at least annually in a student assessment which as

23  determined by the private school will demonstrate the

24  student's skill level to the student's parents.

25         13.  Notify the student's parent at least annually

26  about the student's skill level on a student assessment that

27  is determined by the private school.

28         14.  Notify the Department of Education of any change

29  in the school's registered name or location prior to any such

30  change and notify the Department of Education within 15 days

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  after any other change in the registration information

 2  submitted to the department.

 3         15.  Notify each local health department within 15 days

 4  after establishing operations at a physical location or

 5  address and within 3 days after discovering any ongoing health

 6  code violation that has not yet been remedied in full.

 7         16.  Annually complete and file with the Department of

 8  Education a sworn and notarized compliance statement in a form

 9  and timeline specified by the department.

10         17.a.  Complete and file, with the Department of Law

11  Enforcement for state processing and a criminal records check

12  and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal

13  processing and a criminal records check, a complete set of

14  fingerprints for each person who is employed at or under

15  contract with the private school and who is in direct contact

16  with students.

17         b.  All required fingerprints must be filed with the

18  specified authorities within 5 business days after employment

19  or signature of contract.

20         c.  The fingerprints required under this section shall

21  be taken by an authorized law enforcement officer or an

22  employee of the private school who is trained to take

23  fingerprints. The costs of fingerprinting, criminal records

24  checks, and processing shall be borne by the employee or the

25  private school.

26         d.  The results of the criminal records check required

27  under this subparagraph shall be forwarded by the Department

28  of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to

29  the owner of the private school for use in employment

30  decisions and to the Department of Education.

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1         18.  In addition to the requirements for fingerprinting

 2  and criminal records checks in s. 1002.42, complete and file

 3  with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal

 4  processing and a criminal records check a complete set of

 5  fingerprints for each person who is an owner or administrator

 6  of the private school or who establishes, purchases, or

 7  otherwise becomes an owner of the private school. The results

 8  of the criminal records checks required under this

 9  subparagraph and s. 1002.42 shall be forwarded by the

10  Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of

11  Investigation to the Department of Education and to the owner

12  of the private school.

13         (b)  A private school participating in the John M.

14  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program may

15  not:

16         1.  Act as attorney in fact for parents of a

17  scholarship student under the authority of a power of attorney

18  executed by such parents, or under any other authority, to

19  endorse scholarship warrants on behalf of parents.

20         2.  Send or direct McKay Scholarship funds to parents

21  of a scholarship student who receives instruction at home.

22         3.  Be a correspondence school or distance learning

23  school.

24         4.  Accept a McKay scholarship student until the sworn

25  and notarized compliance statement has been completed,

26  submitted to, and independently verified by the Department of

27  Education.

28         (c)  A participating private school may request that

29  the school be listed by the Department of Education with a

30  closed-enrollment status in the McKay Scholarship program if

31  the school is no longer accepting new students with McKay

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  Scholarships. However, the private school is subject to all

 2  the requirements under this section and all applicable rules

 3  adopted by the State Board of Education if the private school

 4  is serving a student with a McKay Scholarship. The private

 5  school must provide a written request for closed-enrollment

 6  status to the Department of Education. The Department of

 7  Education may grant closed-enrollment status to a

 8  participating private school. However, closed-enrollment

 9  status may not be granted for longer than 1 school year.

10         (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS.--

11         (a)  A parent who applies for a John M. McKay

12  Scholarship is exercising his or her parental option to place

13  his or her child in a private school. The parent must select

14  the private school and apply for the admission of his or her

15  child.

16         (b)  The parent must have requested the scholarship at

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

18  payment.

19         (c)  Any student participating in the scholarship

20  program must remain in attendance throughout the school year,

21  unless excused by the school for illness or other good cause,

22  and must comply fully with the school's code of conduct.

23         (d)  The parent of each student participating in the

24  scholarship program must comply fully with the private

25  school's parental involvement requirements, unless excused by

26  the school for illness or other good cause.

27         (e)  If the parent requests that the student

28  participating in the scholarship program take all statewide

29  assessments required pursuant to s. 1008.22, the parent is

30  responsible for transporting the student to the assessment

31  site designated by the school district.

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

 2  to whom the warrant is made must restrictively endorse the

 3  warrant to the private school for deposit into the account of

 4  the private school.

 5         (g)  The parent of a student participating in the

 6  scholarship program may not designate any participating

 7  private school as the parent's attorney in fact to sign a

 8  scholarship warrant.

