December 02, 2020
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Amendment
Bill No. 2882
Amendment No. 308089
CHAMBER ACTION
Senate House
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1Representatives Goodlette and Kilmer offered the following:
2
3     Amendment (with title amendment)
4     Remove everything after the enacting clause and insert:
5
6     Section 1.  Subsections (1), (2), and (4), paragraph (b) of
7subsection (3), paragraph (f) of subsection (5), and paragraphs
8(e) and (f) of subsection (6) of section 1002.39, Florida
9Statutes, are amended, paragraphs (g) through (k) are added to
10subsection (3), paragraph (g) is added to subsection (6),
11subsection (8) is renumbered as subsection (9) and amended, and
12a new subsection (8) is added to said section, to read:
13     1002.39  The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with
14Disabilities Program.--There is established a program that is
15separate and distinct from the Opportunity Scholarship Program
16and is named the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with
17Disabilities Program, pursuant to this section.
18     (1)  THE JOHN M. MCKAY SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH
19DISABILITIES PROGRAM.--The John M. McKay Scholarships for
20Students with Disabilities Program is established to provide the
21option to attend a public school other than the one to which
22assigned, or to provide a scholarship to a private school of
23choice, for students with disabilities for whom an individual
24education plan has been written in accordance with rules of the
25State Board of Education.  Students with disabilities include K-
2612 students who are documented as having mental retardation; a
27mentally handicapped, speech or and language impairment; a
28impaired, deaf or hard of hearing impairment, including
29deafness; a visual impairment, including blindness; a, visually
30impaired, dual sensory impairment; a physical impairment; a
31serious emotional disturbance, including an emotional handicap;
32a impaired, physically impaired, emotionally handicapped,
33specific learning disability, including, but not limited to,
34dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; a traumatic
35brain injury; disabled, hospitalized or homebound, or autism
36autistic.
37     (2)  SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY.--
38     (a)  The parent of a public school student with a
39disability who is dissatisfied with the student's progress may
40request and receive from the state a John M. McKay Scholarship
41for the child to enroll in and attend a private school in
42accordance with this section if:
43     1.(a)  By assigned school attendance area or by special
44assignment, the student has spent the prior school year in
45attendance at a Florida public school. Prior school year in
46attendance means that the student was enrolled and reported by a
47school district for funding during the preceding October and
48February Florida Education Finance Program surveys in
49kindergarten through grade 12.
50     2.(b)  The parent has obtained acceptance for admission of
51the student to a private school that is eligible for the program
52under subsection (4) and has notified the school district of the
53request for a scholarship at least 60 days prior to the date of
54the first scholarship payment. The parental notification must be
55through a communication directly to the district or through the
56Department of Education to the district in a manner that creates
57a written or electronic record of the notification and the date
58of receipt of the notification.
59
60This section does not apply to a student who is enrolled in a
61school operating for the purpose of providing educational
62services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice commitment
63programs. For purposes of continuity of educational choice, the
64scholarship shall remain in force until the student returns to a
65public school, or graduates from high school, or reaches the age
66of 22, whichever occurs first. However, at any time, the
67student's parent may remove the student from the private school
68and place the student in another private school that is eligible
69for the program under subsection (4) or in a public school as
70provided in subsection (3).
71     (b)  A student is not eligible to receive a scholarship
72under this section if he or she:
73     1.  Receives a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit
74scholarship-funding organization under s. 220.187;
75     2.  Receives an opportunity scholarship under s. 1002.38;
76     3.  Participates in a home education program as defined in
77s. 1002.01(1);
78     4.  Receives instruction from a correspondence school,
79participates in distance learning courses, or participates in a
80private tutoring program;
81     5.  Does not have regular and direct contact with his or
82her private school teachers at the school's physical location;
83or
84     6.  Is enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of
85providing educational services to youth in commitment programs
86of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
87
88Notwithstanding the prohibition set forth in subparagraph 4., a
89student who receives a John M. McKay Scholarship may participate
90in a course offered by a correspondence school, a distance
91learning course, or a private tutoring program the tuition and
92other costs of which are not paid by scholarship funds provided
93under this section.
94     (3)  SCHOOL DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
95OBLIGATIONS.--
96     (b)1.  For a student with disabilities who does not have a
97matrix of services under s. 1011.62(1)(e), the school district
98must complete a matrix that assigns the student to one of the
99levels of service as they existed prior to the 2000-2001 school
100year.
101     2.a.  The school district must complete the matrix of
102services for any student who is participating in the John M.
103McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program and
104must notify the Department of Education of the student's matrix
105level within 30 days after receiving notification by the
106student's parent of intent to participate in the scholarship
107program.
108     b.  A school district may change a matrix of services only
109if the change is to:
110     (I)  Correct a technical, typographical, or calculation
111error; or
112     (II)  Align the matrix of services with the student's
113individual education plan completed by the public school
114district for use in the public school prior to the student
115enrolling in or attending a private school.
116     3.  The Department of Education shall notify the private
117school of the amount of the scholarship within 10 days after
118receiving the school district's notification of the student's
119matrix level.
120     4.  Within 10 school days after it receives notification of
121a parent's intent to apply for a John M. McKay Scholarship, a
122district school board must notify the student's parent if the
123matrix has not been completed and provide the parent with the
124date for completion of the matrix required in this paragraph.
