Florida Senate - 2021 SB 580
By Senator Harrell
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to dyslexia; creating s. 1001.2151,
3 F.S.; providing legislative intent; requiring public
4 schools to screen all students in kindergarten through
5 grade 3 for dyslexia within a certain timeframe;
6 requiring public school students with a substantial
7 deficiency in reading to be placed in an intensive
8 remedial intervention program; requiring parental
9 notification of dyslexia diagnoses and biweekly
10 progress reports; providing for subsequent diagnostic
11 assessment; requiring that intensive remedial
12 intervention meet certain requirements; requiring
13 remedial intervention to continue until the student
14 can perform at a certain level; requiring public
15 schools to have at least one person on staff with
16 specified certification in reading instruction for
17 students with dyslexia; requiring the State Board of
18 Education to adopt rules; amending s. 1003.01, F.S.;
19 defining the terms “disability,” “dyscalculia,”
20 “dysgraphia,” and “dyslexia”; making technical
21 changes; establishing the Dyslexia Task Force within
22 the Department of Education; specifying the purpose
23 and duties of the task force; requiring the task force
24 members to be appointed by the Commissioner of
25 Education; requiring the task force to consist of nine
26 members having certain backgrounds; requiring the task
27 force to hold its first meeting within a certain
28 timeframe; providing that task force members serve
29 without compensation, but may receive reimbursement
30 for certain expenses; providing a directive to the
31 Division of Law Revision; amending s. 1003.26, F.S.;
32 removing a requirement for district school
33 superintendents to refer parents to a home education
34 review committee; removing a penalty for parents
35 failing to provide a portfolio to such committee;
36 amending ss. 11.45, 39.0016, 414.1251, 1002.01,
37 1002.20, 1002.3105, 1002.33, 1002.385, 1002.42,
38 1002.43, 1003.03, 1003.21, 1003.4282, 1003.52,
39 1003.575, 1006.07, 1008.24, and 1012.2315, F.S.;
40 conforming cross-references; providing an effective
43 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
45 Section 1. Section 1001.2151, Florida Statutes, is created
46 to read:
47 1001.2151 LITERACY-BASED PROMOTION.—It is the intent of the
48 Legislature to ensure that each student’s progression in
49 kindergarten through grade 3 is determined in part upon the
50 student’s proficiency in reading. Local school board policies
51 shall facilitate this proficiency, and each student and the
52 student’s parent or legal guardian shall be informed of the
53 student’s academic progress.
54 (1) Within the first 30 days of the school year, each
55 public school shall screen each student in kindergarten through
56 grade 3 for dyslexia using a dyslexia diagnostic assessment
58 (2) Each public school student in kindergarten through
59 grade 3 who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading at any
60 time, as demonstrated through his or her performance on a
61 dyslexia diagnostic assessment screener approved and developed
62 by the State Board of Education, must be placed in an intensive
63 remedial intervention program.
64 (3) The parent of any student in kindergarten through grade
65 3 who exhibits dyslexia shall be immediately notified by the
66 student’s school of the student’s deficiency pursuant to s.
67 1008.25(5) and the parent shall be provided a progress report
68 issued at 2-week intervals while the student continues to
69 exhibit dyslexia. The parent shall also be notified in writing
70 by the school of the process to request a special education
72 (4) The dyslexia diagnostic assessment screener may be
73 repeated at midyear and at the end of the school year to
74 determine student progression in reading. If it is determined
75 that the student continues to exhibit a reading deficiency, he
76 or she must be provided with continued intensive remedial
77 intervention by the school district until the deficiency is
78 remedied. Every public school must provide intensive
79 interventions for every student in kindergarten through grade 3
80 identified with a deficiency in reading or with dyslexia to
81 ameliorate the student’s specific deficiency.
82 (5) The intensive remedial intervention program must
83 include evidence-based interventions specifically designed for
84 dyslexia utilizing a structured literacy, speech to print, or
85 structured word inquiry approach to assist the student in
86 becoming a successful reader able to read at or above grade
87 level and ready for promotion to the next grade. The intensive
88 remedial intervention program must be continued until the
89 student can maintain grade level performance in decoding,
90 encoding, reading fluency, and reading comprehension without
91 continued supportive intervention and services.
92 (6) Every public school must employ one or more full-time
93 personnel certified through a nationally recognized organization
94 specializing in reading instruction for students with dyslexia
95 to provide structured literacy, speech to print, or structured
96 word inquiry intervention.
97 (7) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules that
98 require students to be evaluated for phonological awareness to
99 determine whether a student has a specific learning disability.
100 Section 2. Section 1003.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to
102 1003.01 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “District school board” means the members who are
104 elected by the voters of a school district created and existing
105 pursuant to s. 4, Art. IX of the State Constitution to operate
106 and control public K-12 education within the school district.
107 (19) (2) “School” means an organization of students for
108 instructional purposes on an elementary, middle or junior high
109 school, secondary or high school, or other public school level
110 authorized under rules of the State Board of Education.
111 (6) “Disability” means an intellectual disability; autism
112 spectrum disorder; a speech impairment; a language impairment;
