HB 903

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
31002.33, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made
4by the act relating to authorized activities of a
5high-performing charter school that is part of a high-
6performing charter school system; authorizing each
7district school board to share revenue generated by
8its capital outlay millage levy with charter schools
9on a per-student pro rata basis; providing for
10recalculation of a school district's Florida Education
11Finance Program allocation if the millage levy revenue
12is not shared; providing for distribution of
13recalculated funds; requiring payment to charter
14schools of certain federal funds received by a
15district school board; amending s. 1002.331, F.S.;
16revising requirements for designation as a high-
17performing charter school; revising the restriction on
18the establishment of new charter schools that
19replicate a high-performing charter school's
20educational program; amending s. 1002.332, F.S.;
21authorizing a high-performing charter school that is
22part of a high-performing charter school system to
23increase student enrollment, expand grade levels,
24submit quarterly financial statements, consolidate
25charters, and modify charter terms; providing an
26effective date.
28Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
30     Section 1.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (7), paragraph (g)
31of subsection (9), paragraphs (h) and (i) of subsection (10),
32and subsection (17) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are
33amended to read:
34     1002.33  Charter schools.-
35     (7)  CHARTER.-The major issues involving the operation of a
36charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
37the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing board
38of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
39hearing to ensure community input.
40     (a)  The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
41the charter shall be based on:
42     1.  The school's mission, the students to be served, and
43the ages and grades to be included.
44     2.  The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
45to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
46employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
47technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
48performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
49and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
50professional standards.
51     a.  The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary
52focus of the curriculum and that resources are provided to
53identify and provide specialized instruction for students who
54are reading below grade level. The curriculum and instructional
55strategies for reading must be consistent with the Sunshine
56State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
58     b.  In order to provide students with access to diverse
59instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
60technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
61provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
6221st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
63methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
64traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
65Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
66combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
67instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full-
68time students of the charter school and receive the online
69instruction in a classroom setting at the charter school.
70Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s. 1012.55 who
71provide virtual instruction for blended learning courses may be
72employees of the charter school or may be under contract to
73provide instructional services to charter school students. At a
74minimum, such instructional personnel must hold an active state
75or school district adjunct certification under s. 1012.57 for
76the subject area of the blended learning course. The funding and
77performance accountability requirements for blended learning
78courses are the same as those for traditional courses.
79     3.  The current incoming baseline standard of student
80academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
81method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
82this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
83     a.  How the baseline student academic achievement levels
84and prior rates of academic progress will be established.
85     b.  How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
86academic progress achieved by these same students while
87attending the charter school.
88     c.  To the extent possible, how these rates of progress
89will be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
90closely comparable student populations.
92The district school board is required to provide academic
93student performance data to charter schools for each of their
94students coming from the district school system, as well as
95rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
96the district school system.
97     4.  The methods used to identify the educational strengths
98and needs of students and how well educational goals and
99performance standards are met by students attending the charter
100school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
101to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
102student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
103efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
104charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
105statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
106     5.  In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
107that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
108s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, or s. 1003.43.
109     6.  A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
110board of the charter school and the sponsor.
111     7.  The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
112including the school's code of student conduct.
113     8.  The ways by which the school will achieve a
114racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
115within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
116same school district.
117     9.  The financial and administrative management of the
118school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
119experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
120applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
121retained to perform such professional services and the
122description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
123policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
124school. A description of internal audit procedures and
125establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
126properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
127private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
128such a consideration.
129     10.  The asset and liability projections required in the
130application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
131compared with information provided in the annual report of the
132charter school.
133     11.  A description of procedures that identify various
134risks and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the
135impact of losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of
136students and staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect
137others from violent or disruptive student behavior; and the
138manner in which the school will be insured, including whether or
139not the school will be required to have liability insurance,
140and, if so, the terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of
142     12.  The term of the charter which shall provide for
143cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
144made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
145charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
146achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
147charter shall be for 4 or 5 years. In order to facilitate access
148to long-term financial resources for charter school
149construction, charter schools that are operated by a
150municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
151eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
152district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
153charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
154access to long-term financial resources for charter school
155construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
156not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
157up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the district
158school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to annual
159review and may be terminated during the term of the charter, but
160only according to the provisions set forth in subsection (8).
161     13.  The facilities to be used and their location.
162     14.  The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
163the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
164retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
165     15.  The governance structure of the school, including the
166status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
167required in paragraph (12)(i).
168     16.  A timetable for implementing the charter which
169addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
170date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
172     17.  In the case of an existing public school that is being
173converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
174current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
175for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
176school after conversion in accordance with the existing
177collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
178the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
179alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
180teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
181as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
182which grants the charter to the lab school.