125     (g)  The Department of Education shall establish a toll-
126free hotline that provides parents and private schools with
127information on participation in the John M. McKay Scholarships
128for Students with Disabilities Program.
129     (h)  The Department of Education shall establish a process
130by which individuals may notify the department of any violation
131by a private school of state laws relating to program
132participation. The department shall conduct an investigation of
133any written complaint of a violation of this section if the
134complaint is signed by the complainant and is legally
135sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it contains
136ultimate facts that show that a violation of this section or any
137rule adopted by the State Board of Education or other state
138agency has occurred. In order to determine legal sufficiency,
139the Department of Education may require supporting information
140or documentation from the complainant.
141     (i)  The Department of Education shall require an annual
142notarized sworn compliance statement by participating private
143schools certifying compliance with state laws and shall retain
144such records. The Department of Education shall approve a
145process for verifying the information provided by the private
146school.
147     (j)  The Department of Education shall regularly cross-
148check the list of participating scholarship students with the
149public school enrollment lists to avoid duplication.
150     (k)  A school district shall provide notification to
151parents of the availability of a reassessment of each student
152who receives a John M. McKay Scholarship at least every 3 years.
153     (4)  PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY.--To be eligible to
154participate in the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with
155Disabilities Program, a private school must be a Florida private
156school, as defined in s. 1002.01(2), may be sectarian or
157nonsectarian, and must:
158     (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation for
1592 or more consecutive school years or obtain 1 school year or
160provide the Department of Education with a statement by a
161certified public accountant confirming that the private school
162desiring to participate is insured and the owner or owners have
163sufficient capital or credit to operate the school for the
164upcoming year serving the number of students anticipated with
165expected revenues from tuition and other sources that may be
166reasonably expected. In lieu of such a statement, a surety bond
167or letter of credit for the amount equal to the scholarship
168funds for any quarter to may be filed with the Department of
169Education. The surety bond or letter of credit shall serve to
170secure expenditures of scholarship funds should such funds be
171found to have been used for unlawful purposes. However, if
172during the school year a private school exhibits financial
173difficulty or is otherwise not in compliance with this section,
174the Commissioner of Education may impose additional requirements
175on the private school, which may include additional security
176bonding.
177     (b)  Notify the Department of Education of its intent to
178participate in the program under this section. The notice must
179specify the grade levels and services that the private school
180has available for students with disabilities who are
181participating in the scholarship program.
182     (c)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42
183U.S.C. s. 2000d.
184     (d)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and codes,
185including, but not limited to, laws pertaining to:
186     1.  Fire safety.
187     2.  Building codes.
188     (e)1.  Require each John M. McKay Scholarship student to
189participate at least annually in a student assessment which, as
190determined by the private school in consultation with the
191student's parent, will demonstrate the student's skill level to
192the student's parent.
193     2.  Notify the student's parent at least annually about the
194student's skill level on a student assessment that is determined
195by the private school. Be academically accountable to the parent
196for meeting the educational needs of the student.
197     (f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold
198baccalaureate or higher degrees, or have at least 3 years of
199teaching experience in public or private schools, or have
200special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to
201provide instruction in subjects taught.
202     (g)  Comply with all state laws relating to general
203regulation of private schools, including, but not limited to,
204laws pertaining to:
205     1.  Annual private school survey required in s. 1002.42(2).
206     2.  Retention of records required in s. 1002.42(3).
207     3.  Attendance records and reports required in s.
2081003.23(2).
209     4.  School-entry health examinations and immunizations
210required in s. 1003.22.
211     5.  Attendance requirements prescribed in ss. 1003.01(13)
212and 1003.21(1).
213     (h)  Publish and adhere to the tenets of its adopted
214published disciplinary procedures prior to the expulsion of a
215scholarship student.
216     (i)  Within 60 days after employment, for any individual
217with direct student contact with John M. McKay Scholarship
218students, file with the Department of Law Enforcement a complete
219set of fingerprints for state processing for a criminal
220background check. The Department of Law Enforcement shall in
221turn submit the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of
222Investigation for federal processing for a background check. An
223"individual with direct student contact with John M. McKay
224Scholarship students" means any individual who:
225     1.  Is employed by a private school in any capacity,
226including an individual employed as a child care provider, a
227teacher, or another member of school personnel, and who is
228responsible for the provision of care, treatment, education,
229training, instruction, supervision, or recreation of John M.
230McKay Scholarship students;
231     2.  Is the owner or operator of the private school
232accepting John M. McKay Scholarship students; or
233     3.  Has unsupervised access to a John M. McKay Scholarship
234student for whom the private school is responsible.
235
236The costs of fingerprinting and the background check shall not
237be borne by the state. The results of a criminal background
238check for private school owners shall be reported to the
239Department of Education. The owner or operator of the private
240school shall receive the results of a criminal background check
241for all other persons subject to the private school background
242check requirements and immediately report to the Department of
243Education any individual with direct student contact with John
244M. McKay Scholarship students who has failed the Level 2
245background check. Employment of such an individual shall cause a
246private school to be ineligible for participation in the
247scholarship program. An individual holding a valid Florida
248teaching certificate who has been fingerprinted pursuant to s.
2491012.32 shall not be required to comply with the provisions of
250this paragraph.
