Florida Senate - 2016                                     SB 808
       By Senator Brandes
       22-00854B-16                                           2016808__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
    3         1002.33, F.S.; authorizing a municipal governing
    4         authority to become a charter school sponsor in the
    5         municipality over which the municipal governing
    6         authority has jurisdiction; providing that certain
    7         long-term charters are subject to the approval of the
    8         municipal governing authority; requiring a municipal
    9         governing authority to make timely and efficient
   10         payment and reimbursement to charter schools;
   11         authorizing a municipal governing authority to
   12         distribute funds to a charter school for a specified
   13         period of time under certain circumstances; amending
   14         s. 1002.331, F.S.; deleting a provision that prohibits
   15         high-performing charter schools from establishing more
   16         than one charter school in any given year; providing
   17         an effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5), paragraph (a)
   22  of subsection (7), subsection (14), paragraph (c) of subsection
   23  (15), paragraph (e) of subsection (17), and subsection (25) of
   24  section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   25         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   26         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
   27         (a) Sponsoring entities.—
   28         1. A district school board or a municipal governing
   29  authority may sponsor a charter school in the county or the
   30  municipality over which the district school board or the
   31  municipal governing authority has jurisdiction.
   32         2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
   33  created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
   34  school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
   35  school.
   36         (7) CHARTER.—The major issues involving the operation of a
   37  charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
   38  the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing board
   39  of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
   40  hearing to ensure community input.
   41         (a) The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
   42  the charter shall be based on:
   43         1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
   44  ages and grades to be included.
   45         2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
   46  to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
   47  employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
   48  technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
   49  performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
   50  and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
   51  professional standards.
   52         a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
   53  of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
   54  and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
   55  below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
   56  for reading must be consistent with the Next Generation Sunshine
   57  State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
   58  research.
   59         b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
   60  instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
   61  technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
   62  provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
   63  21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
   64  methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
   65  traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
   66  Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
   67  combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
   68  instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
   69  time students of the charter school and receive the online
   70  instruction in a classroom setting at the charter school.
   71  Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s. 1012.55 who
   72  provide virtual instruction for blended learning courses may be
   73  employees of the charter school or may be under contract to
   74  provide instructional services to charter school students. At a
   75  minimum, such instructional personnel must hold an active state
   76  or school district adjunct certification under s. 1012.57 for
   77  the subject area of the blended learning course. The funding and
   78  performance accountability requirements for blended learning
   79  courses are the same as those for traditional courses.
   80         3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
   81  academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
   82  method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
   83  this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
   84         a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
   85  prior rates of academic progress will be established.
   86         b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
   87  academic progress achieved by these same students while
   88  attending the charter school.
   89         c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
   90  be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
   91  closely comparable student populations.
   93  The district school board is required to provide academic
   94  student performance data to charter schools for each of their
   95  students coming from the district school system, as well as
   96  rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
   97  the district school system.
   98         4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
   99  and needs of students and how well educational goals and
  100  performance standards are met by students attending the charter
  101  school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
  102  to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
  103  student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
  104  efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
  105  charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
  106  statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
  107         5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
  108  that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
  109  s. 1002.3105(5), s. 1003.4281, or s. 1003.4282.
  110         6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
  111  board of the charter school and the sponsor.
  112         7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
  113  including the school’s code of student conduct.
  114         8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
  115  racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
  116  within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
  117  same school district.
  118         9. The financial and administrative management of the
  119  school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
  120  experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
  121  applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
  122  retained to perform such professional services and the
  123  description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
  124  policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
  125  school. A description of internal audit procedures and
  126  establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
  127  properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
  128  private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
  129  such a consideration.
  130         10. The asset and liability projections required in the
  131  application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
  132  compared with information provided in the annual report of the
  133  charter school.
  134         11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
  135  and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
  136  losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
  137  staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
  138  violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
  139  the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
  140  will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
  141  terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
  142         12. The term of the charter which shall provide for
  143  cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
  144  made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
  145  charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
  146  achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
  147  charter shall be for 4 or 5 years. In order to facilitate access
  148  to long-term financial resources for charter school
  149  construction, charter schools that are operated by a
  150  municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
  151  eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
  152  district school board or the municipal governing authority. A
  153  charter lab school is eligible for a charter for a term of up to
  154  15 years. In addition, to facilitate access to long-term
  155  financial resources for charter school construction, charter
  156  schools that are operated by a private, not-for-profit, s.
  157  501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for up to a 15-year
  158  charter, subject to approval by the district school board or the
  159  municipal governing authority. Such long-term charters remain
  160  subject to annual review and may be terminated during the term
  161  of the charter, but only according to the provisions set forth
  162  in subsection (8).
  163         13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
  164  sponsor may not require a charter school to have a certificate
  165  of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for such a
  166  facility earlier than 15 calendar days before the first day of
  167  school.
  168         14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
  169  the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
  170  retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
  171         15. The governance structure of the school, including the
  172  status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
  173  required in paragraph (12)(i).
  174         16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
  175  addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
  176  date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
  177  timetable.
