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Senate Bill 3048

Senate Bill sb3048

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048

    By Senator Aronberg





    27-1855A-04                                             See HB

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to educational and financial

  3         accountability for scholarship programs;

  4         amending s. 220.187, F.S., relating to credits

  5         for contributions to nonprofit

  6         scholarship-funding organizations; correcting a

  7         cross-reference; providing obligations of

  8         nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations

  9         relating to use of contributions, financial

10         records, and criminal background checks;

11         providing obligations of nonpublic schools

12         relating to financial accounts and records,

13         operating budgets, use of scholarship funds,

14         criminal background checks, administration and

15         reporting of assessment tests, school profiles,

16         and accreditation; amending ss. 1002.38 and

17         1002.39, F.S., relating to the Opportunity

18         Scholarship Program and the John M. McKay

19         Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

20         Program; providing requirements for private

21         school eligibility relating to use of

22         scholarship funds, financial accounts and

23         records, operating budgets, criminal background

24         checks, administration and reporting of

25         assessment tests, school profiles, and

26         accreditation; conforming provisions; providing

27         an effective date.

28  

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

30  

31  

                                  1

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         Section 1.  Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) and

 2  subsections (4) and (6) of section 220.187, Florida Statutes,

 3  are amended to read:

 4         220.187  Credits for contributions to nonprofit

 5  scholarship-funding organizations.--

 6         (2)  DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:

 7         (c)  "Eligible nonpublic school" means a nonpublic

 8  school located in Florida that offers an education to students

 9  in any grades K-12 and that meets the requirements in

10  subsection (6)(5).

11         (4)  OBLIGATIONS OF ELIGIBLE NONPROFIT

12  SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS.--

13         (a)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding

14  organization shall provide scholarships, from eligible

15  contributions, to qualified students for:

16         1.  Tuition or textbook expenses for, or transportation

17  to, an eligible nonpublic school. At least 75 percent of the

18  scholarship funding must be used to pay tuition expenses; or

19         2.  Transportation expenses to a Florida public school

20  that is located outside the district in which the student

21  resides.

22         (b)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding

23  organization shall give priority to qualified students who

24  received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit

25  scholarship-funding organization during the previous school

26  year.

27         (c)  The amount of a scholarship provided to any child

28  for any single school year by all eligible nonprofit

29  scholarship-funding organizations from eligible contributions

30  shall not exceed the following annual limits:

31  

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         1.  Three thousand five hundred dollars for a

 2  scholarship awarded to a student enrolled in an eligible

 3  nonpublic school.

 4         2.  Five hundred dollars for a scholarship awarded to a

 5  student enrolled in a Florida public school that is located

 6  outside the district in which the student resides.

 7         (d)  The amount of an eligible contribution which may

 8  be accepted by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding

 9  organization is limited to the amount needed to provide

10  scholarships for qualified students which the organization has

11  identified and for which vacancies in eligible nonpublic

12  schools have been identified.

13         (e)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding

14  organization that receives an eligible contribution must spend

15  100 percent of the eligible contribution to provide

16  scholarships in the same state fiscal year in which the

17  contribution was received. No portion of eligible

18  contributions may be used for administrative expenses or set

19  aside for profit. All interest accrued from contributions must

20  be used for scholarships.

21         (f)1.  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding

22  organization that receives eligible contributions must provide

23  to the Auditor General an annual financial and compliance

24  audit of its accounts and records conducted by an independent

25  certified public accountant and in accordance with rules

26  adopted by the Auditor General.

27         2.  Financial records of an eligible nonprofit

28  scholarship-funding organization relating to contributions

29  received and scholarships granted pursuant to this section

30  shall be available to the public in accordance with the

31  provisions of s. 119.07.

