Florida Senate - 2017                       CS for CS for SB 796
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education; and Senator
       576-04406-17                                           2017796c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to K-12 public schools; creating s.
    3         1002.333, F.S., relating to high-impact schools and
    4         high-impact school operators; defining terms;
    5         providing eligibility criteria for high-impact school
    6         operators; providing for the designation and
    7         redesignation of a high-impact school operator;
    8         authorizing high-impact school operators to establish
    9         high-impact schools in specified areas; providing the
   10         process for the establishment of a high-impact school;
   11         providing the requirements for a performance-based
   12         agreement; authorizing the State Board of Education to
   13         designate a high-impact school as a local education
   14         agency; providing that a school district sponsor is
   15         not liable for specified damages; providing that a
   16         high-impact school may be a private or public
   17         employer; authorizing a high-impact school to
   18         participate in the Florida Retirement System;
   19         authorizing a high-impact school operator to employ
   20         certain staff; providing specific statutory exemptions
   21         for high-impact schools; providing requirements for
   22         facilities used by high-impact schools; requiring
   23         districts to annually provide a list of specified
   24         property to the Department of Education; requiring
   25         that high-impact schools be funded through the Florida
   26         Education Finance Program; establishing additional
   27         funding sources and guidelines for eligible
   28         expenditures; providing authority and obligations of
   29         the State Board of Education; providing a mechanism
   30         for the resolution of disputes; providing for
   31         rulemaking; creating s. 1001.292, F.S.; establishing
   32         the High-impact Schools Revolving Loan Program;
   33         providing criteria for administration of the program;
   34         providing an effective date.
   36  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   38         Section 1. Section 1002.333, Florida Statutes, is created
   39  to read:
   40         1002.333High-impact school; high-impact school operator.—
   41         (1)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   42         (a)“High-impact school operator” means an entity
   43  identified by the department pursuant to subsection (2). The
   44  term does not include a for-profit entity.
   45         (b)“Persistently low-performing school” means a school
   46  defined pursuant to s. 1008.33(3)(c).
   47         (c)“High-impact school” means a full-time public school
   48  operated by a high-impact school operator which primarily serves
   49  students who were attending, or were assigned to attend, a
   50  persistently low-performing school and who comprise at least 60
   51  percent of its total enrollment; which is located in the
   52  attendance zone of a persistently low-performing school; and
   53  which is a Title I eligible school. The term does not include a
   54  part-time school or a virtual charter school.
   55         (2)HIGH-IMPACT SCHOOL OPERATOR.—A high-impact school
   56  operator is a nonprofit organization with tax exempt status
   57  under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code which operates
   58  three or more charter schools that serve students in grades K-12
   59  in Florida or other states has a record of serving students from
   60  low-income families, and is designated by the State Board of
   61  Education as a high-impact school operator based on a
   62  determination that it meets at least one of the following
   63  requirements:
   64         (a)The past performance of the high-impact school operator
   65  meets or exceeds the following criteria:
   66         1.The achievement of enrolled students exceeds the
   67  district and state averages of the states in which the
   68  operator’s schools operate;
   69         2.The average college attendance rate at all schools
   70  currently operated by the operator exceeds 80 percent, if such
   71  data is available;
   72         3.The percentage of students eligible for a free or
   73  reduced price lunch under the National School Lunch Act enrolled
   74  at all schools currently operated by the operator exceeds 70
   75  percent;
   76         4.The operator is in good standing with the authorizer in
   77  each state in which it operates;
   78         5.The audited financial statements of the operator are
   79  free of material exceptions and going concern issues; and
   80         6.Other outcome measures as determined by the State Board
   81  of Education.
   82         (b)The operator was awarded a United States Department of
   83  Education Charter School Program grant for Replication and
   84  Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools within the preceding 3
   85  years before applying to be a high-impact school operator.
   86         (c)The operator receives funding through the National Fund
   87  or a Regional Fund of the Charter School Growth Fund to
   88  accelerate the growth of the nation’s best charter schools.
   89         (d)The operator is selected by a district school board in
   90  accordance with s. 1008.33.
