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Senate Bill 2882

Senate Bill sb2882c2

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882

    By the Committees on Appropriations; Education; and Senator
    Bullard




    309-2384-04

  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 eligibility requirements of the

  7         program to extend the term of the scholarship;

  8         prohibiting certain students from receiving a

  9         scholarship; revising the parental notification

10         requirements; authorizing certain scholarship

11         students to participate in a distance learning

12         or correspondence course under certain

13         circumstances; providing a definition of timely

14         parental notification; providing requirements

15         for district school boards with respect to

16         completing and making changes to the matrix of

17         services for scholarship students; requiring

18         school districts to provide parental

19         notification related to reassessments; revising

20         requirements that a participating private

21         school demonstrate fiscal soundness; requiring

22         a surety bond; providing an exception;

23         requiring annual registration of private

24         schools; providing requirements for

25         documentation and notice; providing additional

26         requirements for participating private schools;

27         requiring annual sworn and notarized compliance

28         statements to be filed with the department;

29         requiring specific documentation for

30         participating scholarship students; requiring

31         that the private school maintain a physical

                                  1

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 1         location in this state; requiring that

 2         information be made available to potential

 3         scholarship students and the department;

 4         requiring scholarship students to participate

 5         in assessments; requiring notification to

 6         parents regarding student skill levels;

 7         requiring notification to the department

 8         regarding changes in information; requiring

 9         notification to local health departments;

10         requiring certain individuals to undergo level

11         2 background screening requirements pursuant to

12         s. 435.04, F.S.; providing for the Department

13         of Law Enforcement to retain and search

14         fingerprint records; providing for an annual

15         fee as provided by rule of the Department of

16         Law Enforcement; requiring that costs of

17         background checks be borne by certain parties;

18         prohibiting a private school from acting as an

19         attorney in fact for the parent of a

20         scholarship student or endorsing scholarship

21         warrants on behalf of a parent; prohibiting

22         participating private schools from sending or

23         directing scholarship funds to parents of a

24         scholarship student who receives instruction at

25         home; prohibiting a participating school from

26         being a correspondence or distance learning

27         school; prohibiting a participating school from

28         accepting students pending verification of

29         information; authorizing a participating

30         private school to request, and the department

31         to grant, closed-enrollment status for a

                                  2

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 1         school; prohibiting the parent of a scholarship

 2         student from designating a participating

 3         private school as the parent's attorney in fact

 4         to sign a scholarship warrant; clarifying that

 5         the school district must report to the

 6         department the students who are attending a

 7         private school under the program; establishing

 8         additional obligations of the Department of

 9         Education; requiring the department to review,

10         approve, and verify information and review

11         background checks; requiring the department to

12         determine the eligibility of a private school

13         to participate in the program; requiring the

14         department to publish an on-line list of

15         current eligible private schools; requiring the

16         department to deny or refuse to allow the

17         participation of a private school for failing

18         to meet certain requirements; requiring the

19         department to issue a notice of noncompliance

20         for minor violations; providing for an

21         emergency order revoking the registration of a

22         private school for failing to satisfy the

23         requirements in the notice; requiring the

24         Department of Education to immediately revoke

25         the registration of a private school for

26         certain other violations; requiring the

27         department to revoke the scholarship for a

28         participant for failing to comply with

29         statutory requirements or for engaging in

30         specified practices; requiring the department

31         to conduct investigations of legally sufficient

                                  3

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 1         complaints of violations; authorizing the

 2         department to require supporting information or

 3         documentation; authorizing the Department of

 4         Education to change the matrix of services

 5         under certain circumstances; providing for

 6         audits by the Auditor General; providing

 7         requirements for the audits; requiring the

 8         State Board of Education to adopt rules;

 9         specifying the required rules; requiring the

10         State Board of Education to initiate the

11         adoption of rules by a time certain and report

12         to the Legislature; providing exceptions for

13         certain participating private schools subject

14         to specific conditions; providing an effective

15         date.

16  

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

18  

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

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

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

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

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

24  added to that section, to read:

25         1002.39  The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students

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

27  that is separate and distinct from the Opportunity Scholarship

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

29  Students with Disabilities Program, pursuant to this section.

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

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

                                  4

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 1  Students with Disabilities Program is established to provide

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

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

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

 5  individual education plan has been written in accordance with

 6  rules of the State Board of Education. Students with

 7  disabilities include K-12 students who are documented as

 8  having mental retardation, a mentally handicapped, speech or

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

10  impairment, including deafness, a visual impairment, including

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

12  physical impairment, a serious emotional disturbance,

13  including an emotional handicap, a impaired, physically

14  impaired, emotionally handicapped, specific learning

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

16  dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia, a traumatic brain

17  injury disabled, hospitalized or homebound, or autism

18  autistic.