183     18.  Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
184employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
185school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
186directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
187assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
188school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
189purpose of this subparagraph, the term "relative" means father,
190mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
191cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-
192law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
193stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
194stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
195     19.  Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
1961002.331 or s. 1002.332 by the charter school when it satisfies
197the eligibility requirements for a high-performing charter
198school. A high-performing charter school shall notify its
199sponsor in writing by March 1 if it intends to increase
200enrollment or expand grade levels the following school year. The
201written notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment
202increase and the grade levels that will be added, as applicable.
204     (g)  In order to provide financial information that is
205comparable to that reported for other public schools, charter
206schools are to maintain all financial records that constitute
207their accounting system:
208     1.  In accordance with the accounts and codes prescribed in
209the most recent issuance of the publication titled "Financial
210and Program Cost Accounting and Reporting for Florida Schools";
212     2.  At the discretion of the charter school's governing
213board, a charter school may elect to follow generally accepted
214accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, but must
215reformat this information for reporting according to this
218Charter schools shall provide annual financial report and
219program cost report information in the state-required formats
220for inclusion in district reporting in compliance with s.
2211011.60(1). Charter schools that are operated by a municipality
222or are a component unit of a parent nonprofit organization may
223use the accounting system of the municipality or the parent but
224must reformat this information for reporting according to this
225paragraph. A charter school shall provide a monthly financial
226statement to the sponsor unless the charter school is designated
227as a high-performing charter school pursuant to s. 1002.331 or
228s. 1002.332, in which case the high-performing charter school
229may provide a quarterly financial statement. The financial
230statement required under this paragraph shall be in a form
231prescribed by the Department of Education.
232     (10)  ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.-
233     (h)  The capacity of the charter school shall be determined
234annually by the governing board, in conjunction with the
235sponsor, of the charter school in consideration of the factors
236identified in this subsection unless the charter school is
237designated as a high-performing charter school pursuant to s.
2381002.331 or s. 1002.332. A sponsor may not require a charter
239school to waive the provisions of s. 1002.331 or s. 1002.332 or
240require a student enrollment cap that prohibits a high-
241performing charter school from increasing enrollment in
242accordance with s. 1002.331(2) or s. 1002.332(2)(c) as a
243condition of approval or renewal of a charter.
244     (i)  The capacity of a high-performing charter school
245identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or s. 1002.332 shall be
246determined annually by the governing board of the charter
247school. The governing board shall notify the sponsor of any
248increase in enrollment by March 1 of the school year preceding
249the increase.
250     (17)  FUNDING.-Students enrolled in a charter school,
251regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
252a basic program or a special program, the same as students
253enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
254for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
255     (a)  Each charter school shall report its student
256enrollment to the sponsor as required in s. 1011.62, and in
257accordance with the definitions in s. 1011.61. The sponsor shall
258include each charter school's enrollment in the district's
259report of student enrollment. All charter schools submitting
260student record information required by the Department of
261Education shall comply with the Department of Education's
262guidelines for electronic data formats for such data, and all
263districts shall accept electronic data that complies with the
264Department of Education's electronic format.
265     (b)  The basis for the agreement for funding students
266enrolled in a charter school shall be the sum of the school
267district's operating funds from the Florida Education Finance
268Program as provided in s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations
269Act, including gross state and local funds, discretionary
270lottery funds, and funds from the school district's current
271operating discretionary millage levy; divided by total funded
272weighted full-time equivalent students in the school district;
273multiplied by the weighted full-time equivalent students for the
274charter school. Charter schools whose students or programs meet
275the eligibility criteria in law shall be entitled to their
276proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the
277total funds available in the Florida Education Finance Program
278by the Legislature, including transportation. Total funding for
279each charter school shall be recalculated during the year to
280reflect the revised calculations under the Florida Education
281Finance Program by the state and the actual weighted full-time
282equivalent students reported by the charter school during the
283full-time equivalent student survey periods designated by the
284Commissioner of Education.
285     (c)  Each district school board may annually
286proportionately share the revenue generated by the millage levy
287pursuant to s. 1011.71(2) with charter schools in the school
288district on a per-student basis. If a district school board does
289not proportionately share the revenue generated by the millage
290levy pursuant to s. 1011.71(2), the Florida Education Finance
291Program allocation for that school district shall be
292recalculated so that each charter school in the school district
293receives, on a per-student basis, the same amount of funds that
294it would have received if the district school board shared the
295millage levy revenue with charter schools on a per-student pro
296rata basis. The school district shall, within 30 days after
297receipt, distribute the recalculated funds to each charter
298school in the district. Charter schools may only use these
299recalculated funds for capital outlay purposes.