113 an orthopedic impairment; any other health impairment; traumatic
114 brain injury; a visual impairment; an emotional or behavioral
115 disability; or a specific learning disability, including, but
116 not limited to, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, or
117 developmental aphasia; students who are deaf or hard of hearing
118 or dual sensory impaired; students who are hospitalized or
119 homebound; children with developmental delays ages birth through
120 5 years, or children, ages birth through 2 years, with
121 established conditions that are identified in State Board of
122 Education rules pursuant to s. 1003.21(1)(e).
123 (9) “Dyscalculia” means a specific learning disability that
125 (a) Neurological in origin;
126 (b) Characterized by difficulties with learning and
127 comprehending arithmetic, understanding numbers, performing
128 mathematical calculations, and learning mathematics; and
129 (c) Often unexpected in relation to other cognitive
130 abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
131 (10) “Dysgraphia” means a specific learning disability that
133 (a) Neurological in origin;
134 (b) Characterized by difficulties with accurate writing
135 abilities, spelling, handwriting, and putting thoughts on paper;
137 (c) Often unexpected in relation to other cognitive
138 abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
139 (11) “Dyslexia” means a specific learning disability that
141 (a) Neurological in origin;
142 (b) Characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent
143 word recognition, spelling, and decoding which typically result
144 from a deficit in the phonological component of language; and
145 (c) Often unexpected in relation to other cognitive
146 abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
147 Secondary consequences may include problems in reading
148 comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede
149 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
150 (12) (3)(a) “Exceptional student” means any student who has
151 been determined eligible for a special program in accordance
152 with rules of the State Board of Education. The term includes
153 students who are gifted and students with disabilities who have
154 an intellectual disability; autism spectrum disorder; a speech
155 impairment; a language impairme nt; an orthopedic impairment; an
156 other health impairment; traumatic brain injury; a visual
157 impairment; an emotional or behavioral disability; or a specific
158 learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia,
159 dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; students who are deaf or
160 hard of hearing or dual sensory impaired; students who are
161 hospitalized or homebound; children with developmental delays
162 ages birth through 5 years, or children, ages birth through 2
163 years, with established conditions that are identified in State
164 Board of Education rules pursuant to s. 1003.21(1)(e).
165 (b) “Special education services” means specially designed
166 instruction and such related services as are necessary for an
167 exceptional student to benefit from education. Such services may
168 include: transportation; diagnostic and evaluation services;
169 social services; physical and occupational therapy; speech and
170 language pathology services; job placement; orientation and
171 mobility training; braillists, typists, and readers for the
172 blind; interpreters and auditory amplification; services
173 provided by a certified listening and spoken language
174 specialist; rehabilitation counseling; transition services;
175 mental health services; guidance and career counseling;
176 specified materials, assistive technology devices, and other
177 specialized equipment; and other such services as approved by
178 rules of the state board.
179 (2) (4) “Career education” means education that provides
180 instruction for the following purposes:
181 (a) At the elementary, middle, and high school levels,
182 exploratory courses designed to give students initial exposure
183 to a broad range of occupations to assist them in preparing
184 their academic and occupational plans, and practical arts
185 courses that provide generic skills that may apply to many
186 occupations but are not designed to prepare students for entry
187 into a specific occupation. Career education provided before
188 high school completion must be designed to strengthen both
189 occupational awareness and academic skills integrated throughout
190 all academic instruction.
191 (b) At the secondary school level, job-preparatory
192 instruction in the competencies that prepare students for
193 effective entry into an occupation, including diversified
194 cooperative education, work experience, and job-entry programs
195 that coordinate directed study and on-the-job training.
196 (c) At the postsecondary education level, courses of study
197 that provide competencies needed for entry into specific
198 occupations or for advancement within an occupation.
199 (20) (5)(a) “Suspension,” also referred to as out-of-school
200 suspension, means the temporary removal of a student from all
201 classes of instruction on public school grounds and all other
202 school-sponsored activities, except as authorized by the
203 principal or the principal’s designee, for a period not to
204 exceed 10 school days and remanding of the student to the
205 custody of the student’s parent with specific homework
206 assignments for the student to complete.
207 (b) “In-school suspension” means the temporary removal of a
208 student from the student’s regular school program and placement
209 in an alternative program, such as that provided in s. 1003.53,
210 under the supervision of district school board personnel, for a
211 period not to exceed 10 school days.
212 (13) (6) “Expulsion” means the removal of the right and
213 obligation of a student to attend a public school under
214 conditions set by the district school board, and for a period of
215 time not to exceed the remainder of the term or school year and
216 1 additional year of attendance. Expulsions may be imposed with
217 or without continuing educational services and shall be reported
219 (5) (7) “Corporal punishment” means the moderate use of
220 physical force or physical contact by a teacher or principal as
221 may be necessary to maintain discipline or to enforce school
222 rule. However, the term “corporal punishment” does not include
223 the use of such reasonable force by a teacher or principal as
224 may be necessary for self-protection or to protect other
225 students from disruptive students.
226 (15) (8) “Habitual truant” means a student who has 15
227 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days with or without the
228 knowledge or consent of the student’s parent, is subject to
229 compulsory school attendance under s. 1003.21(1) and (2)(a), and
230 is not exempt under s. 1003.21(3) or s. 1003.24, or by meeting
231 the criteria for any other exemption specified by law or rules
232 of the State Board of Education. Such a student must have been
233 the subject of the activities specified in ss. 1003.26 and
234 1003.27(3), without resultant successful remediation of the
235 truancy problem before being dealt with as a child in need of
236 services according to the provisions of chapter 984.
237 (8) (9) “Dropout” means a student who meets any one or more
238 of the following criteria:
239 (a) The student has voluntarily removed himself or herself
240 from the school system before graduation for reasons that
241 include, but are not limited to, marriage, or the student has
242 withdrawn from school because he or she has failed the statewide
243 student assessment test and thereby does not receive any of the
244 certificates of completion;
245 (b) The student has not met the relevant attendance
246 requirements of the school district pursuant to State Board of
247 Education rules, or the student was expected to attend a school
248 but did not enter as expected for unknown reasons, or the
249 student’s whereabouts are unknown;
250 (c) The student has withdrawn from school, but has not
251 transferred to another public or private school or enrolled in
252 any career, adult, home education, or alternative educational
254 (d) The student has withdrawn from school due to hardship,
255 unless such withdrawal has been granted under the provisions of
256 s. 322.091, court action, expulsion, medical reasons, or
257 pregnancy; or
258 (e) The student is not eligible to attend school because of
259 reaching the maximum age for an exceptional student program in
260 accordance with the district’s policy.