   92  An entity that meets the requirements of paragraph (b),
   93  paragraph (c), or paragraph (d) before the adoption by the state
   94  board of measurable criteria pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be
   95  designated as a high-impact school operator. After the adoption
   96  of the measurable criteria, an entity shall be designated as a
   97  high-impact school operator if it meets the criteria or is
   98  selected by a district school board in accordance with s.
   99  1008.33.
  101  status as a high-impact school operator is valid for 3 years
  102  after the opening of a high-impact school. If a high-impact
  103  school operator seeks the renewal of its status, such renewal
  104  shall solely be based upon the academic and financial
  105  performance of all schools established by the operator in the
  106  state since its initial designation and the operator’s material
  107  compliance with the terms of its performance-based agreement
  108  established pursuant to subsection (5).
  109         (4)ESTABLISHMENT OF HIGH-IMPACT SCHOOLS.—A high-impact
  110  school operator may submit a notice of intent to open a high
  111  impact school to the school district in which a persistently
  112  low-performing school has been identified by the State Board of
  113  Education pursuant to subsection (9).
  114         (a)The notice of intent must include:
  115         1.An academic focus and plan;
  116         2.A financial plan;
  117         3.Goals and objectives for increasing student achievement
  118  for the students from any persistently low-performing school and
  119  students from low-income families;
  120         4.A completed or planned community outreach plan;
  121         5.The organizational history of success in working with
  122  students with similar demographics;
  123         6.The grade levels to be served and enrollment
  124  projections;
  125         7.The proposed location or geographic area proposed for
  126  the school and its proximity to the persistently low-performing
  127  school; and
  128         8.A staffing plan.
  129         (b)A school district with a school that is designated, or
  130  is likely to be designated, as a persistently low-performing
  131  school during the 2017-2018 school year may, with the approval
  132  of the State Board of Education contingent on its determination
  133  that the school will likely improve to a grade of “C” or higher
  134  during the 2018-2019 school year, implement a new turnaround
  135  option specified under s. 1008.33(4). Absent the approval of the
  136  state board, a school district must enter into a performance
  137  based agreement with a high-impact operator, or may relinquish
  138  authority to the state board to enter into a performance-based
  139  agreement with a high-impact school operator, to open one or
  140  more high-impact schools.
  141         (5)PERFORMANCE-BASED AGREEMENT.—The performance-based
  142  agreement must include all of the following components:
  143         (a)The notice of intent, which is incorporated by
  144  reference and attached to the agreement.
  145         (b)The location or geographic area proposed for the high
  146  impact school and its proximity to the persistently low
  147  performing school.
  148         (c)An enumeration of the grades to be served in each year
  149  of the agreement and whether the school will serve children in
  150  the school readiness or prekindergarten programs.
  151         (d)A plan of action and specific milestones for student
  152  recruitment and the enrollment of students from persistently
  153  low-performing schools, including enrollment preferences and
  154  procedures for conducting transparent admissions lotteries that
  155  are open to the public; however, enrollment preference must be
  156  given to students who are attending, or are assigned to attend,
  157  a persistently low-performing school. If the high-impact
  158  school’s total enrollment consists of at least 60 percent of
  159  students who were attending, or were assigned to attend, a
  160  persistently low-performing school, students attending the high
  161  impact school are exempt, to the extent permitted by federal
  162  grant requirements, from any enrollment lottery.
  163         (e)A delineation of the current incoming baseline standard
  164  of student academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved,
  165  and the method of measurement that will be used.
  166         (f)A description of the methods of involving parents and
  167  expected levels for such involvement.
  168         (g)The grounds for termination, including failure to meet
  169  the requirements for student performance established pursuant to
  170  paragraph (e), generally accepted standards of fiscal
  171  management, or material violation of terms of the agreement. The
  172  nonrenewal or termination of a performance-based agreement must
  173  comply with the requirements of s. 1002.33(8).
  174         (h)A provision allowing the high-impact school operator to
  175  open additional schools to serve students enrolled in or zoned
  176  for a persistently low-performing school if the high-impact
  177  school operator maintains its status under subsection (3).