300     (d)(c)  If the district school board is providing programs
301or services to students funded by federal funds, any eligible
302students enrolled in charter schools in the school district
303shall be provided federal funds for the same level of service
304provided students in the schools operated by the district school
305board. All federal funds received by a district school board for
306the benefit of charter schools, charter school students, or
307charter school students as public school students in the school
308district, including, but not limited to, Title I, Title II, and
309IDEA funds, shall be paid in total to charter schools within 60
310days after receipt by the district school board. Pursuant to
311provisions of 20 U.S.C. 8061 s. 10306, all charter schools shall
312receive all federal funding for which the school is otherwise
313eligible, including Title I funding, not later than 5 months
314after the charter school first opens and within 5 months after
315any subsequent expansion of enrollment.
316     (e)(d)  Charter schools shall be included by the Department
317of Education and the district school board in requests for
318federal stimulus funds in the same manner as district school
319board-operated public schools, including Title I and IDEA funds
320and shall be entitled to receive such funds. Charter schools are
321eligible to participate in federal competitive grants that are
322available as part of the federal stimulus funds.
323     (f)(e)  District school boards shall make timely and
324efficient payment and reimbursement to charter schools,
325including processing paperwork required to access special state
326and federal funding for which they may be eligible. The district
327school board may distribute funds to a charter school for up to
3283 months based on the projected full-time equivalent student
329membership of the charter school. Thereafter, the results of
330full-time equivalent student membership surveys shall be used in
331adjusting the amount of funds distributed monthly to the charter
332school for the remainder of the fiscal year. The payment shall
333be issued no later than 10 working days after the district
334school board receives a distribution of state or federal funds.
335If a warrant for payment is not issued within 10 working days
336after receipt of funding by the district school board, the
337school district shall pay to the charter school, in addition to
338the amount of the scheduled disbursement, interest at a rate of
3391 percent per month calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid
340balance from the expiration of the 10 working days until such
341time as the warrant is issued.
342     (g)(f)  Funding for a virtual charter school shall be as
343provided in s. 1002.45(7).
344     Section 2.  Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) and paragraph
345(b) of subsection (3) of section 1002.331, Florida Statutes, are
346amended to read:
347     1002.331  High-performing charter schools.-
348     (1)  A charter school is a high-performing charter school
349if it:
350     (c)  Did not receive a financial audit that revealed one or
351more of the financial emergency conditions set forth in s.
352218.503(1) in the most recent 3 fiscal years for which such
353audits are available. However, this requirement is deemed met
354for a charter school-in-the-workplace if there is a finding in
355an audit that the school has the monetary resources available to
356cover any reported deficiency or that the deficiency does not
357result in a deteriorating financial condition pursuant to s.
360A virtual charter school established under s. 1002.33 is not
361eligible for designation as a high-performing charter school.
362     (3)
363     (b)  A high-performing charter school may not establish
364more than three one charter schools school within the state
365under paragraph (a) in any year. A subsequent application to
366establish a charter school under paragraph (a) may not be
367submitted unless each charter school established in this manner
368achieves high-performing charter school status.
369     Section 3.  Paragraph (c) is added to subsection (2) of
370section 1002.332, Florida Statutes, to read:
371     1002.332  High-performing charter school system.-
372     (2)
373     (c)  A high-performing charter school that is part of a
374high-performing charter school system may:
375     1.  Increase its student enrollment once per school year by
376up to 15 percent more than the capacity identified in the
378     2.  Expand grade levels within kindergarten through grade
37912 to add grade levels not already served if any annual
380enrollment increase resulting from grade level expansion is
381within the limit established in subparagraph 1.
382     3.  Submit a quarterly, rather than a monthly, financial
383statement to the sponsor pursuant to s. 1002.33(9)(g).
384     4.  Consolidate under a single charter the charters of
385multiple high-performing charter schools operated in the same
386school district by the charter schools' governing boards
387regardless of the renewal cycle.
388     5.  Receive a modification of its charter to a term of 15
389years or a 15-year charter renewal. The charter may be modified
390or renewed for a shorter term at the option of the high-
391performing charter school. The charter must be consistent with
392s. 1002.33(7)(a)19. and (10)(h) and (i), is subject to annual
393review by the sponsor, and may be terminated during its term
394pursuant to s. 1002.33(8).
396A high-performing charter school that is part of a high-
397performing charter school system shall notify its sponsor in
398writing by March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or
399expand grade levels the following school year. The written
400notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment increase and
401the grade levels that will be added, as applicable.
402     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.

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