262 The State Board of Education may adopt rules to implement the
263 provisions of this subsection.
264 (1) (10) “Alternative measures for students with special
265 needs” or “special programs” means measures designed to meet the
266 special needs of a student that cannot be met by regular school
268 (16) (11)(a) “Juvenile justice education programs or
269 schools” means programs or schools operating for the purpose of
270 providing educational services to youth in Department of
271 Juvenile Justice programs, for a school year comprised of 250
272 days of instruction distributed over 12 months. At the request
273 of the provider, a district school board may decrease the
274 minimum number of days of instruction by up to 10 days for
275 teacher planning for residential programs and up to 20 days for
276 teacher planning for nonresidential programs, subject to the
277 approval of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the
278 Department of Education.
279 (b) “Juvenile justice provider” means the Department of
280 Juvenile Justice, the sheriff, or a private, public, or other
281 governmental organization under contract with the Department of
282 Juvenile Justice or the sheriff that provides treatment, care
283 and custody, or educational programs for youth in juvenile
284 justice intervention, detention, or commitment programs.
285 (3) (12) “Children and youths who are experiencing
286 homelessness,” for programs authorized under subtitle B,
287 Education for Homeless Children and Youths, of Title VII of the
288 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 11431 et
289 seq., means children and youths who lack a fixed, regular, and
290 adequate nighttime residence, and includes:
291 (a) Children and youths who are sharing the housing of
292 other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a
293 similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer
294 parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative
295 adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional
296 shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster
297 care placement.
298 (b) Children and youths who have a primary nighttime
299 residence that is a public or private place not designed for or
300 ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human
302 (c) Children and youths who are living in cars, parks,
303 public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or
304 similar settings.
305 (d) Migratory children who are living in circumstances
306 described in paragraphs (a)-(c).
307 (18) (13) “Regular school attendance” means the actual
308 attendance of a student during the school day as defined by law
309 and rules of the State Board of Education. Regular attendance
310 within the intent of s. 1003.21 may be achieved by attendance
312 (a) A public school supported by public funds;
313 (b) A parochial, religious, or denominational school;
314 (c) A private school supported in whole or in part by
315 tuition charges or by endowments or gifts;
316 (d) A home education program that meets the requirements of
317 chapter 1002; or
318 (e) A private tutoring program that meets the requirements
319 of chapter 1002.
320 (4) (14) “Core-curricula courses” means:
321 (a) Courses in language arts/reading, mathematics, social
322 studies, and science in prekindergarten through grade 3,
323 excluding extracurricular courses pursuant to subsection (14)
324 subsection (15);
325 (b) Courses in grades 4 through 8 in subjects that are
326 measured by state assessment at any grade level and courses
327 required for middle school promotion, excluding extracurricular
328 courses pursuant to subsection (14) subsection (15);
329 (c) Courses in grades 9 through 12 in subjects that are
330 measured by state assessment at any grade level and courses that
331 are specifically identified by name in statute as required for
332 high school graduation and that are not measured by state
333 assessment, excluding extracurricular courses pursuant to
334 subsection (14) subsection (15);
335 (d) Exceptional student education courses; and
336 (e) English for Speakers of Other Languages courses.
338 The term is limited in meaning and used for the sole purpose of
339 designating classes that are subject to the maximum class size
340 requirements established in s. 1, Art. IX of the State
341 Constitution. This term does not include courses offered under
342 ss. 1002.321(4)(e), 1002.33(7)(a)2.b., 1002.37, 1002.45, and
344 (14) (15) “Extracurricular courses” means all courses that
345 are not defined as “core-curricula courses,” which may include,
346 but are not limited to, physical education, fine arts,
347 performing fine arts, career education, and courses that may
348 result in college credit. The term is limited in meaning and
349 used for the sole purpose of designating classes that are not
350 subject to the maximum class size requirements established in s.
351 1, Art. IX of the State Constitution.
352 (17) (16) “Physical education” means the development or
353 maintenance of skills related to strength, agility, flexibility,
354 movement, and stamina, including dance; the development of
355 knowledge and skills regarding teamwork and fair play; the
356 development of knowledge and skills regarding nutrition and
357 physical fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle; and the
358 development of positive attitudes regarding sound nutrition and
359 physical activity as a component of personal well-being.
360 Section 3. The Dyslexia Task Force, a task force as defined
361 in s. 20.03, Florida Statutes, is established within the
362 Department of Education.
363 (1) The task force shall develop a dyslexia handbook that
364 must include, but is not limited to, the following:
365 (a) Recommendations on how to identify dyslexia,
366 dysgraphia, and dyscalculia;
367 (b) Recommendations for appropriate goal writing for
368 individual education plans (IEPs) for students with dyslexia,
369 dysgraphia, or dyscalculia;
370 (c) Recommendations for interventions for dyslexia,
371 dysgraphia, and dyscalculia;
372 (d) Recommendations for provision of assistive technology
373 guidelines; and
374 (e) Recommendations for the creation of a parent handbook
375 regarding dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.
376 (2) The task force shall recommend amendments to uniform
377 digital IEP documents to require a drop-down menu under specific
378 learning disabilities which allows child study teams to check
379 all learning disabilities that are exhibited by the student,
380 including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.
381 (3) The task force shall consist of the following nine
382 members appointed by the Commissioner of Education:
383 (a) Three members of organizations or nonprofits focused on
384 dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities.
385 (b) A faculty member or researcher from a university with a
386 program or department devoted to dyslexia and reading disorders.
387 (c) A neuropsychologist or clinical psychologist who
388 specializes in dyslexia evaluation and identification.
389 (d) A speech language pathologist with expertise in
390 dyslexia, phonological deficits, and language disorders.
391 (e) A parent of a child with dyslexia.
392 (f) A public school teacher.
393 (g) A public school principal.
