Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 696
       By Senator Baxley
       12-00758-17                                            2017696__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
    3         1002.33, F.S.; requiring a sponsor to honor
    4         irrevocable instructions by a charter school to
    5         deposit certain funds; providing that certain sponsor
    6         policies and charter contract provisions are void and
    7         unenforceable; providing legislative intent; requiring
    8         a sponsor to honor security interests, liens, and
    9         encumbrances on charter school property, including
   10         security interests and liens on public funds, before
   11         it reverts to the sponsor; authorizing a charter
   12         school to enter into certain financial arrangements;
   13         providing for liberal construction; providing that a
   14         charter school that pledges or assigns future payment
   15         of its funding is not pledging the credit or taxing
   16         power of the state or a school district; providing an
   17         exception to the requirement that a district school
   18         board make timely and efficient payment and
   19         reimbursement to a charter school; requiring that a
   20         district school board issue payment within a specified
   21         period after receiving funds distributed through the
   22         Florida Education Finance Program; providing an
   23         effective date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5), paragraph (e)
   28  of subsection (8), subsection (14), and paragraph (e) of
   29  subsection (17) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are
   30  amended to read:
   31         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   32         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
   33         (b) Sponsor duties.—
   34         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
   35  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
   36  charter.
   37         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
   38  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
   39  1002.345.
   40         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
   41  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
   42  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
   43  it to raise working funds.
   44         d. The sponsor shall not apply its policies to a charter
   45  school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
   46  charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any agreed
   47  upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect at the
   48  time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
   49  modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
   50  not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
   51  newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
   52  upon.
   53         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
   54  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
   55  1000.03(5).
   56         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
   57  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
   58  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
   59  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
   60  to the Department of Education.
   61         g. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
   62  state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
   63  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
   64  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
   65         h. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
   66  state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
   67  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
   68         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall
   69  not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
   70         j. The sponsor shall not impose additional reporting
   71  requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
   72  and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
   73         k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
   74  Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
   75  by the department.
   76         (I) The report shall include the following information:
   77         (A) The number of draft applications received on or before
   78  May 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
   79         (B) The number of final applications received on or before
   80  August 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
   81         (C) The date each application was approved, denied, or
   82  withdrawn.
   83         (D) The date each final contract was executed.
   84         (II) Beginning August 31, 2013, and each year thereafter,
   85  the sponsor shall submit to the department the information for
   86  the applications submitted the previous year.
   87         (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
   88  district, and post the report on its website by November 1 of
   89  each year.
   90         l.The sponsor shall honor irrevocable instructions by a
   91  charter school to deposit funds due to the charter school
   92  pursuant to subsection (17). Any sponsor policy or provision in
   93  a charter contract that conflicts with this sub-subparagraph is
   94  void and unenforceable. It is the intent of the Legislature that
   95  charter schools be authorized to enter into financial
   96  arrangements that are consistent with this sub-subparagraph and
   97  the guiding principles described in subsection (2).
   98         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
   99  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
  100  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
  101  section.
  102         3. This paragraph does not waive a district school board’s
  103  sovereign immunity.
  104         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
  105  school district or school districts in its designated service
  106  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
  107  These charter schools must include an option for students to
  108  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
  109  Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
  110  preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
  111  institution may operate no more than one charter school that
  112  serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. In
  113  kindergarten through grade 8, the charter school shall implement
  114  innovative blended learning instructional models in which, for a
  115  given course, a student learns in part through online delivery
  116  of content and instruction with some element of student control
  117  over time, place, path, or pace and in part at a supervised
  118  brick-and-mortar location away from home. A student in a blended
  119  learning course must be a full-time student of the charter
  120  school and receive the online instruction in a classroom setting
  121  at the charter school. District school boards shall cooperate
  122  with and assist the Florida College System institution on the
  123  charter application. Florida College System institution
  124  applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
  125  deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
  126  district school board at any time during the year. Florida
  127  College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
  128  who receive FTE funding through the Florida Education Finance
  129  Program.
  130         5. A school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
  131  agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
  132  municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
  133  within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
  134  behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
  135  issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
  136  permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
  137  needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
  138  charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
  139  district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
  140  include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
  141  that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
  142  must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
  143  the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
  144  providing such services. These services and fees are not
  145  included within the services to be provided pursuant to
  146  subsection (20).
  148         (e) When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
  149  school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under
  150  which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public
  151  funds, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter
  152  school program grant funds, from the charter school shall revert
  153  to the sponsor. Capital outlay funds provided pursuant to s.
