Florida Senate - 2014 CS for SB 1528 By the Committee on Education; and Senator Bradley 581-03180-14 20141528c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to charter schools; amending s. 3 1002.33, F.S.; authorizing contract disputes to be 4 referred to the Division of Administrative Hearings 5 for summary final order; requiring a charter school to 6 request that withdrawing students or parents of 7 withdrawing students complete a survey; requiring a 8 charter school to annually report information 9 concerning why students leave the charter school to 10 its sponsor and the Department of Education; providing 11 that a charter school may only discipline students for 12 the grounds and in the manner specified in the code of 13 student conduct; providing an effective date. 14 15 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 16 17 Section 1. Paragraph (h) of subsection (6) and paragraph 18 (g) of subsection (10) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are 19 amended, to read: 20 1002.33 Charter schools.— 21 (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school 22 applications are subject to the following requirements: 23 (h)1. The terms and conditions for the operation of a 24 charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the 25 applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter. 26 The sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations 27 that violate the intent of giving charter schools greater 28 flexibility to meet educational goals. The sponsor has 30 days 29 after approval of the application to provide an initial proposed 30 charter contract to the charter school. The applicant and the 31 sponsor have 40 days thereafter to negotiate and notice the 32 charter contract for final approval by the sponsor unless both 33 parties agree to an extension. The proposed charter contract 34 shall be provided to the charter school at least 7 calendar days 35 prior to the date of the meeting at which the charter is 36 scheduled to be voted upon by the sponsor. 37 2. The Department of Education shall provide mediation 38 services for any dispute regarding this section subsequent to 39 the approval of a charter application and for any dispute 40 relating to the approved charter, except disputes regarding 41 charter school application denials. 42 3. If the Commissioner of Education determines that a
the43 dispute cannot be settled through mediation, or if the sponsor 44 or charter school requests to bypass mediation, a thedispute 45 must be immediately forwarded may be appealedto an 46 administrative law judge appointed by the Division of 47 Administrative Hearings. 48 a. The administrative law judge must issue a summary final 49 order for a dispute regarding language to be included in the 50 initial charter contract. The administrative law judge may 51 consider all documents determined necessary by the 52 administrative law judge to issue the summary final order. The 53 administrative law judge must hold at least one conference with 54 the parties to discuss the dispute, and may require other 55 proceedings only if determined necessary by the administrative 56 law judge. The summary final order must consist of a summary of 57 the facts and law, the position of the charter school and 58 sponsor, the administrative law judge’s disposition of the 59 dispute and supporting rationale, and may include other 60 information if determined necessary by the administrative law 61 judge. The administrative law judge’s summary final order must 62 be issued within 30 days of receipt of the referral of the 63 dispute from the Commissioner of Education. 64 b. The administrative law judge has final order authority 65 to rule on issues of equitable treatment of the charter school 66 as a public school, whether proposed provisions of thecharter 67 renewals or amendments violate the intended flexibility granted 68 charter schools by statute, or on any other matter regarding 69 this section except a charter school application denial, a 70 charter termination, or a charter nonrenewal. 71 c. The administrative law judge’s summary final order or 72 final order pursuant to this subparagraph andshall award the 73 prevailing party reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred 74 to be paid by the losing party. The costs of the administrative 75 hearing shall be paid by the party whom the administrative law 76 judge rules against. 77 (10) ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.— 78 (g)1. A student may withdraw from a charter school at any 79 time and enroll in another public school as determined by 80 district school board rule. A charter school must request, but 81 may not require, that the student withdrawing or parent of the 82 student withdrawing complete a survey and provide information 83 concerning the student’s experiences at the charter school and 84 reasons for withdrawal. A charter school must provide in its 85 annual report to its sponsor and the Department of Education the 86 total number of students that leave the charter school and the 87 reason for leaving the charter school, including but not limited 88 to, withdrawal, suspension, and dismissal, if known. 89 2. A student may only receive disciplinary action, 90 including but not limited to suspension or dismissal, for the 91 grounds and in the manner specified in the charter school’s code 92 of student conduct. 93 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.