394 (4) Within 90 days after the effective date of this act, a
395 majority of the members of the task force must be appointed and
396 the task force shall hold its first meeting. The task force
397 shall elect one of its members to serve as chair. Members of the
398 task force shall serve for the duration of the existence of the
399 task force. Any vacancy that occurs shall be filled in the same
400 manner as the original appointment. Task force members shall
401 serve without compensation, but are entitled to reimbursement
402 for per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061,
403 Florida Statutes.
404 Section 4. The Division of Law Revision is directed to
405 replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” wherever it
406 occurs in this act with the date the act becomes a law.
407 Section 5. Paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of section
408 1003.26, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
409 1003.26 Enforcement of school attendance.—The Legislature
410 finds that poor academic performance is associated with
411 nonattendance and that school districts must take an active role
412 in promoting and enforcing attendance as a means of improving
413 student performance. It is the policy of the state that each
414 district school superintendent be responsible for enforcing
415 school attendance of all students subject to the compulsory
416 school age in the school district and supporting enforcement of
417 school attendance by local law enforcement agencies. The
418 responsibility includes recommending policies and procedures to
419 the district school board that require public schools to respond
420 in a timely manner to every unexcused absence, and every absence
421 for which the reason is unknown, of students enrolled in the
422 schools. District school board policies shall require the parent
423 of a student to justify each absence of the student, and that
424 justification will be evaluated based on adopted district school
425 board policies that define excused and unexcused absences. The
426 policies must provide that public schools track excused and
427 unexcused absences and contact the home in the case of an
428 unexcused absence from school, or an absence from school for
429 which the reason is unknown, to prevent the development of
430 patterns of nonattendance. The Legislature finds that early
431 intervention in school attendance is the most effective way of
432 producing good attendance habits that will lead to improved
433 student learning and achievement. Each public school shall
434 implement the following steps to promote and enforce regular
435 school attendance:
436 (1) CONTACT, REFER, AND ENFORCE.—
437 (f) 1. If the parent of a child who has been identified as
438 exhibiting a pattern of nonattendance enrolls the child in a
439 home education program pursuant to chapter 1002, the district
440 school superintendent shall provide the parent a copy of s.
441 1002.41 and the accountability requirements of this paragraph.
442 The district school superintendent shall also refer the parent
443 to a home education review committee composed of the district
444 contact for home education programs and at least two home
445 educators selected by the parent from a district list of all
446 home educators who have conducted a home education program for
447 at least 3 years and who have indicated a willingness to serve
448 on the committee. The home education review committee shall
449 review the portfolio of the student, as defined by s. 1002.41,
450 every 30 days during the district’s regular school terms until
451 the committee is satisfied that the home education program is in
452 compliance with s. 1002.41(1)(d). The first portfolio review
453 must occur within the first 30 calendar days of the
454 establishment of the program. The provisions of subparagraph 2.
455 do not apply once the committee determines the home education
456 program is in compliance with s. 1002.41(1)(d).
457 2. If the parent fails to provide a portfolio to the
458 committee, the committee shall notify the district school
459 superintendent. The district school superintendent shall then
460 terminate the home education program and require the parent to
461 enroll the child in an attendance option that meets the
462 definition of “regular scho ol attendance” under s.
463 1003.01(13)(a), (b), (c), or (e), within 3 days. Upon
464 termination of a home education program pursuant to this
465 subparagraph, the parent shall not be eligible to reenroll the
466 child in a home education program for 180 calendar days. Failure
467 of a parent to enroll the child in an attendance option as
468 required by this subparagraph after termination of the home
469 education program pursuant to this subparagraph shall constitute
470 noncompliance with the compulsory attendance requirements of s.
471 1003.21 and may result in criminal prosecution under s.
472 1003.27(2). Nothing contained herein shall restrict the ability
473 of the district school superintendent, or the ability of his or
474 her designee, to review the portfolio pursuant to s.
476 Section 6. Paragraph (k) of subsection (2) of section
477 11.45, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
478 11.45 Definitions; duties; authorities; reports; rules.—
479 (2) DUTIES.—The Auditor General shall:
480 (k) Contact each district school board, as defined in s.
481 1003.01 s. 1003.01(1), with the findings and recommendations
482 contained within the Auditor General’s previous operational
483 audit report. The district school board shall provide the
484 Auditor General with evidence of the initiation of corrective
485 action within 45 days after the date it is requested by the
486 Auditor General and evidence of completion of corrective action
487 within 180 days after the date it is requested by the Auditor
488 General. If the district school board fails to comply with the
489 Auditor General’s request or is unable to take corrective action
490 within the required timeframe, the Auditor General shall notify
491 the Legislative Auditing Committee.
493 The Auditor General shall perform his or her duties
494 independently but under the general policies established by the
495 Legislative Auditing Committee. This subsection does not limit
496 the Auditor General’s discretionary authority to conduct other
497 audits or engagements of governmental entities as authorized in
498 subsection (3).
499 Section 7. Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section
500 39.0016, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
501 39.0016 Education of abused, neglected, and abandoned
502 children; agency agreements; children having or suspected of
503 having a disability.—
504 (3) CHILDREN HAVING OR SUSPECTED OF HAVING A DISABILITY.—
505 (b)1. Each district school superintendent or dependency
506 court must appoint a surrogate parent for a child known to the
507 department who has or is suspected of having a disability, as
508 defined in s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(3), when:
509 a. After reasonable efforts, no parent can be located; or
510 b. A court of competent jurisdiction over a child under
511 this chapter has determined that no person has the authority
512 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including
513 the parent or parents subject to the dependency action, or that
514 no person has the authority, willingness, or ability to serve as
515 the educational decisionmaker for the child without judicial
517 2. A surrogate parent appointed by the district school
518 superintendent or the court must be at least 18 years old and
519 have no personal or professional interest that conflicts with
520 the interests of the student to be represented. Neither the
521 district school superintendent nor the court may appoint an
522 employee of the Department of Education, the local school
523 district, a community-based care provider, the Department of
524 Children and Families, or any other public or private agency
525 involved in the education or care of the child as appointment of
526 those persons is prohibited by federal law. This prohibition
527 includes group home staff and therapeutic foster parents.
