HB 831

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to virtual instruction for students
3with disabilities; amending s. 1002.321, F.S.;
4providing that digital learning should provide access
5to online courses with reasonable and allowable
6accommodations for using assistive technology;
7amending s. 1002.33, F.S.; requiring charter school
8applications to include a description of online
9courses with reasonable and allowable accommodations
10that will be used in reading instruction; including
11the use of assistive technology devices as a basis for
12the approval of a charter; amending s. 1002.45, F.S.;
13providing additional requirements for the approval of
14virtual instruction program providers by the
15Department of Education with respect to the offering
16of reasonable and allowable accommodations for
17students with disabilities; amending s. 1002.455,
18F.S.; providing that certain students with
19disabilities are eligible to participate in virtual
20instruction; providing an effective date.
22Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
24     Section 1.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
251002.321, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
26     1002.321  Digital learning.-
28Legislature finds that each student should have access to a
29high-quality digital learning environment that provides:
30     (b)  Access to high-quality digital content and online
31courses, including online courses with reasonable and allowable
32accommodations for using assistive technology.
33     Section 2.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (6) and paragraph
34(a) of subsection (7) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are
35amended to read:
36     1002.33  Charter schools.-
37     (6)  APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.-Charter school
38applications are subject to the following requirements:
39     (a)  A person or entity wishing to open a charter school
40shall prepare and submit an application on a model application
41form prepared by the Department of Education which:
42     1.  Demonstrates how the school will use the guiding
43principles and meet the statutorily defined purpose of a charter
45     2.  Provides a detailed curriculum plan that illustrates
46how students will be provided services to attain the Sunshine
47State Standards.
48     3.  Contains goals and objectives for improving student
49learning and measuring that improvement. These goals and
50objectives must indicate how much academic improvement students
51are expected to show each year, how success will be evaluated,
52and the specific results to be attained through instruction.
53     4.  Describes the reading curriculum, and differentiated
54strategies, and online courses with reasonable and allowable
55accommodations that will be used for students reading at grade
56level or higher and a separate curriculum and strategies and
57online courses with reasonable and allowable accommodations for
58students who are reading below grade level. A sponsor shall deny
59a charter if the school does not propose a reading curriculum
60that is consistent with effective teaching strategies that are
61grounded in scientifically based reading research.
62     5.  Contains an annual financial plan for each year
63requested by the charter for operation of the school for up to 5
64years. This plan must contain anticipated fund balances based on
65revenue projections, a spending plan based on projected revenues
66and expenses, and a description of controls that will safeguard
67finances and projected enrollment trends.
68     6.  Documents that the applicant has participated in the
69training required in subparagraph (f)2. A sponsor may require an
70applicant to provide additional information as an addendum to
71the charter school application described in this paragraph.
72     7.  For the establishment of a virtual charter school,
73documents that the applicant has contracted with a provider of
74virtual instruction services pursuant to s. 1002.45(1)(d).
75     (7)  CHARTER.-The major issues involving the operation of a
76charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
77the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing board
78of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
79hearing to ensure community input.
80     (a)  The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
81the charter shall be based on:
82     1.  The school's mission, the students to be served, and
83the ages and grades to be included.
84     2.  The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
85to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
86employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
87technologies, including assistive technology devices such as
88screen readers, keyboard-enabled interfaces and graphic
89elements, and open captions, needed to improve educational and
90administrative performance which include a means for promoting
91safe, ethical, and appropriate uses of technology which comply
92with legal and professional standards.
93     a.  The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary
94focus of the curriculum and that reasonable and allowable
95accommodations and resources are provided to identify and
96provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
97below grade level, including students with disabilities who have
98an individual education plan or a 504 accommodation plan issued
99under s. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The curriculum
100and instructional strategies for reading must be consistent with
101the Sunshine State Standards and grounded in scientifically
102based reading research.
103     b.  In order to provide students with access to diverse
104instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
105technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
106provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
10721st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
108methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
109traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
110Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
111combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
112instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full-
113time students of the charter school and receive the online
114instruction in a classroom setting at the charter school.
115Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s. 1012.55 who
116provide virtual instruction for blended learning courses may be
117employees of the charter school or may be under contract to
118provide instructional services to charter school students. At a
119minimum, such instructional personnel must hold an active state
120or school district adjunct certification under s. 1012.57 for
121the subject area of the blended learning course. The funding and
122performance accountability requirements for blended learning
123courses are the same as those for traditional courses.
124     3.  The current incoming baseline standard of student
125academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
126method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
127this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
128     a.  How the baseline student academic achievement levels
129and prior rates of academic progress will be established.
130     b.  How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
131academic progress achieved by these same students while
132attending the charter school.
133     c.  To the extent possible, how these rates of progress
134will be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
135closely comparable student populations.
137The district school board is required to provide academic
138student performance data to charter schools for each of their
139students coming from the district school system, as well as
140rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
141the district school system.
142     4.  The methods used to identify the educational strengths
143and needs of students and how well educational goals and
144performance standards are met by students attending the charter
145school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
146to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
147student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
148efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
149charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
150statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
151     5.  In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
152that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
153s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, or s. 1003.43.
154     6.  A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
155board of the charter school and the sponsor.
156     7.  The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
157including the school's code of student conduct.
158     8.  The ways by which the school will achieve a
159racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
160within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
161same school district.
