Florida Senate - 2017 CS for CS for SB 796 By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education; and Senator Bean 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. 35 36 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 37 38 Section 1. Section 1002.333, Florida Statutes, is created 39 to read: 40 1002.333 High-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. 91 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. 100 (3) DESIGNATION OF HIGH-IMPACT SCHOOL OPERATOR.—Initial 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. 207 (6) AUTHORIZED FLEXIBILITIES.— 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. 354 (9) STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATIONS. 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 1001.292 High-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.