528 However, a person who acts in a parental role to a child, such
529 as a foster parent or relative caregiver, is not prohibited from
530 serving as a surrogate parent if he or she is employed by such
531 agency, willing to serve, and knowledgeable about the child and
532 the exceptional student education process. The surrogate parent
533 may be a court-appointed guardian ad litem or a relative or
534 nonrelative adult who is involved in the child’s life regardless
535 of whether that person has physical custody of the child. Each
536 person appointed as a surrogate parent must have the knowledge
537 and skills acquired by successfully completing training using
538 materials developed and approved by the Department of Education
539 to ensure adequate representation of the child.
540 3. If a guardian ad litem has been appointed for a child,
541 the district school superintendent must first consider the
542 child’s guardian ad litem when appointing a surrogate parent.
543 The district school superintendent must accept the appointment
544 of the court if he or she has not previously appointed a
545 surrogate parent. Similarly, the court must accept a surrogate
546 parent duly appointed by a district school superintendent.
547 4. A surrogate parent appointed by the district school
548 superintendent or the court must be accepted by any subsequent
549 school or school district without regard to where the child is
550 receiving residential care so that a single surrogate parent can
551 follow the education of the child during his or her entire time
552 in state custody. Nothing in this paragraph or in rule shall
553 limit or prohibit the continuance of a surrogate parent
554 appointment when the responsibility for the student’s
555 educational placement moves among and between public and private
557 5. For a child known to the department, the responsibility
558 to appoint a surrogate parent resides with both the district
559 school superintendent and the court with jurisdiction over the
560 child. If the court elects to appoint a surrogate parent, notice
561 shall be provided as soon as practicable to the child’s school.
562 At any time the court determines that it is in the best
563 interests of a child to remove a surrogate parent, the court may
564 appoint a new surrogate parent for educational decisionmaking
565 purposes for that child.
566 6. The surrogate parent shall continue in the appointed
567 role until one of the following occurs:
568 a. The child is determined to no longer be eligible or in
569 need of special programs, except when termination of special
570 programs is being contested.
571 b. The child achieves permanency through adoption or legal
572 guardianship and is no longer in the custody of the department.
573 c. The parent who was previously unknown becomes known,
574 whose whereabouts were unknown is located, or who was
575 unavailable is determined by the court to be available.
576 d. The appointed surrogate no longer wishes to represent
577 the child or is unable to represent the child.
578 e. The superintendent of the school district in which the
579 child is attending school, the Department of Education contract
580 designee, or the court that appointed the surrogate determines
581 that the appointed surrogate parent no longer adequately
582 represents the child.
583 f. The child moves to a geographic location that is not
584 reasonably accessible to the appointed surrogate.
585 7. The appointment and termination of appointment of a
586 surrogate under this paragraph shall be entered as an order of
587 the court with a copy of the order provided to the child’s
588 school as soon as practicable.
589 8. The person appointed as a surrogate parent under this
590 paragraph must:
591 a. Be acquainted with the child and become knowledgeable
592 about his or her disability and educational needs.
593 b. Represent the child in all matters relating to
594 identification, evaluation, and educational placement and the
595 provision of a free and appropriate education to the child.
596 c. Represent the interests and safeguard the rights of the
597 child in educational decisions that affect the child.
598 9. The responsibilities of the person appointed as a
599 surrogate parent shall not extend to the care, maintenance,
600 custody, residential placement, or any other area not
601 specifically related to the education of the child, unless the
602 same person is appointed by the court for such other purposes.
603 10. A person appointed as a surrogate parent shall enjoy
604 all of the procedural safeguards afforded a parent with respect
605 to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of
606 a student with a disability or a student who is suspected of
607 having a disability.
608 11. A person appointed as a surrogate parent shall not be
609 held liable for actions taken in good faith on behalf of the
610 student in protecting the special education rights of the child.
611 Section 8. Subsection (1) of section 414.1251, Florida
612 Statutes, is amended to read:
613 414.1251 Learnfare program.—
614 (1) The department shall reduce the temporary cash
615 assistance for a participant’s eligible dependent child or for
616 an eligible teenage participant who has not been exempted from
617 education participation requirements, if the eligible dependent
618 child or eligible teenage participant has been identified either
619 as a habitual truant, pursuant to s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(8), or
620 as a dropout, pursuant to s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(9). For a
621 student who has been identified as a habitual truant, the
622 temporary cash assistance must be reinstated after a subsequent
623 grading period in which the child’s attendance has substantially
624 improved. For a student who has been identified as a dropout,
625 the temporary cash assistance must be reinstated after the
626 student enrolls in a public school, receives a high school
627 diploma or its equivalency, enrolls in preparation for the high
628 school equivalency examination, or enrolls in other educational
629 activities approved by the district school board. Good cause
630 exemptions from the rule of unexcused absences include the
632 (a) The student is expelled from school and alternative
633 schooling is not available.
634 (b) No licensed day care is available for a child of teen
635 parents subject to Learnfare.
636 (c) Prohibitive transportation problems exist (e.g., to and
637 from day care).
639 Within 10 days after sanction notification, the participant
640 parent of a dependent child or the teenage participant may file
641 an internal fair hearings process review procedure appeal, and
642 no sanction shall be imposed until the appeal is resolved.
643 Section 9. Section 1002.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to
645 1002.01 Definitions.—
646 (1) A “home education program” means the sequentially
647 progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her
648 parent in order to satisfy the attendance requirements of ss.
649 1002.41 , 1003.01(13), and 1003.21(1).
