Florida Senate - 2018                                    SB 1672
       By Senator Farmer
       34-00316-18                                           20181672__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
    3         1002.33, F.S.; revising the fiscal responsibility
    4         requirements for the charter school application and
    5         review process; amending s. 1013.24, F.S.; requiring
    6         private property taken by eminent domain for a public
    7         school purpose or use to be used only for traditional
    8         public schools; defining the term “traditional public
    9         schools”; amending s. 1013.62, F.S.; authorizing,
   10         rather than requiring, a school district to distribute
   11         specified funding to eligible charter schools in its
   12         district; amending s. 1011.71, F.S.; conforming a
   13         provision to changes made by the act; providing an
   14         effective date.
   16  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   18         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (6) of section
   19  1002.33, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   20         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   21         (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
   22  applications are subject to the following requirements:
   23         (b) A sponsor shall receive and review all applications for
   24  a charter school using the evaluation instrument developed by
   25  the Department of Education. A sponsor shall receive and
   26  consider charter school applications received on or before
   27  August 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened
   28  at the beginning of the school district’s next school year, or
   29  to be opened at a time agreed to by the applicant and the
   30  sponsor. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
   31  application submitted before August 1 and may receive an
   32  application submitted later than August 1 if it chooses.
   33  Beginning in 2018 and thereafter, a sponsor shall receive and
   34  consider charter school applications received on or before
   35  February 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be
   36  opened 18 months later at the beginning of the school district’s
   37  school year, or to be opened at a time agreed to by the
   38  applicant and the sponsor. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a
   39  charter school application submitted before February 1 and may
   40  receive an application submitted later than February 1 if it
   41  chooses. A sponsor may not charge an applicant for a charter any
   42  fee for the processing or consideration of an application, and a
   43  sponsor may not base its consideration or approval of a final
   44  application upon the promise of future payment of any kind.
   45  Before approving or denying any application, the sponsor shall
   46  allow the applicant, upon receipt of written notification, at
   47  least 7 calendar days to make technical or nonsubstantive
   48  corrections and clarifications, including, but not limited to,
   49  corrections of grammatical, typographical, and like errors or
   50  missing signatures, if such errors are identified by the sponsor
   51  as cause to deny the final application.
   52         1. In order to facilitate an accurate budget projection
   53  process, a sponsor shall be held harmless for FTE students who
   54  are not included in the FTE projection due to approval of
   55  charter school applications after the FTE projection deadline.
   56  In a further effort to facilitate an accurate budget projection,
   57  within 15 calendar days after receipt of a charter school
   58  application, a sponsor shall report to the Department of
   59  Education the name of the applicant entity, the proposed charter
   60  school location, and its projected FTE.
   61         2. In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, an application
   62  for a charter school must shall include proof that the entity
   63  financing the charter school has a bond rating of at least A- by
   64  a nationally recognized source; a full accounting of expected
   65  assets, a projection of expected sources and amounts of income,
   66  including income derived from projected student enrollments and
   67  from community support;, and an expense projection that includes
   68  full accounting of the costs of operation, including start-up
   69  costs. A school district that submits a conversion charter
   70  school application and that does not have a bond rating may
   71  receive up to $30,000 of state funds towards the creation of an
   72  implied general obligation rating.
   73         3.a. A sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or deny an
   74  application no later than 90 calendar days after the application
   75  is received, unless the sponsor and the applicant mutually agree
   76  in writing to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date,
   77  at which time the sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or
   78  deny the application. If the sponsor fails to act on the
   79  application, an applicant may appeal to the State Board of
   80  Education as provided in paragraph (c). If an application is
   81  denied, the sponsor shall, within 10 calendar days after such
   82  denial, articulate in writing the specific reasons, based upon
   83  good cause, supporting its denial of the application and shall
   84  provide the letter of denial and supporting documentation to the
   85  applicant and to the Department of Education.
