(1) A charter school is a high-performing charter school if it: (a) Received at least two school grades of “A” and no school grade below “B,” pursuant to s. 1008.34, during each of the previous 3 school years. (b) Received an unqualified opinion on each annual financial audit required under s. 218.39 in the most recent 3 fiscal years for which such audits are available. (c) Did not receive a financial audit that revealed one or more of the financial emergency conditions set forth in s. 218.503(1) in the most recent 3 fiscal years for which such audits are available. However, this requirement is deemed met for a charter school-in-the-workplace if there is a finding in an audit that the school has the monetary resources available to cover any reported deficiency or that the deficiency does not result in a deteriorating financial condition pursuant to s. 1002.345(1)(a)3.
A virtual charter school established under s. 1002.33 is not eligible for designation as a high-performing charter school.
(2) A high-performing charter school is authorized to:
(a) Increase its student enrollment once per school year to more than the capacity identified in the charter, but student enrollment may not exceed the current facility capacity.
(b) Expand grade levels within kindergarten through grade 12 to add grade levels not already served if any annual enrollment increase resulting from grade level expansion is within the limit established in paragraph (a).
(c) Submit a quarterly, rather than a monthly, financial statement to the sponsor pursuant to s. 1002.33(9)(g).
(d) Consolidate under a single charter the charters of multiple high-performing charter schools operated in the same school district by the charter schools’ governing board regardless of the renewal cycle.
(e) Receive a modification of its charter to a term of 15 years or a 15-year charter renewal. The charter may be modified or renewed for a shorter term at the option of the high-performing charter school. The charter must be consistent with s. 1002.33(7)(a)19. and (10)(h) and (i), is subject to annual review by the sponsor, and may be terminated during its term pursuant to s. 1002.33(8).
A high-performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade levels the following school year. The written notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade levels that will be added, as applicable. If a charter school notifies the sponsor of its intent to expand, the sponsor shall modify the charter within 90 days to include the new enrollment maximum and may not make any other changes. The sponsor may deny a request to increase the enrollment of a high-performing charter school if the commissioner has declassified the charter school as high-performing. If a high-performing charter school requests to consolidate multiple charters, the sponsor shall have 40 days after receipt of that request to provide an initial draft charter to the charter school. The sponsor and charter school shall have 50 days thereafter to negotiate and notice the charter contract for final approval by the sponsor.
(3)(a) A high-performing charter school may submit an application pursuant to s. 1002.33(6) in any school district in the state to establish and operate a new charter school that will substantially replicate its educational program. An application submitted by a high-performing charter school must state that the application is being submitted pursuant to this paragraph and must include the verification letter provided by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (5). If the sponsor fails to act on the application within 60 days after receipt, the application is deemed approved and the procedure in s. 1002.33(6)(h) applies. If the sponsor denies the application, the high-performing charter school may appeal pursuant to s. 1002.33(6).
(b) A high-performing charter school may not establish more than one charter school within the state under paragraph (a) in any year. A subsequent application to establish a charter school under paragraph (a) may not be submitted unless each charter school established in this manner achieves high-performing charter school status.
(4) A high-performing charter school may not increase enrollment or expand grade levels following any school year in which it receives a school grade of “C” or below. If the charter school receives a school grade of “C” or below in any 2 years during the term of the charter awarded under subsection (2), the term of the charter may be modified by the sponsor and the charter school loses its high-performing charter school status until it regains that status under subsection (1).
(5) The Commissioner of Education, upon request by a charter school, shall verify that the charter school meets the criteria in subsection (1) and provide a letter to the charter school and the sponsor stating that the charter school is a high-performing charter school pursuant to this section. The commissioner shall annually determine whether a high-performing charter school under subsection (1) continues to meet the criteria in that subsection. Such high-performing charter school shall maintain its high-performing status unless the commissioner determines that the charter school no longer meets the criteria in subsection (1), at which time the commissioner shall send a letter providing notification of its declassification as a high-performing charter school.
(6) A high-performing charter school replicated under this section may not be replicated as a virtual charter school.