650 (2) A “private school” is a nonpublic school defined as an
651 individual, association, copartnership, or corporation, or
652 department, division, or section of such organizations, that
653 designates itself as an educational center that includes
654 kindergarten or a higher grade or as an elementary, secondary,
655 business, technical, or trade school below college level or any
656 organization that provides instructional services that meet the
657 intent of s. 1003.01(18) s. 1003.01(13) or that gives
658 preemployment or supplementary training in technology or in
659 fields of trade or industry or that offers academic, literary,
660 or career training below college level, or any combination of
661 the above, including an institution that performs the functions
662 of the above schools through correspondence or extension, except
663 those licensed under the provisions of chapter 1005. A private
664 school may be a parochial, religious, denominational, for
665 profit, or nonprofit school. This definition does not include
666 home education programs conducted in accordance with s. 1002.41.
667 Section 10. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
668 1002.20, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
669 1002.20 K-12 student and parent rights.—Parents of public
670 school students must receive accurate and timely information
671 regarding their child’s academic progress and must be informed
672 of ways they can help their child to succeed in school. K-12
673 students and their parents are afforded numerous statutory
674 rights including, but not limited to, the following:
675 (2) ATTENDANCE.—
676 (b) Regular school attendance.—Parents of students who have
677 attained the age of 6 years by February 1 of any school year but
678 who have not attained the age of 16 years must comply with the
679 compulsory school attendance laws. Parents have the option to
680 comply with the school attendance laws by attendance of the
681 student in a public school; a parochial, religious, or
682 denominational school; a private school; a home education
683 program; or a private tutoring program, in accordance with the
684 provisions of s. 1003.01(18) s. 1003.01(13).
685 Section 11. Paragraph (d) of subsection (3) of section
686 1002.3105, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
687 1002.3105 Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance
688 Learning (ACCEL) options.—
689 (3) STUDENT ELIGIBILITY CONSIDERATIONS.—When establishing
690 student eligibility requirements, principals and school
691 districts must consider, at a minimum:
692 (d) Recommendations from one or more of the student’s
693 teachers in core-curricula courses as defined in s. 1003.01 s.
695 Section 12. Paragraph (a) of subsection (20) of section
696 1002.33, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
697 1002.33 Charter schools.—
698 (20) SERVICES.—
699 (a)1. A sponsor shall provide certain administrative and
700 educational services to charter schools. These services shall
701 include contract management services; full-time equivalent and
702 data reporting services; exceptional student education
703 administration services; services related to eligibility and
704 reporting duties required to ensure that school lunch services
705 under the National School Lunch Program, consistent with the
706 needs of the charter school, are provided by the school district
707 at the request of the charter school, that any funds due to the
708 charter school under the National School Lunch Program be paid
709 to the charter school as soon as the charter school begins
710 serving food under the National School Lunch Program, and that
711 the charter school is paid at the same time and in the same
712 manner under the National School Lunch Program as other public
713 schools serviced by the sponsor or the school district; test
714 administration services, including payment of the costs of
715 state-required or district-required student assessments;
716 processing of teacher certificate data services; and information
717 services, including equal access to student information systems
718 that are used by public schools in the district in which the
719 charter school is located. Student performance data for each
720 student in a charter school, including, but not limited to, FCAT
721 scores, standardized test scores, previous public school student
722 report cards, and student performance measures, shall be
723 provided by the sponsor to a charter school in the same manner
724 provided to other public schools in the district.
725 2. A sponsor may withhold an administrative fee for the
726 provision of such services which shall be a percentage of the
727 available funds defined in paragraph (17)(b) calculated based on
728 weighted full-time equivalent students. If the charter school
729 serves 75 percent or more exceptional education students as
730 defined in s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(3), the percentage shall be
731 calculated based on unweighted full-time equivalent students.
732 The administrative fee shall be calculated as follows:
733 a. Up to 5 percent for:
734 (I) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
735 charter school as defined in this section.
736 (II) Enrollment of up to and including 500 students within
737 a charter school system which meets all of the following:
738 (A) Includes conversion charter schools and nonconversion
739 charter schools.
740 (B) Has all of its schools located in the same county.
741 (C) Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment
742 of at least one school district in the state.
743 (D) Has the same governing board for all of its schools.
744 (E) Does not contract with a for-profit service provider
745 for management of school operations.
746 (III) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
747 virtual charter school.
748 b. Up to 2 percent for enrollment of up to and including
749 250 students in a high-performing charter school as defined in
750 s. 1002.331.
751 3. A sponsor may not charge charter schools any additional
752 fees or surcharges for administrative and educational services
753 in addition to the maximum percentage of administrative fees
754 withheld pursuant to this paragraph.
755 4. A sponsor shall provide to the department by September
756 15 of each year the total amount of funding withheld from
757 charter schools pursuant to this subsection for the prior fiscal
758 year. The department must include the information in the report
759 required under sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
760 Section 13. Paragraph (h) of subsection (5) and paragraph
761 (a) of subsection (11) of section 1002.385, Florida Statutes,
762 are amended to read:
763 1002.385 The Gardiner Scholarship.—
764 (5) AUTHORIZED USES OF PROGRAM FUNDS.—Program funds must be
765 used to meet the individual educational needs of an eligible
766 student and may be spent for the following purposes:
767 (h) Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services
768 provided by a person who holds a valid Florida educator’s
769 certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56; a person who holds an
770 adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; a person
771 who has a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in the subject
772 area in which instruction is given; or a person who has
773 demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant to s.
774 1012.56(5). As used in this paragraph, the term “part-time
775 tutoring services” does not qualify as regular school attendance
776 as defined in s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(13)(e).