19         (2)  SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY; PROHIBITIONS.--

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

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

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

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

24  accordance with this section if:

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

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

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

28  attendance means that the student was enrolled and reported by

29  a school district for funding during the preceding October and

30  February Florida Education Finance Program surveys in

31  kindergarten through grade 12.

                                  5

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

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

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

 4  of Education school district of the request for a scholarship

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

 6  payment. The parental notification must be through a

 7  communication directly to the district or through the

 8  Department of Education to the district in a manner that

 9  creates a written or electronic record of the notification and

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

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

12  upon receipt of the parent's notification.

13  

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

15  school operating for the purpose of providing educational

16  services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice commitment

17  programs. For purposes of continuity of educational choice,

18  the scholarship shall remain in force until the student

19  returns to a public school or graduates from high school or

20  reaches the age of 22, whichever occurs first. However, at any

21  time, the student's parent may remove the student from the

22  private school and place the student in another private school

23  that is eligible for the program under subsection (4) or in a

24  public school as provided in subsection (3).

25         (b)  A student is not eligible to receive a scholarship

26  under this section if he or she:

27         1.  Receives a scholarship from an eligible scholarship

28  funding organization under s. 220.187.

29         2.  Receives an opportunity scholarship under s.

30  1002.38.

31  

                                  6

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 1         3.  Participates in a home education program as defined

 2  in s. 1002.01(1).

 3         4.  Receives instruction from a correspondence school

 4  or participates in distance learning courses.

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

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

 7  location.

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

 9  of providing educational services to youth in commitment

10  programs of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

11  

12  Notwithstanding the prohibition set forth in subparagraph 4.,

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

14  participate in a distance learning course or a course offered

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

16  which are not paid by scholarship funds provided under this

17  section.

18         (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

19  OBLIGATIONS.--

20         (a)  The Department of Education A school district

21  shall timely notify the parent of each public school the

22  student of all options available pursuant to this section and

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

24  student in another public school within the district. The

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

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

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

28  student may continue attending a public school chosen by the

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

30  parent chooses a public school consistent with the district

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

                                  7

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 1  district shall provide transportation to the public school

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

 3  transportation to a public school chosen that is not

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

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

 6  notification means notification no later than April 1 of each

 7  school year.

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

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

10  district must complete a matrix that assigns the student to

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

12  2000-2001 school year.

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

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

15  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program and

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

17  matrix level within 30 days after receiving notification by

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

19  of intent to participate in the scholarship program. The

20  nature and intensity of the services indicated in the matrix

21  must be consistent with the services described in the

22  student's individual education plan.

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

24  only if the change is to:

25         (I)  Correct a technical, typographical, or calculation

26  error; or

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

28  individual education plan completed by the public school

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

30  enrolling in or attending a private school.

31  

                                  8

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 1         3.  The Department of Education shall notify the

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

 3  after receiving the school district's notification of the

 4  student's matrix level.

 5         4.  Within 10 school days after it receives

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

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

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

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

10  this paragraph.

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

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

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

14  student must notify the Department of Education school

15  district 60 days prior to the first scholarship payment and

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

17  the scholarship when a space becomes available for the student

18  in the private school.

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

20  alternative, to enroll the student in and transport the

21  student to a public school in an adjacent school district

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

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

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

25  and report the student to the Department of Education for

26  purposes of the district's funding pursuant to the Florida

27  Education Finance Program.

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

29  the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

30  Program whose parent requests that the student take the

31  

                                  9

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 1  statewide assessments under s. 1008.22, the district shall

 2  provide locations and times to take all statewide assessments.

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

 4  Education must notify the school district upon receipt of the

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

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

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

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

 9  after its completion.

10         (g)  A school district shall provide notification to

11  parents of the availability of a reassessment of each student

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

13         (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY; REGISTRATION;

14  PROHIBITIONS.--

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

16  Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, a private

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

18  1002.01(2), may be sectarian or nonsectarian, and must:

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

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

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

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

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

24  initial registration and at each renewal period thereafter for

25  a total of 2 years. This requirement does not apply to an

26  eligible private school that:

27         a.  Participates in the program for a total of 2 years

28  or longer; and

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

30  Education against the private school for any violation of this

31  section during the 2-year period.