251     (j)  Annually comply with the requirements of the
252Department of Education to submit a notarized sworn compliance
253statement certifying compliance with state laws pursuant to
254subsection (3). The form and timeline for submission of the
255compliance statement shall be specified in rules adopted by the
256State Board of Education. The statement must be filed with the
257Department of Education.
258     (k)  Comply with all applicable state agency rules relating
259to private schools.
260     (l)  Not operate as a private tutoring program as described
261in s. 1002.43, a correspondence school, or a distance learning
262school or provide instruction to students at home.
263     (m)  Maintain a physical private school location where a
264scholarship student regularly attends classes.
265     (n)  Require the parent of each scholarship student to
266personally restrictively endorse the scholarship check to the
267school. The school may not:
268     1.  Act as attorney in fact for parents of a scholarship
269student under the authority of a power of attorney executed by
270such parents, or under any other authority, to endorse
271scholarship warrants on behalf of parents.
272     2.  Send or direct John M. McKay Scholarship funds to
273parents of a scholarship student who receives instruction at
274home.
275     3.  Accept a John M. McKay Scholarship student until the
276notarized sworn compliance statement has been completed and has
277been submitted to and verified by the Department of Education.
278     (o)  Annually register with the Department of Education.
279Each owner or administrator of a private school must provide the
280following information:
281     1.  The legal business and trade name, mailing address, and
282business location of the private school.
283     2.  The full name, address, and telephone number of each
284owner or administrator of the private school.
285     3.  A notification of the private school's intent to
286participate in the program under this section. The notice must
287specify the grade levels and services that the private school
288has available for students with disabilities who are
289participating in the scholarship program.
290     (p)  Provide the Department of Education with all
291documentation required for each scholarship student's
292participation in the scholarship program, including, but not
293limited to:
294     1.  The private school's fee schedule, including, but not
295limited to, fees for services, tuition, and instructional
296materials, and each individual scholarship student's schedule of
297fees and charges, at least 30 days before the first quarterly
298scholarship payment is made for the student.
299     2.  The enrollment and attendance information, including an
300on-line attendance verification form, for each scholarship
301student at the private school, prior to each scholarship
302payment.
303     (q)  Notify the Department of Education of any change in
304the school's registered name or location prior to any such
305change and notify the Department of Education within 15 days
306after any other change in the registration information submitted
307to the department.
308     (5)  OBLIGATION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS.--
309     (f)  Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant, the parent to
310whom the warrant is made must restrictively endorse the warrant
311to the private school for deposit into the account of the
312private school. The parent of a student participating in the
313scholarship program may not designate any participating private
314school as the parent's attorney in fact to sign a scholarship
315warrant.
316     (6)  SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING AND PAYMENT.--
317     (e)  Following notification on July 1, September 1,
318December 1, or February 1 of the number of program participants,
319the Department of Education shall transfer, from General Revenue
320funds only, the amount calculated under paragraph (b) from the
321school district's total funding entitlement under the Florida
322Education Finance Program and from authorized categorical
323accounts to a separate account for the scholarship program for
324quarterly disbursement to the parents of participating students.
325When a student enters the scholarship program, the Department of
326Education must receive all documentation required for the
327student's participation, including, but not limited to, the
328private school's and student's fee schedules, at least 30 days
329before the first quarterly scholarship payment is made for the
330student. The Department of Education may not make any
331retroactive payments.
332     (f)  Upon proper documentation reviewed and approved by the
333Department of Education, the Chief Financial Officer shall make
334scholarship payments in four equal amounts no later than
335September 1, November 1, February 1, and April 1 15 of each
336academic year in which the scholarship is in force. The initial
337payment shall be made after Department of Education verification
338of admission acceptance, and subsequent payments shall be made
339upon verification of continued enrollment and attendance at the
340private school. Payment must be by individual warrant made
341payable to the student's parent and mailed by the Department of
342Education to the private school of the parent's choice, and the
343parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant to the private
344school for deposit into the account of the private school.
345     (g)  Subsequent to each scholarship payment, the Department
346of Financial Services shall randomly review endorsed warrants to
347confirm compliance with endorsement requirements.
348     (8)  COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY.--The Commissioner of Education
349may suspend or prohibit a private school or a student from
350participation in the scholarship program and take other action
351necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this
352section.
353     (9)(8)  RULES.--The State Board of Education shall may
354adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer
355this section, including rules for:
356     (a)  Administering the annual notarized sworn compliance
357statement to all participating private schools.
358     (b)  Establishing forms for changes to a matrix by a school
359district and the Department of Education.
360     (c)  Implementing the requirement that a private school
361timely notify the Department of Education of material changes to
362the school's registration information.
363     (d)  Establishing attendance-verification procedures and
364forms.
365     (e)  Establishing procedures for determining student
366eligibility and approving scholarships.
367
368The rules related to the annual notarized sworn compliance
369statement shall establish a deadline for the receipt of the
370initial notarized sworn compliance statement from the private
371school and shall enumerate the items to be included in the
372statement. The rules shall enumerate the items to be included in
373a subsequent annual notarized sworn compliance statement that is
374required in January of each year from the private school.
375However, the inclusion of eligible private schools within
376options available to Florida public school students does not
377expand the regulatory authority of the state, its officers, or
378any school district to impose any additional regulation of
379private schools beyond those reasonably necessary to enforce
380requirements expressly set forth in this section.