 9         (h)(g)  A participant who fails to comply with this

10  subsection forfeits the scholarship.

11         (6)  SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING AND PAYMENT.--

12         (d)  The school district shall report to the Department

13  of Education all students who are attending a private school

14  under this program. The students with disabilities attending

15  private schools on John M. McKay Scholarships shall be

16  reported separately from other students reported for purposes

17  of the Florida Education Finance Program.

18         (e)  Following notification on July 1, September 1,

19  December 1, or February 1 of the number of program

20  participants, the Department of Education shall transfer, from

21  General Revenue funds only, the amount calculated under

22  paragraph (b) from the school district's total funding

23  entitlement under the Florida Education Finance Program and

24  from authorized categorical accounts to a separate account for

25  the scholarship program for quarterly disbursement to the

26  parents of participating students. When a student enters the

27  scholarship program, the Department of Education must receive

28  all documentation required for the student's participation,

29  including, but not limited to, the private school's and

30  student's fee schedules, at least 30 days before the first

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  quarterly scholarship payment is made for the student. The

 2  Department of Education may not make any retroactive payments.

 3         (7)  OBLIGATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.--

 4         (a)  The Department of Education shall perform the

 5  following duties:

 6         1.  Review and approve all documentation required for

 7  each scholarship student's participation, including, without

 8  limitation, the private school's schedule and the student's

 9  fee schedule.

10         2.  Verify the admission acceptance of each scholarship

11  student to an eligible private school prior to the initial

12  scholarship payment.

13         3.  Verify, prior to each scholarship payment, the

14  enrollment and attendance of each scholarship student at the

15  private school and that the scholarship student is not:

16         a.  Receiving a scholarship under s. 220.187 or s.

17  1002.38.

18         b.  Participating in a home education program as

19  defined in s. 1002.01(1).

20         c.  Participating in instruction delivered by a

21  correspondence school or distance learning courses, except as

22  specifically permitted in paragraph (2)(b).

23         d.  Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of

24  providing education services to youth in commitment programs

25  of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

26         e.  Currently or prospectively enrolled in a public

27  school in the state, if the student has a scholarship to

28  attend a private school.

29         4.  Administer and prescribe an annual sworn and

30  notarized compliance statement for each participating private

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  school and independently verify the information provided by

 2  each participating private school.

 3         5.  Review all results of the background checks

 4  performed pursuant to subsection (4).

 5         6.  Determine the eligibility of a private school to

 6  accept McKay scholarship students, based upon independent

 7  verification that the private school meets all the

 8  requirements in this section and all applicable rules adopted

 9  by the State Board of Education.

10         7.  Publish a current, on-line list of eligible private

11  schools.

12         8.  Include each eligible private school on the on-line

13  list of eligible private schools within 10 days after the

14  private school is determined as eligible to participate in the

15  McKay scholarship program.

16         9.  Remove immediately from the on-line list of

17  eligible private schools any school that is denied renewal of

18  registration as an eligible private school, as provided for in

19  paragraph (b).

20         10.  Remove immediately from the on-line list of

21  eligible private schools any school with a revoked

22  registration, as provided for in paragraphs (b) and (c).

23         (b)  The Department of Education shall deny or refuse

24  to renew the registration of any private school if it

25  determines that the private school or any of its owners or

26  administrators has failed to meet the requirements for initial

27  application or renewal as provided in this section.

28         (c)  The Department of Education shall issue a notice

29  of noncompliance pursuant to s. 120.695 to any participating

30  private school that violates any of the provisions of this

31  section or the rules of the State Board of Education, if the

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  violation is a minor violation as defined in s. 120.695. If a

 2  private school fails to satisfy the requirements specified in

 3  the notice of noncompliance within 30 days after its receipt

 4  by the school, the Department of Education shall issue an

 5  emergency order revoking the registration of the participating

 6  private school. The Department of Education shall issue an

 7  emergency order to immediately revoke the registration of a

 8  participating private school for a violation that is not a

 9  minor violation as defined in s. 120.695.

10         (d)  The Department of Education shall revoke the

11  scholarship for a participant who fails to comply with the

12  requirements in subsection (5) or who:

13         1.  Receives a scholarship under s. 220.187 or s.

14  1002.38.

15         2.  Participates in a home education program as defined

16  in s. 1002.01(1).

17         3.  Participates in instruction delivered by a

18  correspondence school or distance learning courses, except as

19  specifically permitted in paragraph (2)(b).