778 A provider of any services receiving payments pursuant to this
779 subsection may not share, refund, or rebate any moneys from the
780 Gardiner Scholarship with the parent or participating student in
781 any manner. A parent, student, or provider of any services may
782 not bill an insurance company, Medicaid, or any other agency for
783 the same services that are paid for using Gardiner Scholarship
785 (11) PARENT AND STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM
786 PARTICIPATION.—A parent who applies for program participation
787 under this section is exercising his or her parental option to
788 determine the appropriate placement or the services that best
789 meet the needs of his or her child. The scholarship award for a
790 student is based on a matrix that assigns the student to support
791 Level III services. If a parent receives an IEP and a matrix of
792 services from the school district pursuant to subsection (7),
793 the amount of the payment shall be adjusted as needed, when the
794 school district completes the matrix.
795 (a) To satisfy or maintain program eligibility, including
796 eligibility to receive and spend program payments, the parent
797 must sign an agreement with the organization and annually submit
798 a notarized, sworn compliance statement to the organization to:
799 1. Affirm that the student is enrolled in a program that
800 meets regular school attendance requirements as provided in s.
801 1003.01(18)(b)-(d) s. 1003.01(13)(b)-(d).
802 2. Affirm that the program funds are used only for
803 authorized purposes serving the student’s educational needs, as
804 described in subsection (5).
805 3. Affirm that the parent is responsible for the education
806 of his or her student by, as applicable:
807 a. Requiring the student to take an assessment in
808 accordance with paragraph (8)(b);
809 b. Providing an annual evaluation in accordance with s.
810 1002.41(1)(f); or
811 c. Requiring the child to take any preassessments and
812 postassessments selected by the provider if the child is 4 years
813 of age and is enrolled in a program provided by an eligible
814 Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program provider. A student
815 with disabilities for whom a preassessment and postassessment is
816 not appropriate is exempt from this requirement. A participating
817 provider shall report a student’s scores to the parent.
818 4. Affirm that the student remains in good standing with
819 the provider or school if those options are selected by the
822 A parent who fails to comply with this subsection forfeits the
823 Gardiner Scholarship.
824 Section 14. Subsection (7) of section 1002.42, Florida
825 Statutes, is amended to read:
826 1002.42 Private schools.—
827 (7) ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS.—Attendance of a student at a
828 private, parochial, religious, or denominational school
829 satisfies the attendance requirements of ss. 1003.01(18) ss.
830 1003.01(13) and 1003.21(1).
831 Section 15. Subsection (1) of section 1002.43, Florida
832 Statutes, is amended to read:
833 1002.43 Private tutoring programs.—
834 (1) Regular school attendance as defined in s. 1003.01 s.
835 1003.01(13) may be achieved by attendance in a private tutoring
836 program if the person tutoring the student meets the following
838 (a) Holds a valid Florida certificate to teach the subjects
839 or grades in which instruction is given.
840 (b) Keeps all records and makes all reports required by the
841 state and district school board and makes regular reports on the
842 attendance of students in accordance with the provisions of s.
844 (c) Requires students to be in actual attendance for the
845 minimum length of time prescribed by s. 1011.60(2).
846 Section 16. Subsection (6) of section 1003.03, Florida
847 Statutes, is amended to read:
848 1003.03 Maximum class size.—
849 (6) COURSES FOR COMPLIANCE.—Consistent with s. 1003.01(4)
850 s. 1003.01(14), the Department of Education shall identify from
851 the Course Code Directory the core-curricula courses for the
852 purpose of satisfying the maximum class size requirement in this
853 section. The department may adopt rules to implement this
854 subsection, if necessary.
855 Section 17. Subsection (4) of section 1003.21, Florida
856 Statutes, is amended to read:
857 1003.21 School attendance.—
858 (4) Before admitting a child to kindergarten, the principal
859 shall require evidence that the child has attained the age at
860 which he or she should be admitted in accordance with the
861 provisions of subparagraph (1)(a)2. The district school
862 superintendent may require evidence of the age of any child who
863 is being enrolled in public school and who the district school
864 superintendent believes to be within the limits of compulsory
865 attendance as provided for by law; however, the district school
866 superintendent may not require evidence from any child who meets
867 regular attendance requirements by attending a school or program
868 listed in s. 1003.01(18)(b)-(e) s. 1003.01(13)(b)-(e). If the
869 first prescribed evidence is not available, the next evidence
870 obtainable in the order set forth below shall be accepted:
871 (a) A duly attested transcript of the child’s birth record
872 filed according to law with a public officer charged with the
873 duty of recording births;
874 (b) A duly attested transcript of a certificate of baptism
875 showing the date of birth and place of baptism of the child,
876 accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the parent;
877 (c) An insurance policy on the child’s life that has been
878 in force for at least 2 years;
879 (d) A bona fide contemporary religious record of the
880 child’s birth accompanied by an affidavit sworn to by the
882 (e) A passport or certificate of arrival in the United
883 States showing the age of the child;
884 (f) A transcript of record of age shown in the child’s
885 school record of at least 4 years prior to application, stating
886 date of birth; or
887 (g) If none of these evidences can be produced, an
888 affidavit of age sworn to by the parent, accompanied by a
889 certificate of age signed by a public health officer or by a
890 public school physician, or, if these are not available in the
891 county, by a licensed practicing physician designated by the
892 district school board, which states that the health officer or
893 physician has examined the child and believes that the age as
894 stated in the affidavit is substantially correct. Children and
895 youths who are experiencing homelessness and children who are
896 known to the department, as defined in s. 39.0016, shall be
897 given temporary exemption from this section for 30 school days.
898 Section 18. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section
899 1003.4282, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
900 1003.4282 Requirements for a standard high school diploma.—
901 (1) TWENTY-FOUR CREDITS REQUIRED.—
902 (b) The required credits may be earned through equivalent,
903 applied, or integrated courses or career education courses as
904 defined in s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(4), including work-related
905 internships approved by the State Board of Education and
906 identified in the course code directory. However, any must-pass
907 assessment requirements must be met. An equivalent course is one
908 or more courses identified by content-area experts as being a
909 match to the core curricular content of another course, based
910 upon review of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for
911 that subject. An applied course aligns with Next Generation
912 Sunshine State Standards and includes real-world applications of
913 a career and technical education standard used in business or
914 industry. An integrated course includes content from several
915 courses within a content area or across content areas.