                                  10

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 1  

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

 3  taken by the department for any violation of this section

 4  shall, following the date on which the action was taken

 5  against the private school for a violation of this section,

 6  but prior to receiving the next quarterly payment and for 2

 7  years thereafter, file a surety bond with the department.

 8         2.  Annually register with the Department of Education.

 9  Each owner or administrator of a private school must provide

10  the following information:

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

12  and business location of the private school;

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

14  each owner or administrator of the private school;

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

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

17  specify the grade levels and services that the private school

18  has available for students with disabilities who are

19  participating in the scholarship program. statement by a

20  certified public accountant confirming that the private school

21  desiring to participate is insured and the owner or owners

22  have sufficient capital or credit to operate the school for

23  the upcoming year serving the number of students anticipated

24  with expected revenues from tuition and other sources that may

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

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

27  scholarship funds for any quarter may be filed with the

28  department.

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

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

31  must specify the grade levels and services that the private

                                  11

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 1  school has available for students with disabilities who are

 2  participating in the scholarship program.

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

 4  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.

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

 6  codes.

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

 8  meeting the educational needs of the student.

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

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

11  teaching experience in public or private schools, or have

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

13  provide instruction in subjects taught.

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

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

16  s. 1002.42.

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

18  published disciplinary procedures prior to the expulsion of a

19  scholarship student.

20         9.  Provide the Department of Education with all

21  documentation required for each scholarship student's

22  participation in the scholarship program, including, but not

23  limited to:

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

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

26  materials, and each individual scholarship student's schedule

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

28  quarterly scholarship payment is made for the student; and

29         b.  The enrollment and attendance information,

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

31  

                                  12

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 1  scholarship student at the private school, prior to each

 2  scholarship payment.

 3  

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

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

 6  the parents of each McKay scholarship student in attendance at

 7  the private school. The private school must maintain the

 8  completed notarized statements at the private school for each

 9  academic year. The completed notarized statements shall be

10  open to the Department of Education upon request.

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  served by the school, and provide this information to the

16  Department of Education.

17         b.  Review with the parent the student's individual

18  education plan.

19         12.  Require each McKay Scholarship student to

20  participate at least annually in a student assessment which as

21  determined by the private school, in consultation with the

22  student's parent or guardian, will demonstrate the student's

23  skill level to the student's parents.

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

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

26  is determined by the private school.

27         14.  Notify the Department of Education of any change

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

29  change and notify the Department of Education within 15 days

30  after any other change in the registration information

31  submitted to the department.

                                  13

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 1         15.  Notify each local health department within 15 days

 2  after establishing operations at a physical location or

 3  address and within 3 days after discovering any ongoing health

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

 5         16.  Annually complete and file with the Department of

 6  Education a sworn and notarized compliance statement in a form

 7  and timeline specified in rules adopted by the State Board of

 8  Education.

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

10  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program must

11  ensure that all personnel who are hired, contracted, or

12  engaged to provide services to fill positions requiring direct

13  contact with students in the private school, and all owners of

14  a private school shall, upon employment, entry into the

15  contract, engagement to provide services, or assumption of a

16  position of ownership, a position of decisionmaking authority,

17  or a position having access to scholarship funds, undergo

18  background screening pursuant to s. 435.04 by filing with the

19  Department of Education a complete set of fingerprints taken

20  by an authorized law enforcement agency or an employee of the

21  private school who is trained to take fingerprints. These

22  fingerprints shall be submitted to the Department of Law

23  Enforcement for state processing, which shall in turn submit

24  the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for

25  federal processing. The Department of Education shall screen

26  the background results and report to the private school any

27  person described in this paragraph who fails to meet level 2

28  screening standards pursuant to s. 435.04 or any person

29  described in this paragraph who has been convicted of a crime

30  involving moral turpitude. Employees, contractors, personnel

31  engaged to provide services, or owners found through

                                  14

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 1  fingerprint processing to have been convicted of a crime

 2  involving moral turpitude or failing to meet level 2 screening

 3  standards pursuant to s. 435.04 may not be employed,

 4  contracted with, or engaged to provide services in any

 5  position in the private school requiring direct contact with

 6  students, and may not assume a position of ownership, a

 7  position of decisionmaking authority, or a position having

 8  access to scholarship funds. The cost of the background

 9  screening may be borne by the private school, the employee,

10  the contractor, the person engaged to provide services, or the

11  owner.