                                  3

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (g)  Payment of the scholarship by the eligible

 2  nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall be by

 3  individual warrant or check made payable to the student's

 4  parent. If the parent chooses for his or her child to attend

 5  an eligible nonpublic school, the warrant or check must be

 6  mailed by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding

 7  organization to the nonpublic school of the parent's choice,

 8  and the parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant or

 9  check to the nonpublic school. An eligible nonprofit

10  scholarship-funding organization shall ensure that, upon

11  receipt of a scholarship warrant or check, the parent to whom

12  the warrant or check is made restrictively endorses the

13  warrant or check to the nonpublic school of the parent's

14  choice for deposit into the account of the nonpublic school.

15         (h)  Each individual who administers an eligible

16  nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall file with the

17  Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints

18  for state processing and criminal background checking.

19         (6)  ELIGIBLE NONPUBLIC SCHOOL OBLIGATIONS.--An

20  eligible nonpublic school must:

21         (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation

22  for one school year or provide the Department of Education

23  with a statement by a certified public accountant confirming

24  that the nonpublic school desiring to participate is insured

25  and the owner or owners have sufficient capital or credit to

26  operate the school for the upcoming year serving the number of

27  students anticipated with expected revenues from tuition and

28  other sources that may be reasonably expected. In lieu of such

29  a statement, a surety bond or letter of credit for the amount

30  equal to the scholarship funds for any quarter may be filed

31  with the department.

                                  4

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (b)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of

 2  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.

 3         (c)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and

 4  codes.

 5         (d)  Comply with all state laws relating to general

 6  regulation of nonpublic schools.

 7         (e)1.  Provide to the Auditor General an annual

 8  financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records

 9  conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in

10  accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor General.

11         2.  Make available to the public in accordance with the

12  provisions of s. 119.07 the financial records of the school

13  relating to scholarships granted pursuant to this section.

14         (f)  Use scholarship funds received pursuant to this

15  section for the purposes set forth in subparagraph (4)(a)1. No

16  portion of such scholarship funds may be used for

17  administrative expenses or set aside for profit.

18         (g)  File with the Department of Law Enforcement a

19  complete set of fingerprints of each of its administrators and

20  teachers for state processing and criminal background

21  checking.

22         (h)1.  Administer the Florida Comprehensive Assessment

23  Test (FCAT), or a nationally normed student achievement test

24  identified by the Department of Education, to students

25  receiving a scholarship pursuant to this section and provide

26  to the parents of each student tested the individual student

27  test scores.

28         2.  Release to the public FCAT summary scores for the

29  school according to rules adopted by the State Board of

30  Education pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54.

31  

                                  5

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (i)  Provide parents of students who are potential

 2  recipients of a scholarship pursuant to this section with the

 3  results of student achievement tests administered by the

 4  school, including the FCAT and other standardized tests.

 5         (j)  Make available to the public a school profile that

 6  includes the percentage of teachers who are certified.

 7         (k)  Be accredited by the Southern Association of

 8  Colleges and Schools or an equivalent established, reputable

 9  national or regional accreditation organization.

10         Section 2.  Subsections (3), (4), and (5) of section

11  1002.38, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

12         1002.38  Opportunity Scholarship Program.--

13         (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS.--

14         (a)  A school district shall, for each student enrolled

15  in or assigned to a school that has been designated as

16  performance grade category "F" for 2 school years in a 4-year

17  period:

18         1.  Timely notify the parent of the student as soon as

19  such designation is made of all options available pursuant to

20  this section.

21         2.  Offer that student's parent an opportunity to

22  enroll the student in the public school within the district

23  that has been designated by the state pursuant to s. 1008.34

24  as a school performing higher than that in which the student

25  is currently enrolled or to which the student has been

26  assigned, but not less than performance grade category "C."

27  The parent is not required to accept this offer in lieu of

28  requesting a state opportunity scholarship to a private

29  school. The opportunity to continue attending the higher

30  performing public school shall remain in force until the

31  student graduates from high school.

