The report shall also include, to the extent possible, a comparison of scholarship students’ performance to the statewide student performance of public school students with socioeconomic backgrounds similar to those of students participating in the scholarship program. The department shall approve tax credits on a first-come, first-served basis and must obtain the division’s approval prior to approving a tax credit under s. 561.1211. (a)1.) 2014-19; s. 17, ch. (2.) participating in the scholarship program under this section shall may annually increase by 1.0 0.25 percent of the state’s total public school student enrollment. Florida Income-Based Flyer . (e)() Within any state fiscal year, a taxpayer may rescind all or part of a tax credit approved under paragraph (b). 1 Educ. s. 99.12, of a participating student, the state university may reduce the participating-student cell size, but the cell size must not be reduced to less than 10 participating students. The amount of the surety bond or letter of credit must be at least $100,000, but not more than $25 million. However, the report notes that the state’s savings is dependent on a proper balance between the cap on the tax credit and the number of qualified students participating in the program. 2009-239; s. 1, ch. Enable taxpayers to make private, voluntary contributions to nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations in order to promote the general welfare. (g)() May not restrict or reserve scholarships for use at a particular private school or provide scholarships to a child of an owner or operator. In consultation with the Department of Revenue and the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice shall review the application. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is established. Must participate in a joint review of the agreed-upon procedures and guidelines developed under sub-subparagraph a., by February 2013 and biennially thereafter, if the scholarship-funding organization provided more than $250,000 in scholarship funds to an eligible private school under this section during the state fiscal year preceding the biennial review. (d)() Each parent and each student has an obligation to the private school to comply with the private school’s published policies. Upon receipt of a request referred pursuant to this paragraph, the director of the Division of Administrative Hearings shall expedite the hearing and assign an administrative law judge who shall commence a hearing within 30 days after the receipt of the formal written request by the division and enter a recommended order within 30 days after the hearing or within 30 days after receipt of the hearing transcript, whichever is later. A sibling of a student who is participating in the scholarship program under this subsection is eligible for a scholarship if the student resides in the same household as the sibling. Students with disabilities for whom standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this requirement. If the procedures and guidelines are revised, the revisions must be provided to private schools and the Commissioner of Education by March 15, 2013, and biennially thereafter. Florida Property Tax: Florida Property Tax is based on market value as of January 1st that year. (14) DEPOSITS OF ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS.—All eligible contributions received by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall be deposited in a manner consistent with s. 17.57(2). 45, No. (11) COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—. Improve the quality of education in this state, both by expanding educational opportunities for children and by creating incentives for schools to achieve excellence. (c)() If a tax credit approved under paragraph (b) is not fully used within the specified state fiscal year for credits under s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, or s. 561.1211 or against taxes due for the specified taxable year for credits under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055 because of insufficient tax liability on the part of the taxpayer, the unused amount may be carried forward for a period not to exceed 3 years. The parent must inform the child’s school district when the parent withdraws his or her child to attend an eligible private school. Must comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. (3.) Florida provides a tax credit on corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes for donations to scholarship-funding organizations (SFOs), nonprofits that provide scholarships for low-income students and children in foster care and offer funds for transportation to public schools outside a child’s district. If the parent chooses that his or her child attend an eligible private school, the warrant must be delivered by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization to the private school of the parent’s choice, and the parent shall restrictively endorse the warrant to the private school. 59 (2014). The agreed-upon procedures must uniformly apply to all private schools and must determine, at a minimum, whether the private school has been verified as eligible by the Department of Education under s. Must participate in a joint review of the agreed-upon procedures and guidelines developed under sub-subparagraph a., by February of each biennium, if the scholarship-funding organization provided more than $250,000 in scholarship funds to an eligible private school under this chapter during the state fiscal year preceding the biennial review. (k)() With the prior approval of the Department of Education, may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization if additional funds are required to meet scholarship demand at the receiving nonprofit scholarship-funding organization. (c.) Must monitor the compliance of a private school with paragraph (8)(e) if the scholarship-funding organization provided the majority of the scholarship funding to the school. 5 Section 1002.395(3)(a), Florida Statutes. An imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the students; or. The audit also included 2010-24; s. 4, ch. (c)() Must not have an owner or operator who owns or operates an eligible private school that is participating in the scholarship program. Improve the quality of education in this state, both by expanding educational opportunities for children and by creating incentives for schools to achieve excellence. Tax Credit Scholarship Programs: A Model Statute for a Better Program. Any amounts carried forward shall be expended for annual or partial-year scholarships in the following state fiscal year. The value of the credit is 100 percent of the donation made. 2003-391; s. 16, ch. It has the inherent power to determine subjects of taxation for general or particular public purposes. Emails & Opinions Manny Diaz Jr.: Florida Tax Credit Scholarship is a lifesaver for families, vulnerable students. (b)() Must comply with the following background check requirements: (1.) Audit reports must be provided to the Auditor General and the Department of Education within 180 days after completion of the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization’s fiscal year. (e)() Must give priority to eligible students who received a scholarship from an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or