381     Section 2.  Section 220.187, Florida Statutes, is amended
382to read:
383     220.187  Credits for contributions to nonprofit
384scholarship-funding organizations.--
385     (1)  PURPOSE.--The purpose of this section is to:
386     (a)  Encourage private, voluntary contributions to
387nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations.
388     (b)  Expand educational opportunities for children of
389families that have limited financial resources.
390     (c)  Enable children in this state to achieve a greater
391level of excellence in their education.
392     (2)  DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:
393     (a)  "Department" means the Department of Revenue.
394     (b)  "Eligible contribution" means a monetary contribution
395from a taxpayer, subject to the restrictions provided in this
396section, to an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
397organization. The taxpayer making the contribution may not
398designate a specific child as the beneficiary of the
399contribution. The taxpayer may not contribute more than $5
400million to any single eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
401organization.
402     (c)(d)  "Eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
403organization" means a charitable organization that is exempt
404from federal income tax pursuant to s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal
405Revenue Code, that is a Florida entity formed under chapter 607,
406chapter 608, or chapter 617 and whose principal office is
407located in the state, and that complies with the provisions of
408subsection (4).
409     (d)(c)  "Eligible private nonpublic school" means a private
410nonpublic school, as defined in s. 1002.01(2), located in
411Florida that offers an education to students in any grades K-12
412and that meets the requirements in subsection (6) (5). An
413eligible private school:
414     1.  Must maintain a physical location in this state where
415each scholarship student regularly attends classes.
416     2.  May not be a correspondence school or distance learning
417school.
418     3.  May not direct or provide scholarship funds to a parent
419of a scholarship student who receives instruction under the
420program at home.
421     4.  May not be a home education program as defined in s.
4221002.01(1).
423     5.  May not be a private tutoring program as described in
424s. 1002.43.
425     (e)  "Owner or operator" includes:
426     1.  An owner, president, officer, or director of an
427eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or a person
428with equivalent decisionmaking authority over an eligible
429nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
430     2.  An owner, operator, superintendent, or principal of an
431eligible private school or a person with equivalent
432decisionmaking authority over an eligible private school.
433     (f)(e)  "Qualified student" means a student who qualifies
434for free or reduced-price school lunches under the National
435School Lunch Act and who:
436     1.  Was counted as a full-time equivalent student during
437the previous state fiscal year for purposes of state per-student
438funding;
439     2.  Received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit
440scholarship-funding organization during the previous school
441year; or
442     3.  Is eligible to enter kindergarten or first grade.
443
444A student is not eligible to receive a scholarship under this
445section if the student is participating in the Opportunity
446Scholarship Program under s. 1002.38, the John M. McKay
447Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program under s.
4481002.39, or a home education program as defined in s.
4491002.01(1). A student is not eligible to receive a scholarship
450from more than one eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
451organization at the same time.
452     (3)  AUTHORIZATION TO GRANT SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING TAX
453CREDITS; LIMITATIONS ON INDIVIDUAL AND TOTAL CREDITS.--
454     (a)  There is allowed a credit of 100 percent of an
455eligible contribution against any tax due for a taxable year
456under this chapter. However, such a credit may not exceed 75
457percent of the tax due under this chapter for the taxable year,
458after the application of any other allowable credits by the
459taxpayer. However, at least 5 percent of the total statewide
460amount authorized for the tax credit shall be reserved for
461taxpayers who meet the definition of a small business provided
462in s. 288.703(1) at the time of application. The credit granted
463by this section shall be reduced by the difference between the
464amount of federal corporate income tax taking into account the
465credit granted by this section and the amount of federal
466corporate income tax without application of the credit granted
467by this section.
468     (b)  The total amount of tax credits and carryforward of
469tax credits which may be granted each state fiscal year under
470this section is $88 million. However, effective for tax years
471beginning January 1, 2004, at least 1 percent of the total
472statewide amount authorized for tax credits shall be reserved
473for taxpayers who meet the definition of a small business
474provided in s. 288.703(1) at the time of application.
475     (c)  A taxpayer who files a Florida consolidated return as
476a member of an affiliated group pursuant to s. 220.131(1) may be
477allowed the credit on a consolidated return basis; however, the
478total credit taken by the affiliated group is subject to the
479limitation established under paragraph (a).
480     (d)  Effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2004, a
481taxpayer may rescind all or part of its allocated tax credit
482under this section. The amount of the rescindment shall become
483available for purposes of the cap for that state fiscal year
484under this section to an eligible taxpayer as approved by the
485department if the taxpayer receives notice from the department
486that the rescindment has been accepted by the department, the
487taxpayer has rescinded its tax credit prior to the conclusion of
488the taxpayer's tax year, and the taxpayer has not previously
489rescinded any or all of its tax credit allocation under this
490section more than once in the previous 3 tax years. Any amount
491rescinded under this paragraph shall become available to an
492eligible taxpayer on a first-come, first-served basis based on
493tax credit applications received after the date the rescindment
494is accepted by the department.
495     (4)  OBLIGATIONS OF ELIGIBLE NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING
496ORGANIZATIONS.--An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
497organization participating in the scholarship program
498established in this section shall have the following
499obligations:
500     (a)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
501shall provide corporate tax credit scholarships, from eligible
502contributions, to qualified students for:
503     1.  Tuition or textbook expenses for, or transportation to,
504an eligible private nonpublic school. At least 75 percent of
505each the scholarship funding must be used to pay tuition
506expenses; or
507     2.  Transportation expenses to a Florida public school that
508is located outside the district in which the student resides or
509to a lab school as defined in s. 1002.32.