20         4.  Does not have regular and direct contact with the

21  student's private school teachers at the school's physical

22  location.

23         5.  Enrolls in a school operating for the purpose of

24  providing educational services to youth in commitment programs

25  of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

26         (e)  The Department of Education shall conduct an

27  investigation of any written complaint of a violation of this

28  section if the complaint is signed by the complainant and is

29  legally sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it

30  contains ultimate facts that show that a violation of this

31  section or any rule adopted by the State Board of Education

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  has occurred. In order to determine legal sufficiency, the

 2  Department of Education may require supporting information or

 3  documentation.

 4         (f)  The Department of Education may not change a

 5  matrix of services completed by a school district. However,

 6  the department may make the following changes for a matrix for

 7  a student if the school district has identified the error but

 8  has failed to make a correction in a timely manner:

 9         1.  A correction to a technical, typographical, or

10  calculation error; or

11         2.  A change to align the matrix of services with the

12  student's individual education plan completed by the school

13  district for use in the public school prior to the student

14  enrolling in or attending a private school.

15  

16  The department must report any change made under this

17  paragraph to the school district and the parent of the

18  student.

19         (8)  OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR

20  GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the

21  Auditor General must annually audit the Florida Education

22  Finance Program (FEFP) for each school district participating

23  in the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with

24  Disabilities Program. The audit shall include a review of a

25  sample of the warrants used to pay for the scholarships, as

26  well as random site visits to participating private schools in

27  order to verify student enrollment and other information

28  reported by the private schools. In lieu of conducting these

29  audits, the Auditor General may contract with an independent

30  certified public accountant to annually conduct an audit of a

31  small sample of participating private schools, including, but

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  not limited to, a review of a sample of the warrants used to

 2  pay for the scholarships, as well as random site visits to

 3  participating private schools in order to verify student

 4  enrollment and other information reported by the private

 5  schools.

 6         (9)(7)  LIABILITY.--No liability shall arise on the

 7  part of the state based on the award or use of a John M. McKay

 8  Scholarship.

 9         (10)(8)  RULES.--The State Board of Education shall may

10  adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to

11  administer this section, including, without limitation, rules

12  for:.

13         (a)  Administering the annual sworn and notarized

14  compliance statement to all participating private schools;

15         (b)  Establishing procedures for schools to request

16  closed-enrollment and active status;

17         (c)  Establishing forms for changes to a matrix by a

18  school district and the department;

19         (d)  Implementing the requirement that a private school

20  timely notify the Department of Education of material changes

21  to the school's registration information;

22         (e)  Establishing attendance-verification procedures

23  and forms; and

24         (f)  Establishing procedures for determining student

25  eligibility and approving scholarships.

26  

27  The rules related to the annual sworn and notarized compliance

28  statement shall establish a deadline for the receipt of the

29  initial sworn and notarized compliance statement from the

30  private school and shall enumerate the items to be included in

31  the statement. The rules shall enumerate the items to be

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2882
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 1  included in a subsequent annual sworn and notarized compliance

 2  statement that is required in January of each year from the

 3  private school. However, the inclusion of eligible private

 4  schools within options available to Florida public school

 5  students does not expand the regulatory authority of the

 6  state, its officers, or any school district to impose any

 7  additional regulation of private schools beyond those

 8  reasonably necessary to enforce requirements expressly set

 9  forth in this section.

10         Section 2.  The State Board of Education shall initiate

11  the adoption of rules required by this act 10 days after the

12  effective date of this act. The State Board of Education shall

13  report to the presiding officers of the Legislature by

14  December 1, 2004, on the status of the rulemaking required by

15  this act.

16         Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

17  law.

18  

19            *****************************************

20                          SENATE SUMMARY

21    Revises various provisions governing the John M. McKay
      Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program.
22    Revises the eligibility requirements for the program.
      Requires a school district to reevaluate a student's
23    eligibility for the program. Requires that private
      schools participating in the program demonstrate fiscal
24    soundness and annually register with the Department of
      Education. Requires screening of school personnel who
25    have direct contact with students. Provides procedures by
      which a participating private school can be placed on
26    closed-enrollment status. Authorizes the department to
      issue notices of noncompliance or revoke the registration
27    of a private school. Authorizes the department to conduct
      investigations. Requires the State Board of Education to
28    adopt rules. (See bill for details.)

29  

30  

31  

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