                                  6

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (b)  The parent of a student enrolled in or assigned to

 2  a school that has been designated performance grade category

 3  "F" for 2 school years in a 4-year period may choose as an

 4  alternative to enroll the student in and transport the student

 5  to a higher-performing public school that has available space

 6  in an adjacent school district, and that school district shall

 7  accept the student and report the student for purposes of the

 8  district's funding pursuant to the Florida Education Finance

 9  Program.

10         (c)  For students in the school district who are

11  participating in the state Opportunity Scholarship Program,

12  the school district shall provide locations and times to take

13  all statewide assessments required pursuant to s. 1008.22.

14         (c)(d)  Students with disabilities who are eligible to

15  receive services from the school district under federal or

16  state law, and who participate in this program, remain

17  eligible to receive services from the school district as

18  provided by federal or state law.

19         (d)(e)  If for any reason a qualified private school is

20  not available for the student or if the parent chooses to

21  request that the student be enrolled in the higher performing

22  public school, rather than choosing to request the state

23  opportunity scholarship, transportation costs to the higher

24  performing public school shall be the responsibility of the

25  school district. The district may utilize state categorical

26  transportation funds or state-appropriated public school

27  choice incentive funds for this purpose.

28         (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY.--To be eligible to

29  participate in the Opportunity Scholarship Program, a private

30  school must be a Florida private school, may be sectarian or

31  nonsectarian, and must:

                                  7

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation

 2  for 1 school year or provide the Department of Education with

 3  a statement by a certified public accountant confirming that

 4  the private school desiring to participate is insured and the

 5  owner or owners have sufficient capital or credit to operate

 6  the school for the upcoming year serving the number of

 7  students anticipated with expected revenues from tuition and

 8  other sources that may be reasonably expected. In lieu of such

 9  a statement, a surety bond or letter of credit for the amount

10  equal to the opportunity scholarship funds for any quarter may

11  be filed with the department.

12         (b)  Notify the Department of Education and the school

13  district in whose service area the school is located of its

14  intent to participate in the program under this section by May

15  1 of the school year preceding the school year in which it

16  intends to participate. The notice shall specify the grade

17  levels and services that the private school has available for

18  the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

19         (c)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of

20  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.

21         (d)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and

22  codes.

23         (e)  Accept scholarship students on an entirely random

24  and religious-neutral basis without regard to the student's

25  past academic history; however, the private school may give

26  preference in accepting applications to siblings of students

27  who have already been accepted on a random and

28  religious-neutral basis.

29         (f)  Be subject to the instruction, curriculum, and

30  attendance criteria adopted by an appropriate nonpublic school

31  accrediting body and be academically accountable to the parent

                                  8

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1  for meeting the educational needs of the student. The private

 2  school must furnish a school profile which includes student

 3  performance and the percentage of teachers who are certified.

 4         (g)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold a

 5  baccalaureate or higher degree, or have at least 3 years of

 6  teaching experience in public or private schools, or have

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

 8  provide instruction in subjects taught.

 9         (h)  Comply with all state statutes relating to private

10  schools.

11         (i)  Accept as full tuition and fees the amount

12  provided by the state for each student. No portion of

13  opportunity scholarship funds received by the school may be

14  used for administrative expenses or set aside for profit.

15         (j)  Agree not to compel any student attending the

16  private school on an opportunity scholarship to profess a

17  specific ideological belief, to pray, or to worship.

18         (k)  Adhere to the tenets of its published disciplinary

19  procedures prior to the expulsion of any opportunity

20  scholarship student.

21         (l)1.  Provide to the Auditor General an annual

22  financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records

23  conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in

24  accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor General.

25         2.  Make available to the public in accordance with the

26  provisions of s. 119.07 the financial records of the school

27  relating to participation in the Opportunity Scholarship

28  Program.

29         (m)  File with the Department of Law Enforcement a

30  complete set of fingerprints of each of its administrators and

31  

                                  9

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1  teachers for state processing and criminal background

 2  checking.