12         1.  Every 5 years each person described in this

13  paragraph must meet level 2 screening requirements as

14  described in s. 435.04, at which time the Department of

15  Education shall request the Department of Law Enforcement to

16  forward the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of

17  Investigation for level 2 screening. If the fingerprints of a

18  person described in this paragraph are not retained by the

19  Department of Law Enforcement under subparagraph 2., the

20  person must file a complete set of fingerprints with the

21  Department of Education. Upon submission of fingerprints for

22  this purpose, the Department of Education shall request the

23  Department of Law Enforcement to forward the fingerprints to

24  the Federal Bureau of Investigation for level 2 screening, and

25  the fingerprints shall be retained by the Department of Law

26  Enforcement under subparagraph 2. The cost of the state and

27  federal criminal history check required by level 2 screening

28  may be borne by the private school, the employee, the

29  contractor, the person engaged to provide services, or the

30  owner. Under penalty of perjury, each person described in this

31  paragraph must agree to inform the private school immediately

                                  15

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 1  if convicted of any disqualifying offense while in a capacity

 2  with the private school as described in this paragraph. If it

 3  is found that a person described in this paragraph does not

 4  meet the level 2 requirements, the person shall be immediately

 5  suspended from working in that capacity and shall remain

 6  suspended until final resolution of any appeals.

 7         2.  Beginning July 1, 2004, all fingerprints submitted

 8  to the Department of Law Enforcement as required by this

 9  paragraph shall be retained by the Department of Law

10  Enforcement in a manner provided by rule and entered in the

11  statewide automated fingerprint identification system

12  authorized by s. 943.05(2)(b). Such fingerprints shall

13  thereafter be available for all purposes and uses authorized

14  for arrest fingerprint cards entered in the statewide

15  automated fingerprint identification system pursuant to s.

16  943.051.

17         3.  Beginning December 15, 2004, the Department of Law

18  Enforcement shall search all arrest fingerprint cards received

19  under s. 943.051 against the fingerprints retained in the

20  statewide automated fingerprint identification system under

21  subparagraph 2. Any arrest record that is identified with the

22  fingerprints of a person described in this paragraph shall be

23  reported to the Department of Education. Each eligible private

24  school shall participate in this search process by paying an

25  annual fee to the Department of Law Enforcement and by

26  informing the Department of Law Enforcement of any change in

27  the status or place of employment, contracting, or engagement

28  of services of its personnel as described in this paragraph

29  whose fingerprints are retained under subparagraph 2. The

30  Department of Law Enforcement shall adopt a rule setting the

31  amount of the annual fee to be imposed upon each private

                                  16

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 1  school for performing these searches and establishing the

 2  procedures for the retention of private school personnel

 3  fingerprints and the dissemination of search results. The fee

 4  may be borne by the private school, the employee, the

 5  contracted person, the person engaged to provide services, or

 6  the owner.

 7         (c)  A private school participating in the John M.

 8  McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program may

 9  not:

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

11  scholarship student under the authority of a power of attorney

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

13  endorse scholarship warrants on behalf of parents.

14         2.  Send or direct McKay Scholarship funds to parents

15  of a scholarship student who receives instruction at home.

16         3.  Be a correspondence school or distance learning

17  school.

18         4.  Accept a McKay scholarship student until the sworn

19  and notarized compliance statement has been completed,

20  submitted to, and independently verified by the Department of

21  Education.

22         (d)  A participating private school may request that

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

24  closed-enrollment status in the McKay Scholarship program if

25  the school is no longer accepting new students with McKay

26  Scholarships. As used in this paragraph, the term

27  "closed-enrollment status" means that the private school is no

28  longer accepting any new student with a McKay Scholarship.

29  However, the private school is subject to all the requirements

30  under this section and all applicable rules adopted by the

31  State Board of Education if the private school is serving a

                                  17

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 1  student with a McKay Scholarship. The private school must

 2  provide a written request for closed-enrollment status to the

 3  Department of Education. The Department of Education may grant

 4  closed-enrollment status to a participating private school.

 5  However, closed-enrollment status may not be granted for

 6  longer than 1 school year.

 7         (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS.--

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

 9  Scholarship is exercising his or her parental option to place

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

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

12  child.