916 Section 19. Subsection (4) of section 1003.52, Florida
917 Statutes, is amended to read:
918 1003.52 Educational services in Department of Juvenile
919 Justice programs.—
920 (4) Educational services shall be provided at times of the
921 day most appropriate for the juvenile justice program. School
922 programming in juvenile justice detention, prevention, day
923 treatment, and residential programs shall be made available by
924 the local school district during the juvenile justice school
925 year, as provided in s. 1003.01(16) s. 1003.01(11). In addition,
926 students in juvenile justice education programs shall have
927 access to courses offered pursuant to ss. 1002.37, 1002.45, and
928 1003.498. The Department of Education and the school districts
929 shall adopt policies necessary to provide such access.
930 Section 20. Section 1003.575, Florida Statutes, is amended
931 to read:
932 1003.575 Assistive technology devices; findings;
933 interagency agreements.—Accessibility, utilization, and
934 coordination of appropriate assistive technology devices and
935 services are essential as a young person with disabilities moves
936 from early intervention to preschool, from preschool to school,
937 from one school to another, from school to employment or
938 independent living, and from school to home and community. If an
939 individual education plan team makes a recommendation in
940 accordance with State Board of Education rule for a student with
941 a disability, as defined in s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(3), to receive
942 an assistive technology assessment, that assessment must be
943 completed within 60 school days after the team’s recommendation.
944 To ensure that an assistive technology device issued to a young
945 person as part of his or her individualized family support plan,
946 individual support plan, individualized plan for employment, or
947 individual education plan remains with the individual through
948 such transitions, the following agencies shall enter into
949 interagency agreements, as appropriate, to ensure the
950 transaction of assistive technology devices:
951 (1) The Early Steps Program in the Division of Children’s
952 Medical Services of the Department of Health.
953 (2) The Division of Blind Services, the Bureau of
954 Exceptional Education and Student Services, the Office of
955 Independent Education and Parental Choice, and the Division of
956 Vocational Rehabilitation of the Department of Education.
957 (3) The Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program
958 administered by the Department of Education and the Office of
959 Early Learning.
961 Interagency agreements entered into pursuant to this section
962 shall provide a framework for ensuring that young persons with
963 disabilities and their families, educators, and employers are
964 informed about the utilization and coordination of assistive
965 technology devices and services that may assist in meeting
966 transition needs, and shall establish a mechanism by which a
967 young person or his or her parent may request that an assistive
968 technology device remain with the young person as he or she
969 moves through the continuum from home to school to postschool.
970 Section 21. Paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of section
971 1006.07, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
972 1006.07 District school board duties relating to student
973 discipline and school safety.—The district school board shall
974 provide for the proper accounting for all students, for the
975 attendance and control of students at school, and for proper
976 attention to health, safety, and other matters relating to the
977 welfare of students, including:
978 (2) CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT.—Adopt a code of student
979 conduct for elementary schools and a code of student conduct for
980 middle and high schools and distribute the appropriate code to
981 all teachers, school personnel, students, and parents, at the
982 beginning of every school year. Each code shall be organized and
983 written in language that is understandable to students and
984 parents and shall be discussed at the beginning of every school
985 year in student classes, school advisory council meetings, and
986 parent and teacher association or organization meetings. Each
987 code shall be based on the rules governing student conduct and
988 discipline adopted by the district school board and shall be
989 made available in the student handbook or similar publication.
990 Each code shall include, but is not limited to:
991 (d)1. An explanation of the responsibilities of each
992 student with regard to appropriate dress, respect for self and
993 others, and the role that appropriate dress and respect for self
994 and others has on an orderly learning environment. Each district
995 school board shall adopt a dress code policy that prohibits a
996 student, while on the grounds of a public school during the
997 regular school day, from wearing clothing that exposes underwear
998 or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner or that disrupts
999 the orderly learning environment.
1000 2. Any student who violates the dress policy described in
1001 subparagraph 1. is subject to the following disciplinary
1003 a. For a first offense, a student shall be given a verbal
1004 warning and the school principal shall call the student’s parent
1005 or guardian.
1006 b. For a second offense, the student is ineligible to
1007 participate in any extracurricular activity for a period of time
1008 not to exceed 5 days and the school principal shall meet with
1009 the student’s parent or guardian.
1010 c. For a third or subsequent offense, a student shall
1011 receive an in-school suspension pursuant to s. 1003.01 s.
1012 1003.01(5) for a period not to exceed 3 days, the student is
1013 ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activity for a
1014 period not to exceed 30 days, and the school principal shall
1015 call the student’s parent or guardian and send the parent or
1016 guardian a written letter regarding the student’s in-school
1017 suspension and ineligibility to participate in extracurricular
1019 Section 22. Subsection (5) of section 1008.24, Florida
1020 Statutes, is amended to read:
1021 1008.24 Test administration and security; public records
1023 (5) Exceptional students with disabilities, as defined in
1024 s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(3), shall have access to testing sites.
1025 The Department of Education and each school district shall adopt
1026 policies that are necessary to ensure such access.
1027 Section 23. Paragraph (c) of subsection (6) of section
1028 1012.2315, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1029 1012.2315 Assignment of teachers.—
1030 (6) ASSIGNMENT OF TEACHERS BASED UPON PERFORMANCE
1032 (c) For a student enrolling in an extracurricular course as
1033 defined in s. 1003.01 s. 1003.01(15), a parent may choose to
1034 have the student taught by a teacher who received a performance
1035 evaluation of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” in the
1036 preceding school year if the student and the student’s parent
1037 receive an explanation of the impact of teacher effectiveness on
1038 student learning and the principal receives written consent from
1039 the parent.
1040 Section 24. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.