 3         (n)1.  Administer the Florida Comprehensive Assessment

 4  Test (FCAT), or a nationally normed student achievement test

 5  identified by the Department of Education, to students

 6  receiving an opportunity scholarship and provide to the

 7  parents of each student tested the individual student test

 8  scores.

 9         2.  Release to the public FCAT summary scores for the

10  school according to rules adopted by the State Board of

11  Education.

12         (o)  Provide parents of students who are potential

13  recipients of an opportunity scholarship with the results of

14  student achievement tests administered by the school,

15  including the FCAT and other standardized tests.

16         (p)  Be accredited by the Southern Association of

17  Colleges and Schools or an equivalent established, reputable

18  national or regional accreditation organization.

19         (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.--

20         (a)  Any student participating in the Opportunity

21  Scholarship Program must remain in attendance throughout the

22  school year, unless excused by the school for illness or other

23  good cause, and must comply fully with the school's code of

24  conduct.

25         (b)  The parent of each student participating in the

26  Opportunity Scholarship Program must comply fully with the

27  private school's parental involvement requirements, unless

28  excused by the school for illness or other good cause.

29         (c)  The parent shall ensure that the student

30  participating in the Opportunity Scholarship Program takes all

31  statewide assessments required pursuant to s. 1008.22.

                                  10

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (c)(d)  A participant who fails to comply with this

 2  subsection shall forfeit the opportunity scholarship.

 3         Section 3.  Subsections (3), (4), and (5) of section

 4  1002.39, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

 5         1002.39  The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students

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

 7  that is separate and distinct from the Opportunity Scholarship

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

 9  Students with Disabilities Program, pursuant to this section.

10         (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

11  OBLIGATIONS.--

12         (a)  A school district shall timely notify the parent

13  of the student of all options available pursuant to this

14  section and offer that student's parent an opportunity to

15  enroll the student in another public school within the

16  district. The parent is not required to accept this offer in

17  lieu of requesting a John M. McKay Scholarship to a private

18  school. However, if the parent chooses the public school

19  option, the student may continue attending a public school

20  chosen by the parent until the student graduates from high

21  school. If the parent chooses a public school consistent with

22  the district school board's choice plan under s. 1002.31, the

23  school district shall provide transportation to the public

24  school selected by the parent. The parent is responsible to

25  provide transportation to a public school chosen that is not

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

27  s. 1002.31.

28         (b)  For a student with disabilities who does not have

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

30  district must complete a matrix that assigns the student to

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

                                  11

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1  2000-2001 school year. The school district must complete the

 2  matrix of services for any student who is participating in the

 3  John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

 4  Program and must notify the Department of Education of the

 5  student's matrix level within 30 days after receiving

 6  notification by the student's parent of intent to participate

 7  in the scholarship program. The Department of Education shall

 8  notify the private school of the amount of the scholarship

 9  within 10 days after receiving the school district's

10  notification of the student's matrix level. Within 10 school

11  days after it receives notification of a parent's intent to

12  apply for a McKay Scholarship, a district school board must

13  notify the student's parent if the matrix has not been

14  completed and provide the parent with the date for completion

15  of the matrix required in this paragraph.

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

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

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

19  student must notify the school district 60 days prior to the

20  first scholarship payment and before entering the private

21  school in order to be eligible for the scholarship when a

22  space becomes available for the student in the private school.

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

24  alternative, to enroll the student in and transport the

25  student to a public school in an adjacent school district

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

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

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

29  and report the student for purposes of the district's funding

30  pursuant to the Florida Education Finance Program.

31  

                                  12

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




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

 2  the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

 3  Program whose parent requests that the student take the

 4  statewide assessments under s. 1008.22, the district shall

 5  provide locations and times to take all statewide assessments.