  154  1013.62 and federal charter school program grant funds that are
  155  unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed
  156  among eligible charter schools. In the event a charter school is
  157  dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all district school board
  158  property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased
  159  with public funds shall automatically revert to full ownership
  160  by the district school board, subject to complete satisfaction
  161  of any lawful liens or encumbrances. Any unencumbered public
  162  funds from the charter school, district school board property
  163  and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with
  164  public funds, or financial or other records pertaining to the
  165  charter school, in the possession of any person, entity, or
  166  holding company, other than the charter school, shall be held in
  167  trust upon the district school board’s request, until any appeal
  168  status is resolved. The sponsor shall honor any lawful security
  169  interests, liens, and encumbrances on property, including
  170  security interests and liens on public funds, held by a charter
  171  school before such property reverts to the sponsor.
  174  BE PLEDGED.—
  175         (a)In addition to the powers prescribed in s. 617.0302,
  176  and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a charter school
  177  authorized in this section may enter into arrangements to borrow
  178  or otherwise secure funds and to assign, pledge, and encumber
  179  its assets consistent with s. 617.0302(7). This paragraph shall
  180  be liberally construed.
  181         (b) Any arrangement entered into to borrow or otherwise
  182  secure funds for a charter school authorized in this section
  183  from a source other than the state or a school district shall
  184  indemnify the state and the school district from any and all
  185  liability, including, but not limited to, financial
  186  responsibility for the payment of the principal or interest. Any
  187  loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are not obligations
  188  of the state or the school district but are obligations of the
  189  charter school authority and are payable solely from the sources
  190  of funds pledged by such agreement. The credit or taxing power
  191  of the state or the school district shall not be pledged and no
  192  debts shall be payable out of any moneys except those of the
  193  legal entity in possession of a valid charter approved by a
  194  district school board pursuant to this section. A charter school
  195  that pledges or assigns the future payment of its funding is not
  196  deemed to be pledging the credit or taxing power of the state or
  197  a school district. This paragraph does not relieve the sponsor
  198  of its obligations to fund a charter school pursuant to this
  199  section or to honor any lawful security interests, liens, and
  200  encumbrances on property, including security interests and liens
  201  on public funds, held by the charter school in accordance with
  202  paragraph (8)(e).
  203         (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
  204  regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
  205  a basic program or a special program, the same as students
  206  enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
  207  for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
  208         (e) District school boards shall make timely and efficient
  209  payment and reimbursement to charter schools, including
  210  processing paperwork required to access special state and
  211  federal funding for which they may be eligible, unless a charter
  212  school’s contract has been terminated and the charter school has
  213  failed to file a timely appeal pursuant to subsection (8).
  214  Payments of funds under paragraph (b) shall be made monthly or
  215  twice a month, beginning with the start of the district school
  216  board’s fiscal year. Each payment shall be one-twelfth, or one
  217  twenty-fourth, as applicable, of the total state and local funds
  218  described in paragraph (b) and adjusted as set forth therein.
  219  For the first 2 years of a charter school’s operation, if a
  220  minimum of 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered
  221  into the sponsor’s student information system by the first day
  222  of the current month, the district school board shall distribute
  223  funds to the school for the months of July through October based
  224  on the projected full-time equivalent student membership of the
  225  charter school as submitted in the approved application. If less
  226  than 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered into the
  227  sponsor’s student information system by the first day of the
  228  current month, the sponsor shall base payments on the actual
  229  number of student enrollment entered into the sponsor’s student
  230  information system. Thereafter, the results of full-time
  231  equivalent student membership surveys shall be used in adjusting
  232  the amount of funds distributed monthly to the charter school
  233  for the remainder of the fiscal year. The payments shall be
  234  issued no later than 10 working days after the district school
  235  board receives a distribution of state or federal funds,
  236  including funds distributed through the Florida Education
  237  Finance Program pursuant to s. 1011.66, or the date the payment
  238  is due pursuant to this subsection. If a warrant for payment is
  239  not issued within 10 working days after receipt of funding by
  240  the district school board, the school district shall pay to the
  241  charter school, in addition to the amount of the scheduled
  242  disbursement, interest at a rate of 1 percent per month
  243  calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid balance from the
  244  expiration of the 10 working days until such time as the warrant
  245  is issued. The district school board may not delay payment to a
  246  charter school of any portion of the funds provided in paragraph
  247  (b) based on the timing of receipt of local funds by the
  248  district school board.
  249         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.