from the State of Florida during the previous school year. However, any taxpayer that seeks to carry forward an unused amount of tax credit must submit an application to the department for approval of the carryforward tax credit in the year that the taxpayer intends to use the carryforward. Except as provided in subparagraph 2., the amount of a scholarship provided to any student for any single school year by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization from eligible contributions shall be for total costs authorized under paragraph (6)(d), not to exceed annual limits, which shall be determined as follows: (a.) Notwithstanding s. 1002.22, in incidents of alleged fraudulent activity pursuant to this section, the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General is authorized to release personally identifiable records or reports of students to the following persons or organizations: (a.) (c)() Household income for purposes of a student who is currently in foster care as defined in s. 39.01 shall consist only of the income that may be considered in determining whether he or she qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunches under the National School Lunch Act. Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization of any of the organization’s identified students who are receiving tax credit scholarships from other eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations. “Division” means the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. (LSI) s. 1232g. “(1) The Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed to be met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of administering the provisions of this act. Does my child qualify? In making this determination, the commissioner may consider factors that include, but are not limited to, acts or omissions by an owner or operator that led to a previous denial or revocation of participation in an education scholarship program; an owner’s or operator’s failure to reimburse the Department of Education for scholarship funds improperly received or retained by a school; imposition of a prior criminal or civil administrative sanction related to an owner’s or operator’s management or operation of an educational institution; or other types of criminal proceedings in which the owner or operator was found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or moral turpitude. The annual report must include student performance for each participating private school in which at least 51 percent of the total enrolled students in the private school participated in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program in the prior school year. NONPROFIT SCHOLARSHIP-FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS; APPLICATION. Expanding educational opportunities and improving the quality of educational services within the state are valid public purposes that the Legislature may promote using its sovereign power to determine subjects of taxation and exemptions from taxation. (4) SCHOLARSHIP PROHIBITIONS.—A student is not eligible for a scholarship while he or she is: (a)() Enrolled in a school operating for the purpose of providing educational services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice commitment programs; (b)() Receiving a scholarship from another eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization under this section; (c)() Receiving an educational scholarship pursuant to chapter 1002; (d)() Participating in a home education program as defined in s. 1002.01(1); (e)() Participating in a private tutoring program pursuant to s. 1002.43; (f)() Participating in a virtual school, correspondence school, or distance learning program that receives state funding pursuant to the student’s participation unless the participation is limited to no more than two courses per school year; or. (g)() “Eligible private school” means a private school, as defined in s. 1002.01(2), located in Florida which offers an education to students in any grades K-12 and that meets the requirements in subsection (8). The Effects of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program on College Enrollment and Graduation: An Update @inproceedings{Kuehn2019TheEO, title={The Effects of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program on College Enrollment and … “(1) The Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed to be met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of administering the provisions of this act relating to the Hope Scholarship Program … A private school subject to this paragraph must submit the report by September 15, 2011, and annually thereafter to the scholarship-funding organization that awarded the majority of the school’s scholarship funds. s. 1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and shall be for the sole purpose of creating the annual report required by subparagraph 1. 2015-2; s. 37, ch. An organization that chooses not to participate for 1 year or more or is disapproved to participate for 1 year or more must submit an application for initial approval in order to participate in the program again. (4.) The Family Empowerment Scholarship may be used towards private school tuition and fees. If the parent requests that the student participating in the scholarship program take statewide assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22, the parent is responsible for transporting the student to the assessment site designated by the school district. Florida Tax Credit Scholarships are available to help lower-income families send their students to a participating private school or to cover transportation costs to attend a different public school in another school district. (1.) The amount of the surety bond or letter of credit may be adjusted quarterly to equal the actual amount of undisbursed funds based upon submission by the organization of a statement from a certified public accountant verifying the amount of undisbursed funds. Tax credit for contributions to scholarship granting organization; limitations on amount of credits; carry over of unused credits: Featured Attorneys. Actions. If an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization requests a special communication to be issued to households within the district receiving free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act, the organization shall reimburse the district for the cost of postage. Enable children in this state to achieve a greater level of excellence in their education. With the prior approval of the Department of Education, may transfer funds to another eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization if additional funds are required to meet scholarship demand at the receiving nonprofit scholarship-funding organization. (i)1.) Conduct random site visits to private schools participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall ensure that the parent to whom the warrant is made restrictively endorsed the warrant to the private school for deposit into the account of the private school. 