510     (b)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
511shall give priority to qualified students who received a
512scholarship from an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
513organization during the previous school year.
514     (c)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
515shall not provide a scholarship to a student who is receiving an
516opportunity scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.38 or a John M.
517McKay Scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.39. In addition, an
518eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall not
519provide a scholarship to a student who is receiving a corporate
520tax credit scholarship from another eligible nonprofit
521scholarship-funding organization.
522     (d)(c)  The amount of a scholarship provided to any child
523for any single school year by an all eligible nonprofit
524scholarship-funding organization organizations from eligible
525contributions shall not exceed the following annual limits:
526     1.  Three thousand five hundred dollars for a scholarship
527awarded to a student enrolled in an eligible private nonpublic
528school.
529     2.  Five hundred dollars for a scholarship awarded to a
530student enrolled in a Florida public school that is located
531outside the district in which the student resides or in a lab
532school as defined in s. 1002.32.
533     (e)(d)  The amount of an eligible contribution which may be
534accepted by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
535organization is limited to the amount needed to provide
536scholarships for qualified students which the organization has
537identified and for which vacancies in eligible private nonpublic
538schools have been identified.
539     (f)(e)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
540organization that receives an eligible contribution must spend
541100 percent of the eligible contribution to provide scholarships
542in the same state fiscal year in which the contribution was
543received. No portion of eligible contributions may be used for
544administrative expenses. All interest accrued from contributions
545must be used for scholarships.
546     (g)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
547must maintain separate accounts for scholarship funds and
548operating funds.
549     (h)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
550may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit scholarship-
551funding organization when additional funds are required to meet
552scholarship demand. The scholarship-funding organization
553transferring funds must request approval for the transfer from
554the Department of Education and provide documentation to support
555the transfer, including a listing of the scholarships to be
556funded from the transfer. The Department of Education shall
557verify the listing of students to receive scholarships from the
558transfer. No funds may be transferred unless matching eligible
559scholarship recipients can be identified by the scholarship-
560funding organization receiving the transfer.
561     (i)(f)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
562organization that receives eligible contributions must provide
563to the Auditor General and the Department of Education an annual
564financial and compliance audit of its accounts and records
565conducted by an independent certified public accountant and in
566accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor General. The audit
567must be conducted in compliance with generally accepted auditing
568standards and must include a report on financial statements
569presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting
570Principles set forth by the American Institute of Certified
571Public Accountants for not-for-profit organizations and a
572determination of compliance with the statutory eligibility and
573expenditure requirements set forth in this section. Audits must
574be provided to the Auditor General and the Department of
575Education within 180 days after completion of the nonprofit
576scholarship-funding organization's fiscal year.
577     (j)(g)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
578organization shall obtain verification from the private school
579of a student's continued attendance at the school prior to each
580scholarship payment. Payment of the scholarship shall be made by
581the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization no less
582frequently than on a quarterly basis. Payment of the scholarship
583by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall
584be by individual warrant or check made payable to the student's
585parent. If the parent chooses for his or her child to attend an
586eligible private nonpublic school, the warrant or check must be
587mailed by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
588organization to the private nonpublic school of the parent's
589choice, and the parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant
590or check to the private nonpublic school. An eligible nonprofit
591scholarship-funding organization shall ensure that, upon receipt
592of a scholarship warrant or check, the parent to whom the
593warrant or check is made restrictively endorses the warrant or
594check to the private nonpublic school of the parent's choice for
595deposit into the account of the private nonpublic school.
596     (k)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
597must prepare and submit quarterly reports to the Department of
598Education pursuant to subsection (7). In addition, an eligible
599nonprofit scholarship-funding organization must submit in a
600timely manner any information requested by the Department of
601Education relating to the scholarship program.
602     (l)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
603must verify the income of all applicants participating in the
604scholarship program each year with independent income
605documentation.
606     (m)1.  An owner or operator of an eligible nonprofit
607scholarship-funding organization must, within 5 days after
608assuming ownership or decisionmaking authority, file with the
609Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints for
610state processing for a criminal background check and the
611Department of Law Enforcement shall in turn submit the
612fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal
613processing for a background check. The costs of fingerprinting
614and the background check shall not be borne by the state.
615     2.  The results of a criminal background check shall be
616reported to the owner or operator of the eligible nonprofit
617scholarship-funding organization and to the Department of
618Education.
619     3.  A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose
620owner or operator has been convicted of a crime involving moral
621turpitude or a crime that bears upon the fitness of the owner or
622operator to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of
623children shall not be eligible to provide scholarships under
624this section.
625     (n)  A nonprofit scholarship-funding organization whose
626owner or operator in the last 7 years has filed for personal
627bankruptcy or corporate bankruptcy in a corporation in which he
628or she owned more than 20 percent of the corporation shall not
629be eligible to provide scholarships under this section.
630     (o)  An owner or operator of an eligible nonprofit
631scholarship-funding organization is prohibited from owning or
632operating an eligible private school that is participating in
633the scholarship program.