  178         (i)A provision establishing the initial term as 3 years.
  179  The agreement shall be renewed, upon the request of the high
  180  impact school operator, unless the school fails to meet the
  181  requirements for student performance established pursuant to
  182  paragraph (e) or generally accepted standards of fiscal
  183  management, or the high-impact school operator or its high
  184  impact school materially violates the law or the terms of the
  185  agreement.
  186         (j)A requirement to provide transportation consistent with
  187  the requirements of ss. 1006.21-1006.27 and s. 1012.45. The
  188  governing body of the high-impact school may provide
  189  transportation through an agreement or contract with the
  190  district school board, a private provider, or parents of
  191  enrolled students. Transportation may not be a barrier to equal
  192  access for all students residing within a reasonable distance of
  193  the school.
  194         (k)A requirement that any arrangement entered into to
  195  borrow or otherwise secure funds for the high-impact school from
  196  a source other than the state or a school district shall
  197  indemnify the state and the school district from any and all
  198  liability, including, but not limited to, financial
  199  responsibility for the payment of the principal or interest.
  200         (l)A provision that any loans, bonds, or other financial
  201  agreements are not obligations of the state or the school
  202  district but are obligations of the high-impact school and are
  203  payable solely from the sources of funds pledged by such
  204  agreement.
  205         (m)A prohibition on the pledge of credit or taxing power
  206  of the state or the school district.
  208         (a)A high-impact school may be designated by the State
  209  Board of Education as a local education agency, if requested,
  210  for the purposes of receiving federal funds and, in doing so,
  211  accepts the full responsibility for all local education agency
  212  requirements and the schools for which it will perform local
  213  education agency responsibilities. Students enrolled in a school
  214  established by a high-impact school operator designated as a
  215  local educational agency are not eligible students for purposes
  216  of calculating the district grade pursuant to s. 1008.34(5).
  217         (b)For the purposes of tort liability, the high-impact
  218  school operator, the high-impact school, and its employees or
  219  agents shall be governed by s. 768.28. The school district
  220  sponsor is not liable for civil damages under state law for the
  221  employment actions or personal injury, property damage, or death
  222  resulting from an act or omission of a high-impact school
  223  operator, the high-impact school, or its employees or agents.
  224         (c)A high-impact school may be either a private or a
  225  public employer. As a public employer, the high-impact school
  226  may participate in the Florida Retirement System upon
  227  application and approval as a covered group under s.
  228  121.021(34). If a high-impact school participates in the Florida
  229  Retirement System, the high-impact school’s employees shall be
  230  compulsory members of the Florida Retirement System.
  231         (d)A high-impact school operator may employ school
  232  administrators and instructional personnel who do not meet the
  233  requirements of s. 1012.56 if the school administrators and
  234  instructional personnel are not ineligible for such employment
  235  under s. 1012.315.
  236         (e)Compliance with s. 1003.03 shall be calculated as the
  237  average at the school level.
  238         (f)High-impact schools operated by a high-impact school
  239  operator shall be exempt from chapters 1000-1013 and all school
  240  board policies. However, a high-impact school operator shall be
  241  in compliance with the laws in chapters 1000-1013 relating to:
  242         1.The student assessment program and school grading
  243  system;
  244         2.Student progression and graduation;
  245         3.The provision of services to students with disabilities;
  246         4.Civil rights, including s. 1000.05, relating to
  247  discrimination;
  248         5.Student health, safety, and welfare;
  249         6.Public meetings and records, public inspection, and
  250  criminal and civil penalties pursuant to s. 286.011. The
  251  governing board of a high-impact school must hold at least two
  252  public meetings per school year in the school district in which
  253  the high-impact school is located. Any other meetings of the
  254  governing board may be held in accordance with s.
  255  120.54(2)(b)2.;
  256         7.Public records pursuant to chapter 119; and
  257         8.The code of ethics for public officers and employees
  258  pursuant to ss. 112.313(2), (3), (7), and (12) and 112.3143(3).