   86         b. An application submitted by a high-performing charter
   87  school identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or a high-performing
   88  charter school system identified pursuant to s. 1002.332 may be
   89  denied by the sponsor only if the sponsor demonstrates by clear
   90  and convincing evidence that:
   91         (I) The application does not materially comply with the
   92  requirements in paragraph (a);
   93         (II) The charter school proposed in the application does
   94  not materially comply with the requirements in paragraphs
   95  (9)(a)-(f);
   96         (III) The proposed charter school’s educational program
   97  does not substantially replicate that of the applicant or one of
   98  the applicant’s high-performing charter schools;
   99         (IV) The applicant has made a material misrepresentation or
  100  false statement or concealed an essential or material fact
  101  during the application process; or
  102         (V) The proposed charter school’s educational program and
  103  financial management practices do not materially comply with the
  104  requirements of this section.
  106  Material noncompliance is a failure to follow requirements or a
  107  violation of prohibitions applicable to charter school
  108  applications, which failure is quantitatively or qualitatively
  109  significant either individually or when aggregated with other
  110  noncompliance. An applicant is considered to be replicating a
  111  high-performing charter school if the proposed school is
  112  substantially similar to at least one of the applicant’s high
  113  performing charter schools and the organization or individuals
  114  involved in the establishment and operation of the proposed
  115  school are significantly involved in the operation of replicated
  116  schools.
  117         c. If the sponsor denies an application submitted by a
  118  high-performing charter school or a high-performing charter
  119  school system, the sponsor must, within 10 calendar days after
  120  such denial, state in writing the specific reasons, based upon
  121  the criteria in sub-subparagraph b., supporting its denial of
  122  the application and must provide the letter of denial and
  123  supporting documentation to the applicant and to the Department
  124  of Education. The applicant may appeal the sponsor’s denial of
  125  the application in accordance with paragraph (c).
  126         4. For budget projection purposes, the sponsor shall report
  127  to the Department of Education the approval or denial of an
  128  application within 10 calendar days after such approval or
  129  denial. In the event of approval, the report to the Department
  130  of Education shall include the final projected FTE for the
  131  approved charter school.
  132         5. Upon approval of an application, the initial startup
  133  shall commence with the beginning of the public school calendar
  134  for the district in which the charter is granted. A charter
  135  school may defer the opening of the school’s operations for up
  136  to 2 years to provide time for adequate facility planning. The
  137  charter school must provide written notice of such intent to the
  138  sponsor and the parents of enrolled students at least 30
  139  calendar days before the first day of school.
  140         Section 2. Section 1013.24, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  141  read:
  142         1013.24 Right of eminent domain.—There is conferred upon
  143  the district school boards in the state the authority and right
  144  to take private property for any public school purpose or use
  145  when, in the opinion of the school board, such property is
  146  needed in the operation of any or all of the traditional public
  147  schools within the district, including property needed for any
  148  school purpose or use in any school district or districts within
  149  the county. The absolute fee simple title to all property so
  150  taken and acquired shall vest in the district school board,
  151  unless the school board seeks to appropriate a particular right
  152  or estate in such property. For purposes of this section, the
  153  term “traditional public schools” does not include charter
  154  schools.
  155         Section 3. Subsection (3) of section 1013.62, Florida
  156  Statutes, is amended to read:
  157         1013.62 Charter schools capital outlay funding.—
  158         (3) If the school board levies the discretionary millage
  159  authorized in s. 1011.71(2), the department shall use the
  160  following calculation methodology to determine the amount of
  161  revenue that a school district may, at the discretion of the
  162  school board, must distribute to each eligible charter school:
  163         (a) Reduce the total discretionary millage revenue by the
  164  school district’s annual debt service obligation incurred as of
  165  March 1, 2017, and any amount of participation requirement
  166  pursuant to s. 1013.64(2)(a)8. that is being satisfied by
  167  revenues raised by the discretionary millage.
  168         (b) Divide the school district’s adjusted discretionary
  169  millage revenue by the district’s total capital outlay full-time
  170  equivalent membership and the total number of unweighted full
  171  time equivalent students of each eligible charter school to
  172  determine a capital outlay allocation per full-time equivalent
  173  student.
  174         (c) Multiply the capital outlay allocation per full-time
  175  equivalent student by the total number of full-time equivalent
  176  students of each eligible charter school to determine the
  177  capital outlay allocation for each charter school.