634     (p)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
635shall report to the Department of Education any private school
636that is not in compliance with the requirements of the
637scholarship program. The eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
638organization shall not provide additional scholarship funds to a
639parent for a student to attend the private school until a
640determination is made by the Commissioner of Education that the
641school is in compliance with the requirements of the scholarship
642program.
643     (q)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
644must comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C.
645s. 2000d.
646     (r)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
647shall allow a qualified student to attend any eligible private
648school and shall allow a parent to transfer a scholarship during
649a school year to any other eligible private school of the
650parent's choice.
651     (s)  An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization
652must provide a scholarship to a qualified student on a first-
653come, first-served basis unless the student qualifies for
654priority pursuant to paragraph (b). An eligible nonprofit
655scholarship-funding organization may not target scholarships to
656a particular private school or provide scholarships to a child
657of an owner or operator.
658     (5)  PARENT OBLIGATIONS OF PARENTS AND STUDENTS.--
659     (a)  As a condition for scholarship payment pursuant to
660paragraph (4)(j)(g), if the parent chooses for his or her child
661to attend an eligible private nonpublic school, the parent must
662inform the child's school district within 15 days after such
663decision.
664     (b)  Upon receipt of a scholarship warrant or check from
665the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, the
666parent to whom the warrant or check is made must restrictively
667endorse the warrant or check to the private school for deposit
668into the account of the private school. A private school may not
669act as attorney in fact for parents of a scholarship student
670under the authority of a power of attorney executed by such
671parents or under any other authority allowing endorsement of
672scholarship warrants on behalf of parents. If a parent refuses
673to restrictively endorse a warrant to which a private school is
674entitled, that student's scholarship shall be forfeited
675immediately.
676     (c)  Any student participating in the scholarship program
677must remain in attendance throughout the school year unless
678excused by the school for illness or other good cause and must
679comply fully with the school's code of conduct.
680     (d)  The parent of a student participating in the
681scholarship program must comply fully with the private school's
682parental involvement requirements unless excused by the school
683for illness or other good cause.
684     (e)  The parent of a student participating in the
685scholarship program must ensure that the student participates in
686the nationally norm-referenced testing required by this section.
687Students with disabilities for whom standardized testing is not
688appropriate are exempt from this requirement.
689     (f)  A participant in the scholarship program who fails to
690comply with this subsection forfeits the scholarship.
691     (6)  ELIGIBLE PRIVATE NONPUBLIC SCHOOL OBLIGATIONS.--An
692eligible private nonpublic school must:
693     (a)  Demonstrate fiscal soundness by being in operation for
6942 or more consecutive school years or obtain one school year or
695provide the Department of Education with a statement by a
696certified public accountant confirming that the nonpublic school
697desiring to participate is insured and the owner or owners have
698sufficient capital or credit to operate the school for the
699upcoming year serving the number of students anticipated with
700expected revenues from tuition and other sources that may be
701reasonably expected. In lieu of such a statement, a surety bond
702or letter of credit for the amount equal to the scholarship
703funds for any quarter to may be filed with the Department of
704Education. The surety bond or letter of credit shall serve to
705secure expenditures of scholarship funds should such funds be
706found to have been used for unlawful purposes. However, if
707during the school year a private school exhibits financial
708difficulty or is otherwise not in compliance with this section,
709the Commissioner of Education may impose additional requirements
710on the private school, which may include additional security
711bonding.
712     (b)  Notify the Department of Education of its intent to
713participate in the scholarship program. The notice must specify
714the grade levels that the private school has available for
715students participating in the scholarship program.
716     (c)(b)  Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42
717U.S.C. s. 2000d.
718     (d)(c)  Meet state and local health and safety laws and
719codes, including, but not limited to, laws pertaining to:
720     1.  Fire safety.
721     2.  Building codes.
722     (e)(d)  Comply with all state laws relating to general
723regulation of private nonpublic schools, including, but not
724limited to, laws pertaining to:
725     1.  Annual private school survey required in s. 1002.42(2).
726     2.  Retention of records required in s. 1002.42(3).
727     3.  Attendance records and reports required in s.
7281003.23(2).
729     4.  School-entry health examinations and immunizations
730required in s. 1003.22.
731     5.  Attendance requirements prescribed in ss. 1003.01(13)
732and 1003.21(1).
733     (f)  Employ or contract with teachers who hold
734baccalaureate or higher degrees, have at least 3 years of
735teaching experience in public or private schools, or have
736special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to
737provide instruction in subjects taught.
738     (g)  Annually administer or make provision for students
739participating in the scholarship program to take the Iowa Test
740of Basic Skills, the Stanford-9, or subsequent versions of these
741tests, or an assessment identified by the Department of
742Education under subsection (7). A participating private school
743must report a student's scores to the parent and to the
744independent private research organization selected by the
745Department of Education pursuant to subsection (7).
746     (h)  Within 60 days after employment, for any individual
747with direct student contact with corporate tax credit
748scholarship students, file with the Department of Law
749Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints for state processing
750for a criminal background check. The Department of Law
751Enforcement shall in turn submit the fingerprints to the Federal
752Bureau of Investigation for federal processing for a background
753check. An "individual with direct student contact with corporate
754tax credit scholarship students" means any individual who:
755     1.  Is employed by a private school in any capacity,
756including an individual employed as a child care provider, a
757teacher, or another member of school personnel, and who is
758responsible for the provision of care, treatment, education,
759training, instruction, supervision, or recreation of corporate
760tax credit scholarship students;
761     2.  Is the owner or operator of the private school
762accepting corporate tax credit scholarship students; or
763     3.  Has unsupervised access to a corporate tax credit
764scholarship student for whom the private school is responsible.