  259         (7)FACILITIES.—
  260         (a)A high-impact school shall use facilities that comply
  261  with the Florida Building Code, except for the State
  262  Requirements for Educational Facilities. A high-impact school
  263  that uses school district facilities must comply with the State
  264  Requirements for Educational Facilities only if the school
  265  district and the high-impact school operator have entered into a
  266  mutual management plan for the reasonable maintenance of such
  267  facilities. The mutual management plan shall contain a provision
  268  by which the district school board agrees to maintain the school
  269  facilities in the same manner as its other public schools within
  270  the district. The local governing authority shall not adopt or
  271  impose any local building requirements or site-development
  272  restrictions, such as parking and site-size criteria, which are
  273  addressed by and more stringent than those found in the State
  274  Requirements for Educational Facilities of the Florida Building
  275  Code. A local governing authority must treat high-impact schools
  276  equitably in comparison to similar requirements, restrictions,
  277  and site planning processes imposed upon public schools. The
  278  agency having jurisdiction for inspection of a facility and
  279  issuance of a certificate of occupancy or use shall be the local
  280  municipality or, if in an unincorporated area, the county
  281  governing authority. If an official or employee of the local
  282  governing authority refuses to comply with this paragraph, the
  283  aggrieved school or entity has an immediate right to bring an
  284  action in circuit court to enforce its rights by injunction. An
  285  aggrieved party that receives injunctive relief may be awarded
  286  reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
  287         (b)Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a high
  288  impact school shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes pursuant to
  289  s. 196.1983. Library, community service, museum, performing
  290  arts, theatre, cinema, church, Florida College System
  291  institution, college, and university facilities may provide
  292  space to high-impact schools within their facilities under their
  293  preexisting zoning and land use designations.
  294         (c)High-impact school facilities are exempt from
  295  assessments of fees for building permits, except as provided in
  296  s. 553.80; fees for building and occupational licenses; impact
  297  fees or exactions; service availability fees; and assessments
  298  for special benefits.
  299         (d)No later than October 1, each school district shall
  300  annually provide to the department a list of all underused,
  301  vacant, or surplus facilities owned or operated by the school
  302  district. A high-impact school operator establishing a high
  303  impact school may use an educational facility identified in this
  304  paragraph at no cost or at a mutually agreeable cost not to
  305  exceed fair market value rates. A high-impact school operator
  306  using a facility pursuant to this paragraph may not sell or
  307  dispose of such facility without the written permission of the
  308  school district. For purposes of this paragraph, “underused,
  309  vacant, or surplus facility” means an entire facility or portion
  310  thereof which is not fully used or is used irregularly or
  311  intermittently by the school district for instructional or
  312  program use.
  313         (8)FUNDING.—
  314         (a)High-impact schools shall be funded in accordance with
  315  s. 1002.33(17).
  316         (b)High-impact schools shall receive priority in the
  317  department’s Public Charter School Grant Program competitions.
  318         (c)High-impact schools shall be considered charter schools
  319  for purposes of s. 1013.62, except charter capital outlay may
  320  not be used to purchase real property or for the construction of
  321  school facilities.
  322         (d)Funding for high-impact schools may be provided in the
  323  General Appropriations Act to support the following eligible
  324  expenditures:
  325         1.Preparing teachers, school leaders, and specialized
  326  instructional support personnel, including costs associated
  327  with:
  328         a.Providing professional development; and
  329         b.Hiring and compensating teachers, school leaders, and
  330  specialized instructional support personnel for services beyond
  331  the school day and year.
  332         2.Acquiring supplies, training, equipment, and educational
  333  materials, including developing and acquiring instructional
  334  materials.
  335         3.Providing one-time startup costs associated with
  336  providing transportation to students to and from the high-impact
  337  school.
  338         4.Carrying out community engagement activities, which may
  339  include paying the cost of student and staff recruitment.
  340         5.Providing funds to cover the nonvoted ad valorem millage
  341  that would otherwise be required for schools and the required
  342  local effort funds calculated pursuant to s. 1011.62 when the
  343  State Board of Education enters into an agreement with a high
  344  impact school operator pursuant to subsection (5).