  178         (d) If applicable, reduce the capital outlay allocation
  179  identified in paragraph (c) by the total amount of state funds
  180  allocated to each eligible charter school in subsection (2) to
  181  determine the maximum calculated capital outlay allocation.
  182         (e) A school district that chooses to share capital outlay
  183  funds with charter schools within the district districts shall
  184  distribute the capital outlay funds to the charter schools no
  185  later than February 1 of each year, beginning on February 1,
  186  2018, for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
  187         Section 4. Subsection (2) of section 1011.71, Florida
  188  Statutes, is amended to read:
  189         1011.71 District school tax.—
  190         (2) In addition to the maximum millage levy as provided in
  191  subsection (1), each school board may levy not more than 1.5
  192  mills against the taxable value for school purposes for charter
  193  schools pursuant to s. 1013.62(3), at the discretion of the
  194  district school board, and for district schools to fund:
  195         (a) New construction and remodeling projects, as set forth
  196  in s. 1013.64(3)(d) and (6)(b) and included in the district’s
  197  educational plant survey pursuant to s. 1013.31, without regard
  198  to prioritization, sites and site improvement or expansion to
  199  new sites, existing sites, auxiliary facilities, athletic
  200  facilities, or ancillary facilities.
  201         (b) Maintenance, renovation, and repair of existing school
  202  plants or of leased facilities to correct deficiencies pursuant
  203  to s. 1013.15(2).
  204         (c) The purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of school buses.
  205         (d) The purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of new and
  206  replacement equipment; computer and device hardware and
  207  operating system software necessary for gaining access to or
  208  enhancing the use of electronic and digital instructional
  209  content and resources; and enterprise resource software
  210  applications that are classified as capital assets in accordance
  211  with definitions of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board,
  212  have a useful life of at least 5 years, and are used to support
  213  districtwide administration or state-mandated reporting
  214  requirements. Enterprise resource software may be acquired by
  215  annual license fees, maintenance fees, or lease agreements.
  216         (e) Payments for educational facilities and sites due under
  217  a lease-purchase agreement entered into by a district school
  218  board pursuant to s. 1003.02(1)(f) or s. 1013.15(2), not
  219  exceeding, in the aggregate, an amount equal to three-fourths of
  220  the proceeds from the millage levied by a district school board
  221  pursuant to this subsection. The three-fourths limit is waived
  222  for lease-purchase agreements entered into before June 30, 2009,
  223  by a district school board pursuant to this paragraph.
  224         (f) Payment of loans approved pursuant to ss. 1011.14 and
  225  1011.15.
  226         (g) Payment of costs directly related to complying with
  227  state and federal environmental statutes, rules, and regulations
  228  governing school facilities.
  229         (h) Payment of costs of leasing relocatable educational
  230  facilities, of renting or leasing educational facilities and
  231  sites pursuant to s. 1013.15(2), or of renting or leasing
  232  buildings or space within existing buildings pursuant to s.
  233  1013.15(4).
  234         (i) Payment of the cost of school buses when a school
  235  district contracts with a private entity to provide student
  236  transportation services if the district meets the requirements
  237  of this paragraph.
  238         1. The district’s contract must require that the private
  239  entity purchase, lease-purchase, or lease, and operate and
  240  maintain, one or more school buses of a specific type and size
  241  that meet the requirements of s. 1006.25.
  242         2. Each such school bus must be used for the daily
  243  transportation of public school students in the manner required
  244  by the school district.
  245         3. Annual payment for each such school bus may not exceed
  246  10 percent of the purchase price of the state pool bid.
  247         4. The proposed expenditure of the funds for this purpose
  248  must have been included in the district school board’s notice of
  249  proposed tax for school capital outlay as provided in s.
  250  200.065(10).
  251         (j) Payment of the cost of the opening day collection for
  252  the library media center of a new school.
  253         (k) Payout of sick leave and annual leave accrued as of
  254  June 30, 2017, by individuals who are no longer employed by a
  255  school district that transfers to a charter school operator all
  256  day-to-day classroom instruction responsibility for all full
  257  time equivalent students funded under s. 1011.62. This paragraph
  258  expires July 1, 2018.
  259         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.