  178         17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
  179  converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
  180  current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
  181  for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
  182  school after conversion in accordance with the existing
  183  collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
  184  the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
  185  alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
  186  teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
  187  as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
  188  which grants the charter to the lab school.
  189         18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
  190  employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
  191  school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
  192  directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
  193  assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
  194  school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
  195  purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
  196  mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
  197  cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
  198  law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
  199  stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
  200  stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
  201         19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
  202  1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
  203  requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
  204  performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
  205  March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
  206  levels the following school year. The written notice shall
  207  specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
  208  levels that will be added, as applicable.
  211  BE PLEDGED.—Any arrangement entered into to borrow or otherwise
  212  secure funds for a charter school authorized in this section
  213  from a source other than the state or a school district shall
  214  indemnify the state and the school district from any and all
  215  liability, including, but not limited to, financial
  216  responsibility for the payment of the principal or interest. Any
  217  loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are not obligations
  218  of the state or the school district but are obligations of the
  219  charter school authority and are payable solely from the sources
  220  of funds pledged by such agreement. The credit or taxing power
  221  of the state or the school district shall not be pledged and no
  222  debts shall be payable out of any moneys except those of the
  223  legal entity in possession of a valid charter approved by a
  224  district school board or a municipal governing authority
  225  pursuant to this section.
  228         (c) A charter school-in-a-municipality designation may be
  229  granted to a municipality that possesses a charter; enrolls
  230  students based upon a random lottery that involves all of the
  231  children of the residents of that municipality who are seeking
  232  enrollment, as provided for in subsection (10); and enrolls
  233  students according to the racial/ethnic balance provisions
  234  described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. When a municipality has
  235  submitted charter applications for the establishment of a
  236  charter school feeder pattern, consisting of elementary, middle,
  237  and senior high schools, and each individual charter application
  238  is approved by the district school board or the municipal
  239  governing authority, such schools shall then be designated as
  240  one charter school for all purposes listed pursuant to this
  241  section. Any portion of the land and facility used for a public
  242  charter school shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes, as
  243  provided for in s. 1013.54, for the duration of its use as a
  244  public school.
  245         (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
  246  regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
  247  a basic program or a special program, the same as students
  248  enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
  249  for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
  250         (e) District school boards and municipal governing
  251  authorities shall make timely and efficient payment and
  252  reimbursement to charter schools, including processing paperwork
  253  required to access special state and federal funding for which
  254  they may be eligible. The district school board or the municipal
  255  governing authority may distribute funds to a charter school for
  256  up to 3 months based on the projected full-time equivalent
  257  student membership of the charter school. Thereafter, the
  258  results of full-time equivalent student membership surveys shall
  259  be used in adjusting the amount of funds distributed monthly to
  260  the charter school for the remainder of the fiscal year. The
  261  payment shall be issued no later than 10 working days after the
  262  district school board or the municipal governing authority
  263  receives a distribution of state or federal funds. If a warrant
  264  for payment is not issued within 10 working days after receipt
  265  of funding by the district school board or the municipal
  266  governing authority, the school district or the municipality
  267  shall pay to the charter school, in addition to the amount of
  268  the scheduled disbursement, interest at a rate of 1 percent per
  269  month calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid balance from the
  270  expiration of the 10 working days until such time as the warrant
  271  is issued.
  273  SCHOOL SYSTEMS.—A charter school system’s governing board shall
  274  be designated a local educational agency for the purpose of
  275  receiving federal funds, the same as though the charter school
  276  system were a school district, if the governing board of the
  277  charter school system has adopted and filed a resolution with
  278  its sponsoring district school board or municipal governing
  279  authority and the Department of Education in which the governing
  280  board of the charter school system accepts the full
  281  responsibility for all local education agency requirements and
  282  the charter school system meets all of the following:
  283         (a) Includes both conversion charter schools and
  284  nonconversion charter schools;
  285         (b) Has all schools located in the same county;
  286         (c) Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment
  287  of at least one school district in the state;
  288         (d) Has the same governing board; and
  289         (e) Does not contract with a for-profit service provider
  290  for management of school operations.
  292  Such designation does not apply to other provisions unless
  293  specifically provided in law.
  294         Section 2. Subsection (3) of section 1002.331, Florida
  295  Statutes, is amended to read:
  296         1002.331 High-performing charter schools.—
  297         (3)(a) A high-performing charter school may submit an
  298  application pursuant to s. 1002.33(6) in any school district in
  299  the state to establish and operate a new charter school that
  300  will substantially replicate its educational program. An
  301  application submitted by a high-performing charter school must
  302  state that the application is being submitted pursuant to this
  303  subsection paragraph and must include the verification letter
  304  provided by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection
  305  (5). If the sponsor fails to act on the application within 60
  306  days after receipt, the application is deemed approved and the
  307  procedure in s. 1002.33(6)(h) applies. If the sponsor denies the
  308  application, the high-performing charter school may appeal
  309  pursuant to s. 1002.33(6).
  310         (b) A high-performing charter school may not establish more
  311  than one charter school within the state under paragraph (a) in
  312  any year. A subsequent application to establish a charter school
  313  under paragraph (a) may not be submitted unless each charter
  314  school established in this manner achieves high-performing
  315  charter school status.
  316         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.