765
766The costs of fingerprinting and the background check shall not
767be borne by the state. The results of a criminal background
768check for private school owners shall be reported to the
769Department of Education. The owner or operator of the private
770school shall receive the results of a criminal background check
771for all other persons subject to the private school background
772check requirements and immediately report to the Department of
773Education any individual with direct student contact with
774corporate tax credit scholarship students who has failed the
775Level 2 background check. Employment of such an individual shall
776cause a private school to be ineligible for participation in the
777scholarship program. An individual holding a valid Florida
778teaching certificate who has been fingerprinted pursuant to s.
7791012.32 shall not be required to comply with the provisions of
780this paragraph.
781     (i)  Annually comply with the requirements of the
782Department of Education to complete a notarized sworn compliance
783statement certifying compliance with state laws pursuant to
784subsection (7).
785     (j)  Notify the Department of Education and the eligible
786nonprofit scholarship-funding organization if any participating
787student is receiving a warrant or check from more than one
788eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
789     (k)  Comply with all applicable state agency rules relating
790to private schools.
791     (l)  Publish and report, as part of the annual database
792survey form and notarized statement of compliance required
793pursuant to s. 1002.42(2), to the Department of Education and
794distribute to the scholarship applicants:
795     1.  Whether the private school is accredited by an in-state
796or regional accrediting association that is validated by a
797third-party accreditor at the state or national level which has
798been in existence at least 3 years.
799     2.  The name of the accrediting association that accredits
800the private school.
801     3.  Whether the private school is in the process of
802receiving candidate status.
803
804The inability of a private school to meet the requirements of
805this subsection shall constitute a basis for the ineligibility
806of the private school to participate in the scholarship program
807as determined by the Department of Education.
808     (7)  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION,
809AND STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS; RESPONSIBILITIES.--
810     (a)  The Department of Education shall:
811     1.  Annually submit to the Department of Revenue, by March
81215, a list of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
813organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(c).
814     2.  Annually verify the eligibility of nonprofit
815scholarship-funding organizations that meet the requirements of
816paragraph (2)(c).
817     3.  Annually verify the eligibility of private schools that
818meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(d).
819     4.  Annually verify the eligibility of expenditures as
820provided in subsection (4).
821     5.  Establish a toll-free hotline that provides parents,
822private schools, and nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations
823with information on participation in the scholarship program.
824     6.  Establish a process by which individuals may notify the
825Department of Education of any violation by a private school or
826nonprofit scholarship-funding organization of state laws
827relating to scholarship program participation. The department
828shall conduct an investigation of any written complaint of a
829violation of this section if the complaint is signed by the
830complainant and is legally sufficient. A complaint is legally
831sufficient if it contains ultimate facts that show that a
832violation of this section or any rule adopted by the State Board
833of Education or other state agency has occurred. In order to
834determine legal sufficiency, the Department of Education may
835require supporting information or documentation from the
836complainant. In addition, the department is authorized to
837investigate anonymous complaints.
838     7.  Require annual completion of a notarized sworn
839compliance statement by participating private schools certifying
840compliance with state laws and retain such records.
841     8.  Identify all nationally norm-referenced tests that are
842comparable to the norm-referenced test portions of the Florida
843Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
844     9.  Select an independent private research organization to
845which participating private schools must report the scores of
846participating students on the assessments administered by the
847private school under paragraph (6)(g). The independent private
848research organization must annually report to the Department of
849Education on the year-to-year improvements of the participating
850students. The independent private research organization must
851analyze and report student performance data, including student
852scores by grade level, in a manner that protects the rights of
853students and parents as mandated in 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g and must
854not disaggregate data to a level that will disclose the academic
855level of individuals or of individual schools. To the extent
856possible, the independent private research organization must
857accumulate historical performance data on students from the
858Department of Education and private schools to describe baseline
859performance and to conduct longitudinal studies. To minimize
860costs and reduce time required for third-party analysis and
861evaluation, the Department of Education shall conduct analyses
862of matched students from public school assessment data and
863calculate control group learning gains using an agreed upon
864methodology outlined in the contract with the third-party
865evaluator. The sharing of student data must be in accordance
866with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requirements
867and shall be for the sole purpose of conducting the evaluation.
868All parties must preserve the confidentiality of such
869information.
870     10.  Provide a private school profile on-line for those
871private schools participating in the scholarship program.
872     11.  Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
873organization of any of the organization's identified students
874who are receiving an opportunity scholarship pursuant to s.
8751002.38 or a John M. McKay Scholarship pursuant to s. 1002.39.
876     12.  Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
877organization of any of the organization's identified students
878who are receiving a corporate tax credit scholarship from
879another eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.
880     13.  Require quarterly reports by an eligible nonprofit
881scholarship-funding organization regarding the number of
882students participating in the scholarship program, the private
883schools at which the students are enrolled, and other
884information deemed necessary by the Department of Education.
885     14.  Regularly cross-check the list of participating
886scholarship students with the public school enrollment lists to
887avoid duplication.