162     9.  The financial and administrative management of the
163school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
164experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
165applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
166retained to perform such professional services and the
167description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
168policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
169school. A description of internal audit procedures and
170establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
171properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
172private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
173such a consideration.
174     10.  The asset and liability projections required in the
175application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
176compared with information provided in the annual report of the
177charter school.
178     11.  A description of procedures that identify various
179risks and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the
180impact of losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of
181students and staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect
182others from violent or disruptive student behavior; and the
183manner in which the school will be insured, including whether or
184not the school will be required to have liability insurance,
185and, if so, the terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of
187     12.  The term of the charter which shall provide for
188cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
189made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
190charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
191achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
192charter shall be for 4 or 5 years. In order to facilitate access
193to long-term financial resources for charter school
194construction, charter schools that are operated by a
195municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
196eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
197district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
198charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
199access to long-term financial resources for charter school
200construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
201not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
202up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the district
203school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to annual
204review and may be terminated during the term of the charter, but
205only according to the provisions set forth in subsection (8).
206     13.  The facilities to be used and their location.
207     14.  The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
208the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
209retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
210     15.  The governance structure of the school, including the
211status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
212required in paragraph (12)(i).
213     16.  A timetable for implementing the charter which
214addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
215date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
217     17.  In the case of an existing public school that is being
218converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
219current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
220for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
221school after conversion in accordance with the existing
222collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
223the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
224alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
225teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
226as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
227which grants the charter to the lab school.
228     18.  Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
229employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
230school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
231directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
232assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
233school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
234purpose of this subparagraph, the term "relative" means father,
235mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
236cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-
237law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
238stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
239stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
240     19.  Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
2411002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
242requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high-
243performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
244March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
245levels the following school year. The written notice shall
246specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
247levels that will be added, as applicable.
248     Section 3.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
2491002.45, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
250     1002.45  Virtual instruction programs.-
252     (a)  The department shall annually publish online a list of
253providers approved to offer virtual instruction programs. To be
254approved by the department, a provider must document that it:
255     1.  Is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies,
256employment practices, and operations;
257     2.  Complies with the antidiscrimination provisions of s.
259     3.  Locates an administrative office or offices in this
260state, requires its administrative staff to be state residents,
261requires all instructional staff to be Florida-certified
262teachers under chapter 1012, and conducts background screenings
263for all employees or contracted personnel, as required by s.
2641012.32, using state and national criminal history records;
265     4.  Possesses prior, successful experience offering online
266courses, including online courses with reasonable and allowable
267accommodations for students with disabilities, to elementary,
268middle, or high school students as demonstrated by quantified
269student learning gains in each subject area and grade level
270provided for consideration as an instructional program option;
271     5.  Is accredited by a regional accrediting association as
272defined by State Board of Education rule;
273     6.  Ensures instructional and curricular quality through a
274detailed curriculum, reasonable and allowable accommodations for
275students with disabilities, and a student performance
276accountability plan that addresses every subject and grade level
277it intends to provide through contract with the school district,
279     a.  Courses and programs that meet the standards of the
280International Association for K-12 Online Learning and the
281Southern Regional Education Board.
282     b.  Instructional content and services that align with, and
283measure student attainment of, student proficiency in the Next
284Generation Sunshine State Standards.
285     c.  Mechanisms that determine and ensure that a student has
286satisfied requirements for grade level promotion and high school
287graduation with a standard diploma, as appropriate;
288     7.  Publishes for the general public, in accordance with
289disclosure requirements adopted in rule by the State Board of
290Education, as part of its application as a provider and in all
291contracts negotiated pursuant to this section:
292     a.  Information and data about the curriculum of each full-
293time and part-time program.
294     b.  School policies and procedures.
295     c.  Certification status and physical location of all
296administrative and instructional personnel.
297     d.  Hours and times of availability of instructional
299     e.  Student-teacher ratios.
300     f.  Student completion and promotion rates.
301     g.  Student, educator, and school performance
302accountability outcomes; and
303     8.  If the provider is a Florida College System
304institution, employs instructors who meet the certification
305requirements for instructional staff under chapter 1012.
306     Section 4.  Subsection (2) of section 1002.455, Florida
307Statutes, is amended to read:
308     1002.455  Student eligibility for K-12 virtual
310     (2)  A student is eligible to participate in virtual
311instruction if:
312     (a)  The student spent the prior school year in attendance
313at a public school in the state and was enrolled and reported by
314the school district for funding during October and February for
315purposes of the Florida Education Finance Program surveys;
316     (b)  The student is a dependent child of a member of the
317United States Armed Forces who was transferred within the last
31812 months to this state from another state or from a foreign
319country pursuant to a permanent change of station order;
320     (c)  The student was enrolled during the prior school year
321in a virtual instruction program under s. 1002.45, the K-8
322Virtual School Program under s. 1002.415, or a full-time Florida
323Virtual School program under s. 1002.37(8)(a);
324     (d)  The student has a sibling who is currently enrolled in
325a virtual instruction program and the sibling was enrolled in
326that program at the end of the prior school year; or
327     (e)  The student is eligible to enter kindergarten or first
328grade; or
329     (f)  The student is a student with a disability who has an
330individual education plan or a 504 accommodation plan issued
331under s. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and who can
332access virtual instruction with reasonable and allowable
334     Section 5.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.