2008-241; s. 2, ch. If a tax credit approved under paragraph (b) is not fully used within the specified state fiscal year for credits under s. A taxpayer may not convey, assign, or transfer an approved tax credit or a carryforward tax credit to another entity unless all of the assets of the taxpayer are conveyed, assigned, or transferred in the same transaction. Provision of any required assistance, monitoring, or investigation at a private school. Require quarterly reports by an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization regarding the number of students participating in the scholarship program, the private schools at which the students are enrolled, and other information deemed necessary by the Department of Education. Must comply with the following background check requirements: All owners and operators as defined in subparagraph (2)(i)1. are, before employment or engagement to provide services, subject to level 2 background screening as provided under chapter 435. Effective Date: July 1, 2018 top. (15) PRESERVATION OF CREDIT.—If any provision or portion of this section, s. 211.0251, s. 212.1831, s. 220.1875, s. 561.1211, or s. 624.51055 or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held unconstitutional by any court or is otherwise declared invalid, the unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect any cre, s. 5, ch. Florida – Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. Must, before granting a scholarship for an academic year, document each scholarship student’s eligibility for that academic year. (2.) All owners and operators as defined in subparagraph (2)(h)1. are, upon employment or engagement to provide services, subject to level 2 background screening as provided under chapter 435. The rules must identify appropriate reporting requirements for fiscal, programmatic, and performance accountability purposes consistent with this section, but shall not exceed the requirements for eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations for charitable organizations. The Department of Education shall notify the organization in writing of any deficiencies within 30 days after receipt of the application and allow the organization 30 days to correct any deficiencies. 1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program was expanded in 2010 to serve more low-income students, making it both the largest and most accountable program of its type in the nation. An eligible student affected by the disapproval of an organization’s participation remains eligible under this section until the end of the school year in which the organization was disapproved. Must not have an owner or operator who owns or operates an eligible private school that is participating in the scholarship program. activities and management’s performance related to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) Program, the Gardiner Scholarship Program, the Hope ScholarshipProgram, and the Reading Scholarship Accounts, 1. including Step Up compliance with applicable laws and rules. (c)() Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting the educational needs of the student by: (1.) The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program: Repeals provisions relating to Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program; repeals provisions relating to credit for contributions to eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations. An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall ensure that the parent to whom the warrant is made restrictively endorsed the warrant to the private school for deposit into the account of the private school or that the parent has approved a funds transfer before any scholarship funds are deposited. If the fingerprints of an owner or operator are not retained by the Department of Law Enforcement under subparagraph 3., the owner or operator must electronically file a complete set of fingerprints with the Department of Law Enforcement. The statute that governs the Family Empowerment Scholarship that is also administered by Step Up For Students is Florida statute number 1002.394. The department must obtain the division’s approval prior to accepting the rescindment of a tax credit under s. Within 10 days after approving or denying the conveyance, transfer, or assignment of a tax credit under paragraph (d), or the rescindment of a tax credit under paragraph (e), the department shall provide a copy of its approval or denial letter to the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization specified by the taxpayer. The annual report must not disaggregate data to a level that will identify individual participating schools, except as required under sub-subparagraph 1.b., or disclose the academic level of individual students. For the 2018-2019 school year only, the joint review of the agreed-upon procedures must be completed and the revisions submitted to the commissioner no later than September 15, 2018. However, in instances in which the noncompliance is correctable within a reasonable amount of time and in which the health, safety, or welfare of the students is not threatened, the commissioner may issue a notice of noncompliance that shall provide the private school with a timeframe within which to provide evidence of compliance prior to taking action to suspend or revoke the private school’s participation in the scholarship program. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The cost of the background screening may be borne by the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or the owner or operator. (4.) The revised procedures are applicable to the 2018-2019 school year. Florida Tax Credit and Family Empowerment Scholarship Values (2020-21) **Updated 7/18/2020** Florida Handbook (Parent & Schools) List of Approved SFOs in Florida. (l)() Notify an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization of any of the organization’s identified students who are receiving tax credit scholarships from other eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations. Each parent and each student has an obligation to the private school to comply with the private school’s published policies. Parents want educational programs that empower them to choose the best setting to meet the learning needs of their children. (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of Education shall: (a)() Annually submit to the department and division, by March 15, a list of eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(f). The project grant award must be reissued in 2-year intervals in accordance with this paragraph. The Auditor General shall request any significant items that were omitted in violation of a rule adopted by the Auditor General. The provisions of this subparagraph may be waived upon stipulation by all parties. For 2013, Florida will place the fifth-lowest tax burden on its residents and businesses. The fingerprints for the background screening must be electronically submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement and can be taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or by an employee of the eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or a private company who is trained to take fingerprints. The rules must also require that the nonprofit scholarship-funding organization make a brief presentation to assist the State Board of Education in its decision. 2018-4; s. 20, ch. Complies with the provisions of subsection (6). 