888     (b)  The Commissioner of Education shall revoke the
889eligibility of a nonprofit scholarship-funding organization,
890private school, or student to participate in the scholarship
891program for noncompliance with this section.
892     (8)(7)  ADMINISTRATION; RULES.--
893     (a)  If the credit granted pursuant to this section is not
894fully used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability
895on the part of the corporation, the unused amount may be carried
896forward for a period not to exceed 3 years; however, any
897taxpayer that seeks to carry forward an unused amount of tax
898credit must submit an application for allocation of tax credits
899or carryforward credits as required in paragraph (d) in the year
900that the taxpayer intends to use the carryforward. The total
901amount of tax credits and carryforward of tax credits granted
902each state fiscal year under this section is $88 million. This
903carryforward applies to all approved contributions made after
904January 1, 2002. A taxpayer may not convey, assign, or transfer
905the credit authorized by this section to another entity unless
906all of the assets of the taxpayer are conveyed, assigned, or
907transferred in the same transaction.
908     (b)  An application for a tax credit pursuant to this
909section shall be submitted to the department on forms
910established by rule of the department.
911     (c)  The department and the Department of Education shall
912develop a cooperative agreement to assist in the administration
913of this section. The Department of Education shall be
914responsible for annually submitting, by March 15, to the
915department a list of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
916organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(d) and
917for monitoring eligibility of nonprofit scholarship-funding
918organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(d),
919eligibility of nonpublic schools that meet the requirements of
920paragraph (2)(c), and eligibility of expenditures under this
921section as provided in subsection (4).
922     (d)  The department shall adopt rules necessary to
923administer this section, including rules establishing
924application forms and procedures and governing the allocation of
925tax credits and carryforward credits under this section on a
926first-come, first-served basis.
927     (e)  The State Board Department of Education shall adopt
928rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this
929section, including, but not limited to, rules:
930     1.  Determining necessary to determine eligibility of
931nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations and private schools.
932     2.  Identifying as defined in paragraph (2)(d) and
933according to the provisions of subsection (4) and identify
934qualified students as defined in paragraph (2)(e).
935     3.  Identifying the documentation required to establish
936eligibility for nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations.
937     4.  Requiring an annual notarized sworn statement of
938compliance for private schools that participate in the
939scholarship program.
940     5.  Identifying the independent income-verification
941documentation required to establish student eligibility under
942this section.
943     (f)  Subsequent to each scholarship payment, the Department
944of Financial Services shall randomly review endorsed warrants to
945confirm compliance with endorsement requirements.
946     (g)  The State Board of Education may delegate its
947authority under this section to the Commissioner of Education
948with the exception of rulemaking authority.
949     (9)(8)  DEPOSITS OF ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS.--All eligible
950contributions received by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-
951funding organization shall be deposited in a manner consistent
952with s. 17.57(2).
953     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
954
955================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T =================
956     Remove the entire title and insert:
957
A bill to be entitled
958An act relating to scholarship program accountability;
959amending s. 1002.39, F.S., relating to the John M. McKay
960Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program;
961revising definition of the term "students with
962disabilities"; restricting eligibility to receive a John
963M. McKay Scholarship; revising and adding school district
964and Department of Education obligations; providing for
965department investigation of private school violations;
966revising requirements for private school fiscal soundness;
967revising eligibility requirements for private schools,
968including compliance with specified laws and requirements
969of the department, annual assessment of students, and
970maintenance of a physical location in the state; requiring
971fingerprinting and criminal background checks; requiring
972annual completion of a notarized sworn compliance
973statement; prohibiting certain types of educational
974programs; prohibiting power of attorney for endorsing
975scholarship checks; requiring annual registration with the
976department; revising provisions relating to scholarship
977payment; providing for Department of Financial Services
978obligations; providing Commissioner of Education authority
979to suspend or prohibit program participation; requiring
980the adoption of specified rules; amending s. 220.187,
981F.S., relating to credits for contributions to nonprofit
982scholarship-funding organizations; revising definition of
983the terms "eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
984organization" and "qualified student"; defining the terms
985"eligible private school" and "owner or operator";
986reducing small business tax credit reservation; providing
987for rescindment of tax credit allocation; revising
988obligations of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding
989organizations; authorizing scholarships for certain
990transportation expenses; providing restrictions on
991provision of a scholarship; requiring a separate account
992for scholarship funds; authorizing transfer of funds
993between scholarship-funding organizations; specifying
994audit requirements; requiring quarterly scholarship
995payments and reports; requiring income verification;
996requiring fingerprinting and criminal background checks;
997providing restrictions on scholarship-funding organization
998ownership or operation; providing for reporting of
999noncompliant private schools; providing parent and student
1000obligations; prohibiting power of attorney for endorsing
1001scholarship checks; revising requirements for private
1002school fiscal soundness; providing additional private
1003school obligations, including compliance with specified
1004laws, employment of qualified teachers, and provision of
1005student testing; requiring fingerprinting and criminal
1006background checks; requiring annual completion of a
1007notarized sworn compliance statement; providing Department
1008of Education and Commissioner of Education obligations and
1009responsibilities, including verification of eligibility of
1010program participants, investigation of violations,
1011selection of a research organization to analyze student
1012performance data, and revocation of eligibility to
1013participate in the scholarship program; requiring adoption
1014of specified rules; providing for Department of Financial
1015Services obligations; providing an effective date.


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