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

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

15  payment.

16         (c)  Any student participating in the scholarship

17  program must remain in attendance throughout the school year,

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

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

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

21  scholarship program must comply fully with the private

22  school's parental involvement requirements, unless excused by

23  the school for illness or other good cause.

24         (e)  If the parent requests that the student

25  participating in the scholarship program take all statewide

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

27  responsible for transporting the student to the assessment

28  site designated by the school district.

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

30  to whom the warrant is made must restrictively endorse the

31  

                                  18

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
    309-2384-04




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

 2  the private school.

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

 4  scholarship program may not designate any participating

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

 6  scholarship warrant.

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

 8  subsection forfeits the scholarship.

 9         (6)  SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING AND PAYMENT.--

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

11  of Education all students who are attending a private school

12  under this program. The students with disabilities attending

13  private schools on John M. McKay Scholarships shall be

14  reported separately from other students reported for purposes

15  of the Florida Education Finance Program.

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

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

18  participants, the Department of Education shall transfer, from

19  General Revenue funds only, the amount calculated under

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

21  entitlement under the Florida Education Finance Program and

22  from authorized categorical accounts to a separate account for

23  the scholarship program for quarterly disbursement to the

24  parents of participating students. When a student enters the

25  scholarship program, the Department of Education must receive

26  all documentation required for the student's participation,

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

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

29  quarterly scholarship payment is made for the student. The

30  Department of Education may not make any retroactive payments.

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

                                  19

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
    309-2384-04




 1         (a)  The Department of Education shall perform the

 2  following duties:

 3         1.  Review for compliance all documentation required

 4  for each scholarship student's participation, including,

 5  without limitation, the private school's schedule and the

 6  student's fee schedule.

 7         2.  Verify the admission acceptance of each scholarship

 8  student to an eligible private school prior to the initial

 9  scholarship payment.

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

11  enrollment and attendance of each scholarship student at the

12  private school and that the scholarship student is not:

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

14  1002.38.

15         b.  Participating in a home education program as

16  defined in s. 1002.01(1).

17         c.  Participating in instruction delivered by a

18  correspondence school or distance learning courses, except as

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

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

21  providing education services to youth in commitment programs

22  of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

23         e.  Currently enrolled in a public school in the state,

24  if the student has a scholarship to attend a private school.

25         4.  Administer and prescribe an annual sworn and

26  notarized compliance statement for each participating private

27  school and independently verify the information provided by

28  each participating private school.

29         5.  Review all results of the background checks

30  performed pursuant to subsection (4).

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
    309-2384-04




 1         6.  Determine the eligibility of a private school to

 2  accept McKay scholarship students, based upon independent

 3  verification that the private school meets all the

 4  requirements in this section and all applicable rules adopted

 5  by the State Board of Education.

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

 7  schools.

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

 9  list of eligible private schools within 10 days after the

10  private school is determined as eligible to participate in the

11  McKay scholarship program.

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

13  eligible private schools any school that is determined by the

14  Department of Education to be an ineligible private school, as

15  provided for in paragraph (b).

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

17  eligible private schools any school that is determined by the

18  Department of Education to be an ineligible school, as

19  provided for in paragraphs (b) and (c).

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

21  to allow the participation of any private school if it

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

23  administrators has failed to meet the requirements for initial

24  application or renewal as provided in this section.

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

26  of noncompliance pursuant to s. 120.695 to any participating

27  private school that violates any of the provisions of this

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

29  violation is a minor violation as defined in s. 120.695. If a

30  private school fails to satisfy the requirements specified in

31  the notice of noncompliance within 30 days after its receipt

                                  21

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
    309-2384-04




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

 2  emergency order revoking the registration of the participating

 3  private school. The Department of Education shall issue an

 4  emergency order to immediately revoke the registration of a

 5  participating private school for a violation that is not a

 6  minor violation as defined in s. 120.695.

 7         (d)  The Department of Education shall revoke the

 8  scholarship for a participant who fails to comply with the

 9  requirements in subsection (5) or who:

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

11  1002.38.

12         2.  Participates in a home education program as defined

13  in s. 1002.01(1).

14         3.  Participates in instruction delivered by a

15  correspondence school or distance learning courses, except as

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

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

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

19  location.