  345         (e)If a high-impact school is not renewed or is
  346  terminated, any unencumbered funds and all equipment and
  347  property purchased with the funds shall revert to the ownership
  348  of the district school board. The reversion of such equipment,
  349  property, and furnishings shall focus on tangible or
  350  irrecoverable costs such as rental or leasing fees, normal
  351  maintenance, and limited renovations. The reversion of all
  352  property secured with grant funds is subject to the complete
  353  satisfaction of all lawful liens or encumbrances.
  355  Pursuant to Art. IX of the State Constitution, which prescribes
  356  the duty of the State Board of Education to supervise the public
  357  school system, the State Board of Education shall:
  358         (a)Publish an annual list of persistently low-performing
  359  schools after the release of preliminary school grades.
  360         (b)Adopt a standard notice of intent and performance-based
  361  agreement that must be used by high-impact school operators and
  362  district school boards to eliminate regulatory and bureaucratic
  363  barriers that delay access to high-quality schools for students
  364  in persistently low-performing schools.
  365         (c)Resolve disputes between a high-impact school operator
  366  and a school district arising from a performance-based agreement
  367  or a contract between a charter operator and a school district
  368  under the board’s oversight and enforcement authority and the
  369  requirements of s. 1008.33.
  370         (d)Provide students in persistently low-performing schools
  371  with a public school that meets accountability standards.
  372  Subject to the authorities and approvals specified under
  373  paragraph (4)(b), the State Board of Education may enter into a
  374  performance-based agreement with a high-impact school operator
  375  to establish a high-impact school. Upon the State Board of
  376  Education entering into a performance-based agreement with a
  377  high-impact school operator, the school district shall transfer
  378  to the high-impact school the proportionate share of state funds
  379  allocated from the Florida Education Finance Program.
  380         (10)RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt rules
  381  pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section.
  382         Section 2. Section 1001.292, Florida Statutes, is created
  383  to read:
  384         1001.292High-impact Schools Revolving Loan Program.—
  385         (1)The High-impact Schools Revolving Loan Program is
  386  established within the Department of Education to provide
  387  assistance to a high-impact school operator, as defined in s.
  388  1002.333, to meet school building construction needs and pay for
  389  expenses related to the startup of a new high-impact school. The
  390  program shall consist of funds appropriated by the Legislature,
  391  money received from the repayment of loans made from the
  392  program, and interest earned.
  393         (2)Funds provided pursuant to this section may not exceed
  394  25 percent of the total cost of the project, which shall be
  395  calculated based on 80 percent of the cost per student station
  396  established by s. 1013.64(6)(b) multiplied by the capacity of
  397  the facility.
  398         (3)The department may contract with a third-party
  399  administrator to administer the program. If the department
  400  contracts with a third-party administrator, funds shall be
  401  granted to the third-party administrator to create a revolving
  402  loan fund for the purpose of financing projects that meet the
  403  requirements of subsection (4). The third-party administrator
  404  shall report to the department annually. The department shall
  405  continue to administer the program until a third-party
  406  administrator is selected.
  407         (4)High-impact school operators that have been designated
  408  by the State Board of Education and have executed a performance
  409  based agreement pursuant to s. 1002.333 shall be provided a loan
  410  up to the amount provided in subsection (2) to support the
  411  performance-based contract components of high-impact schools, as
  412  defined in s. 1002.333(1).
  413         (5)The department shall post on its website the projects
  414  that have received loans, the geographic distribution of the
  415  projects, the status of the projects, the costs of the program,
  416  and student outcomes for students enrolled in the high-impact
  417  school receiving funds.
  418         (6)All repayments of principal and interest shall be
  419  returned to the loan fund and made available for loans to other
  420  applicants.
  421         (7)Interest on loans provided under this program may be
  422  used to defray the costs of administration and shall be the
  423  lower of:
  424         (a)The rate paid on moneys held in the fund; or
  425         (b)A rate equal to 50 percent of the rate authorized under
  426  s. 215.84.
  427         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.