 6         (e)(f)  A school district must notify the Department of

 7  Education within 10 days after it receives notification of a

 8  parent's intent to apply for a scholarship for a student with

 9  a disability. A school district must provide the student's

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

11  after its completion.

12         (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY.--To be eligible to

13  participate in the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students

14  with Disabilities Program, a private school must be a Florida

15  private school, may be sectarian or nonsectarian, and must:

16         (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation

17  for 1 school year or provide the Department of Education with

18  a statement by a certified public accountant confirming that

19  the private school desiring to participate is insured and the

20  owner or owners have sufficient capital or credit to operate

21  the school for the upcoming year serving the number of

22  students anticipated with expected revenues from tuition and

23  other sources that may be reasonably expected. In lieu of such

24  a statement, a surety bond or letter of credit for the amount

25  equal to the scholarship funds for any quarter may be filed

26  with the department.

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

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

29  must specify the grade levels and services that the private

30  school has available for students with disabilities who are

31  participating in the scholarship program.

                                  13

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (c)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of

 2  42 U.S.C. s. 2000d.

 3         (d)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and

 4  codes.

 5         (e)  Be academically accountable to the parent for

 6  meeting the educational needs of the student.

 7         (f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold

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

 9  teaching experience in public or private schools, or have

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

11  provide instruction in subjects taught.

12         (g)  Comply with all state laws relating to general

13  regulation of private schools.

14         (h)  Adhere to the tenets of its published disciplinary

15  procedures prior to the expulsion of a scholarship student.

16         (i)1.  Provide to the Auditor General an annual

17  financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records

18  conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in

19  accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor General.

20         2.  Make available to the public in accordance with the

21  provisions of s. 119.07 the financial records of the school

22  relating to participation in the John M. McKay Scholarships

23  for Students with Disabilities Program.

24         (j)  Use John M. McKay Scholarship funds for tuition

25  and fees. No portion of such scholarship funds may be used for

26  administrative expenses or set aside for profit.

27         (k)  File with the Department of Law Enforcement a

28  complete set of fingerprints of each of its administrators and

29  teachers for state processing and criminal background

30  checking.

31  

                                  14

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




 1         (l)1.  Administer the Florida Comprehensive Assessment

 2  Test (FCAT), or a nationally normed student achievement test

 3  identified by the Department of Education, to students

 4  receiving a John M. McKay Scholarship whose parents request

 5  that the student take the FCAT and provide to the parents of

 6  each student tested the individual student test scores.

 7         2.  Release to the public FCAT summary scores for the

 8  school according to rules adopted by the State Board of

 9  Education.

10         (m)  Provide parents of students who are potential

11  recipients of a John M. McKay Scholarship with the results of

12  student achievement tests administered by the school,

13  including the FCAT and other standardized tests.

14         (n)  Make available to the public a school profile that

15  includes the percentage of teachers who are certified.

16         (o)  Be accredited by the Southern Association of

17  Colleges and Schools or an equivalent established, reputable

18  national or regional accreditation organization.

19         (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS.--

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

21  Scholarship is exercising his or her parental option to place

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

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

24  child.

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

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

27  payment.

28         (c)  Any student participating in the scholarship

29  program must remain in attendance throughout the school year,

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

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

                                  15

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 3048
    27-1855A-04                                             See HB




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

 2  scholarship program must comply fully with the private

 3  school's parental involvement requirements, unless excused by

 4  the school for illness or other good cause.

 5         (e)  If the parent requests that the student

 6  participating in the scholarship program take all statewide

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

 8  responsible for transporting the student to the assessment

 9  site designated by the school district.

10         (e)(f)  Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant, the

11  parent to whom the warrant is made must restrictively endorse

12  the warrant to the private school for deposit into the account

13  of the private school.

14         (f)(g)  A participant who fails to comply with this

15  subsection forfeits the scholarship.

16         Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2004.

17  

18  

19  

20  

21  

22  

23  

24  

25  

26  

27  

28  

29  

30  

31  

                                  16

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