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

21  providing educational services to youth in commitment programs

22  of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

23         (e)  The Department of Education shall conduct an

24  investigation of any written complaint of a violation of this

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

26  legally sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it

27  contains ultimate facts that show that a violation of this

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

29  has occurred. In order to determine legal sufficiency, the

30  Department of Education may require supporting information or

31  documentation.

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
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 1         (f)  The Department of Education may not change a

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

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

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

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

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

 7  calculation error; or

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

 9  student's individual education plan completed by the school

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

11  enrolling in or attending a private school.

12  

13  The department must report any change made under this

14  paragraph to the school district and the parent of the

15  student.

16         (8)  OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUDITOR

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

18  Auditor General must include in the operational audit of the

19  Department of Education the John M. McKay Scholarships for

20  Students with Disabilities Program. The Auditor General must

21  include in the audit a review of a sample of the warrants used

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

23  private schools participating in the John M. McKay

24  Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, in order

25  to verify student enrollment and other information reported by

26  the private schools as required by rules of the State Board of

27  Education.

28         (9)(7)  LIABILITY.--No liability shall arise on the

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

30  Scholarship.

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
    309-2384-04




 1         (10)(8)  RULES.--The State Board of Education shall may

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

 3  administer this section, including rules for:.

 4         (a)  Administering the annual sworn and notarized

 5  compliance statement to all participating private schools;

 6         (b)  Establishing procedures for schools to request

 7  closed-enrollment and active status;

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

 9  school district and the department;

10         (d)  Implementing the requirement that a private school

11  timely notify the Department of Education of material changes

12  to the school's registration information;

13         (e)  Establishing attendance-verification procedures

14  and forms; and

15         (f)  Establishing procedures for determining student

16  eligibility and approving scholarships.

17  

18  The rules related to the annual sworn and notarized compliance

19  statement shall establish a deadline for the receipt of the

20  initial sworn and notarized compliance statement from the

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

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

23  included in a subsequent annual sworn and notarized compliance

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

25  private school. However, the inclusion of eligible private

26  schools within options available to Florida public school

27  students does not expand the regulatory authority of the

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

29  additional regulation of private schools beyond those

30  reasonably necessary to enforce requirements expressly set

31  forth in this section.

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
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 1         Section 2.  The State Board of Education shall initiate

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

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

 4  report to the presiding officers of the Legislature by

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

 6  this act.

 7         Section 3.  (1)  A private school that meets the

 8  following requirements on June 1, 2004, is not required to

 9  file the surety bond as required in section 1002.39(4)(a)1.,

10  Florida Statutes:

11         (a)  The private school is participating in the Mckay

12  Scholarship Program under section 1002.39, Florida Statutes;

13  and

14         (b)  The private school is determined by the Department

15  of Education to be in compliance with section 1002.39, Florida

16  Statutes.

17         (2)  Notwithstanding section 1002.39(4)(b)4., Florida

18  Statutes, a private school that meets the requirements in

19  paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) may accept a McKay scholarship

20  student.

21         (3)  Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), if the

22  private school becomes, after June 1, 2004, subject to an

23  action taken by the Department of Education for any violation

24  of section 1002.39, Florida Statutes, the private school:

25         (a)  Shall file a surety bond with the Department of

26  Education following the date on which the action was taken

27  against the private school for a violation of section 1002.39,

28  Florida Statutes, but prior to receiving the next quarterly

29  payment;

30         (b)  Shall file a surety bond with the Department of

31  Education for 2 additional consecutive years thereafter; and

                                  25

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    Florida Senate - 2004                    CS for CS for SB 2882
    309-2384-04




 1         (c)  May not accept new McKay scholarship students

 2  until the private school complies with all the requirements in

 3  section 1002.39, Florida Statutes, and all applicable rules of

 4  the State Board of Education, as determined by the Department

 5  of Education.

 6         Section 4.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

 7  law.

 8  

 9          STATEMENT OF SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES CONTAINED IN
                       COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
10                    Senate Bill CS for SB 2882

11                                 

12  The CS for CS revises the fingerprinting and background check
    requirements for private schools to make them consistent with
13  proposed requirements for public schools.  With regard to
    student eligibility, it restores the definition of "prior
14  school year in attendance" to current law; it removes the
    Auditor General's audit of the FEFP or an alternate audit by
15  an accounting firm; and it requires the private school to
    retain the notarized attendance documents for each student
16  rather than send them all to the DOE.

17  

18  

19  

20  

21  

22  

23  

24  

25  

26  

27  

28  

29  

30  

31  

                                  26

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