2015-222; s. 6, ch. The purpose of this section is not to prescribe the standards or curriculum for private schools. The Commissioner of Education may deny, suspend, or revoke a private school’s participation in the scholarship program if the commissioner determines that an owner or operator of the private school is operating or has operated an educational institution in this state or another state or jurisdiction in a manner contrary to the health, safety, or welfare of the public. No more than 25 percent of such net eligible contributions may be carried forward to the following state fiscal year. The department, the division, and the Department of Education shall develop a cooperative agreement to assist in the administration of this section. Under this bill, Florida’s newest private school voucher — the state-funded Family Empowerment Scholarship — would be merged with the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship … PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS. An application for initial approval must include: A copy of the organization’s incorporation documents and registration with the Division of Corporations of the Department of State. (a)1.) (3.) (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: (a)() “Annual tax credit amount” means, for any state fiscal year, the sum of the amount of tax credits approved under paragraph (5)(b), including tax credits to be taken under s. 220.1875 or s. 624.51055, which are approved for a taxpayer whose taxable year begins on or after January 1 of the calendar year preceding the start of the applicable state fiscal year. Application for Rescindment of Tax Credit Allocation for Contributions to Nonprofit Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs) (Under sections [ss. Promote the general welfare by expanding educational opportunities for children of families that have limited financial resources. Must monitor the compliance of a private school with s. A private school’s failure to submit a report required under s. Any material exceptions set forth in the report required under s. Must seek input from the accrediting associations that are members of the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools and the Department of Education when jointly developing the agreed-upon procedures and guidelines under sub-subparagraph 1.a. If the State Board of Education disapproves the organization’s application, it shall provide the organization with a written explanation of that determination. (d)() Annually verify the eligibility of expenditures as provided in paragraph (6)(d) using the audit required by paragraph (6)(l). (a)() The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is established. (8) PRIVATE SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY AND OBLIGATIONS.—An eligible private school may be sectarian or nonsectarian and must: (a)() Comply with all requirements for private schools participating in state school choice scholarship programs pursuant to s. 1002.421. (10) SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS; PARENTAL OPTIONS.—Upon the request of any eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, a school district shall inform all households within the district receiving free or reduced-priced meals under the National School Lunch Act of their eligibility to apply for a tax credit scholarship. 2002-218; s. 258, ch. In 1998, the Florida Legislature created the Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credit (VCTC) to encourage participants to conduct voluntary cleanup of certain drycleaning solvent contaminated sites and brownfield sites in designated brownfield areas. Tuition and fees for an eligible private school; or. (n)1.) Related Laws See more. Must expend for annual or partial-year scholarships an amount equal to or greater than 75 percent of the net eligible contributions remaining after administrative expenses during the state fiscal year in which such contributions are collected. Must maintain the surety bond or letter of credit required by subsection (15). 43/13 : Development 6A-6.0960 Here’s how it works. The annual limit for a scholarship under sub-subparagraph 1.a. Florida created the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship in 2001 to give low-income students one learning option that is not available to them because of their financial circumstances. A student who initially receives a scholarship based on eligibility under this paragraph remains eligible to participate until he or she graduates from high school or attains the age of 21 years, whichever occurs first, regardless of the student’s household income level. A court of competent jurisdiction in compliance with an order of that court or the attorney of record in accordance with a lawfully issued subpoena, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. A description of the organization’s financial plan that demonstrates sufficient funds to operate throughout the school year. The parent may also choose to have the student participate in the statewide assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22. Is a Florida entity formed under chapter 607, chapter 608, or chapter 617 and whose principal office is located in the state; and. University of Georgia School of Law. (4)(a) Property owned or issued by the State of Florida or any of its political subdivisions or municipalities. (c)() The commissioner may immediately suspend payment of scholarship funds if it is determined that there is probable cause to believe that there is: (1.) (3.) (h)() Cross-check the list of participating scholarship students with the public school enrollment lists to avoid duplication. Pursuant to the 2017 Florida Statutes, s. 1002.395(9)(j), LSI was designated as the independent research organization and was directed to conduct annual evaluations of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program beginning in the year 2014. 2019-23; s. 13, ch. shall be reduced by: (a.) “(1) The Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed to be met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of administering the provisions of this act relating to the Hope Scholarship Program and Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. 2004-5; s. 2, ch. The thirteenth in a series of reports, this evaluation is the of sixth those conducted by the Florida State , Learning Systems Institute University . (c)() An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization shall obtain verification from the private school of a student’s continued attendance at the school for each period covered by a scholarship payment. Any student participating in the scholarship program must remain in attendance throughout the school year unless excused by the school for illness or other good cause. Net eligible contributions remaining on June 30 of each year that are in excess of the 25 percent that may be carried forward shall be returned to the State Treasury for deposit in the General Revenue Fund. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship gives families a choice of assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or helps with transportation costs for a students to attend a public school other than the one assigned. An owner, president, officer, or director of an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization or a person with equivalent decisionmaking authority over an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization.