Florida Senate - 2019                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 1224
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/10/2019           .                                

       The Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability
       (Farmer) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete lines 105 - 578
    4  and insert:
    5         (3) All applicants are subject to level 2 background
    6  screening as provided under chapter 435. An applicant is
    7  ineligible, and a credentialing entity shall deny the
    8  application, if the applicant has been found guilty of, or has
    9  entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of
   10  adjudication, any offense listed in s. 435.04(2) unless the
   11  department has issued an exemption under s. 397.4872. In
   12  accordance with s. 435.04, the Department of Law Enforcement
   13  shall notify the credentialing entity of the applicant’s
   14  eligibility based on the results of his or her background
   15  screening. Once applicants are fingerprinted and pass the
   16  appropriate background screening in any single school district,
   17  the results of such fingerprinting and background screening
   18  shall be valid and such applicants may not subsequently be
   19  required to be fingerprinted or pass an appropriate background
   20  screening. The credentialing entity shall confirm whether an
   21  applicant has previously been fingerprinted and passed the
   22  appropriate background screening within the school district.
   23         (4) The credentialing entity shall issue a certificate of
   24  compliance upon approval of a person’s application. The
   25  certification shall automatically terminate 1 year after
   26  issuance if not renewed.
   27         (a) A credentialing entity may suspend or revoke the
   28  certificate of compliance of a charter school principal, a
   29  charter school governing board member, or a charter school chief
   30  financial officer if the charter school principal, the charter
   31  school governing board member, or the charter school chief
   32  financial officer fails to adhere to the continuing education
   33  requirements.
   34         (b) A credentialing entity shall revoke a certificate of
   35  compliance of a charter school principal, charter school
   36  governing board member, or charter school chief financial
   37  officer if the charter school principal, charter school
   38  governing board member, or charter school chief financial
   39  officer provides false or misleading information to the
   40  credentialing entity at any time.
   41         (c) If a charter school principal, charter school governing
   42  board member, or charter school chief financial officer is
   43  arrested for or found guilty of, or enters a plea of guilty or
   44  nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, any offense
   45  listed in s. 435.04(2) while acting in that capacity, the
   46  charter school shall immediately remove the person from that
   47  position and shall notify the credentialing entity within 3
   48  business days after such removal.
   49         (5) Any decision by a department-recognized credentialing
   50  program to deny certification or otherwise impose sanctions on
   51  an individual who is certified is reviewable by the department.
   52  The individual aggrieved may request an administrative hearing
   53  conducted pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57(1) within 30 days
   54  after receiving an adverse determination after completing any
   55  appeals process offered by the credentialing program.
   56         Section 3. Present paragraphs (g), (h), and (i) of
   57  subsection (12) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are
   58  redesignated as paragraphs (h), (i), and (j), respectively, and
   59  a new paragraph (g) is added to that subsection, paragraph (g)
   60  is added to subsection (8), and paragraph (b) of subsection (6)
   61  and paragraph (a) of subsection (7) of that section are amended,
   62  to read:
   63         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   64         (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
   65  applications are subject to the following requirements:
   66         (b) A sponsor shall receive and review all applications for
   67  a charter school using the evaluation instrument developed by
   68  the Department of Education. A sponsor shall receive and
   69  consider charter school applications received on or before
   70  August 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened
   71  at the beginning of the school district’s next school year, or
   72  to be opened at a time determined agreed to by the applicant and
   73  the sponsor. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter
   74  school application submitted before August 1 and may receive an
   75  application submitted later than August 1 if it chooses.
   76  Beginning in 2018 and thereafter, A sponsor shall also receive
   77  and consider charter school applications received on or before
   78  February 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be
   79  opened 18 months later at the beginning of the school district’s
   80  school year, or to be opened at a time determined by the
   81  applicant. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
   82  application submitted before February 1 and may receive an
   83  application submitted later than February 1 if it chooses. A
   84  sponsor may not charge an applicant for a charter any fee for
   85  the processing or consideration of an application, and a sponsor
   86  may not base its consideration or approval of a final
   87  application upon the promise of future payment of any kind. If
   88  an applicant is ready to do so, it may open a charter school
   89  before the school district’s next school year after approval of
   90  the charter school application submitted by either application
   91  deadline. Before approving or denying any application, the
   92  sponsor shall allow the applicant, upon receipt of written
   93  notification, at least 7 calendar days to make technical or
   94  nonsubstantive corrections and clarifications, including, but
   95  not limited to, corrections of grammatical, typographical, and
   96  like errors or missing signatures, if such errors are identified
   97  by the sponsor as cause to deny the final application.
   98         1. In order to facilitate an accurate budget projection
   99  process, a sponsor shall be held harmless for FTE students who
  100  are not included in the FTE projection due to approval of
  101  charter school applications after the FTE projection deadline.
  102  In a further effort to facilitate an accurate budget projection,
  103  within 15 calendar days after receipt of a charter school
  104  application, a sponsor shall report to the Department of
  105  Education the name of the applicant entity, the proposed charter
  106  school location, and its projected FTE.
  107         2. In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, an application
  108  for a charter school shall include a full accounting of expected
  109  assets, a projection of expected sources and amounts of income,
  110  including income derived from projected student enrollments and
  111  from community support, and an expense projection that includes
  112  full accounting of the costs of operation, including start-up
  113  costs.
  114         3.a. A sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or deny an
  115  application no later than 90 calendar days after the application
  116  is received, unless the sponsor and the applicant mutually agree
  117  in writing to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date,
  118  at which time the sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or
  119  deny the application. If the sponsor fails to act on the
  120  application, an applicant may appeal to the State Board of
  121  Education as provided in paragraph (c). If an application is
  122  denied, the sponsor shall, within 10 calendar days after such
  123  denial, articulate in writing the specific reasons, based upon
  124  good cause, supporting its denial of the application and shall
  125  provide the letter of denial and supporting documentation to the
  126  applicant and to the Department of Education.
  127         b. An application submitted by a high-performing charter
  128  school identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or a high-performing
  129  charter school system identified pursuant to s. 1002.332 may be
  130  denied by the sponsor only if the sponsor demonstrates by clear
  131  and convincing evidence that:
  132         (I) The application of a high-performing charter school
  133  does not materially comply with the requirements in paragraph
  134  (a) or, for a high-performing charter school system, the
  135  application does not materially comply with s. 1002.332(2)(b);
  136         (II) The charter school proposed in the application does
  137  not materially comply with the requirements in paragraphs
  138  (9)(a)-(f);
  139         (III) The proposed charter school’s educational program
  140  does not substantially replicate that of the applicant or one of
  141  the applicant’s high-performing charter schools;
  142         (IV) The applicant has made a material misrepresentation or
  143  false statement or concealed an essential or material fact
  144  during the application process; or
  145         (V) The proposed charter school’s educational program and
  146  financial management practices do not materially comply with the
  147  requirements of this section.
  149  Material noncompliance is a failure to follow requirements or a
  150  violation of prohibitions applicable to charter school
  151  applications, which failure is quantitatively or qualitatively
  152  significant either individually or when aggregated with other
  153  noncompliance. An applicant is considered to be replicating a
  154  high-performing charter school if the proposed school is
  155  substantially similar to at least one of the applicant’s high
  156  performing charter schools and the organization or individuals
  157  involved in the establishment and operation of the proposed
  158  school are significantly involved in the operation of replicated
  159  schools.
  160         c. If the sponsor denies an application submitted by a
  161  high-performing charter school or a high-performing charter
  162  school system, the sponsor must, within 10 calendar days after
  163  such denial, state in writing the specific reasons, based upon
  164  the criteria in sub-subparagraph b., supporting its denial of
  165  the application and must provide the letter of denial and
  166  supporting documentation to the applicant and to the Department
  167  of Education. The applicant may appeal the sponsor’s denial of
  168  the application in accordance with paragraph (c).
  169         4. For budget projection purposes, the sponsor shall report
  170  to the Department of Education the approval or denial of an
  171  application within 10 calendar days after such approval or
  172  denial. In the event of approval, the report to the Department
  173  of Education shall include the final projected FTE for the
  174  approved charter school.
  175         5. Upon approval of an application, the initial startup
  176  shall commence with the beginning of the public school calendar
  177  for the district in which the charter is granted. A charter
  178  school may defer the opening of the school’s operations for up
  179  to 3 years to provide time for adequate facility planning. The
  180  charter school must provide written notice of such intent to the
  181  sponsor and the parents of enrolled students at least 30
  182  calendar days before the first day of school.
  183         (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
  184  a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
  185  applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
  186  The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
  187  use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
  188  which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
  189  approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
  190  proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
  191  contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
  192  be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
  193  sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
  194  violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
  195  to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
  196  governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
  197  a public hearing to ensure community input.
  198         (a) The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
  199  the charter shall be based on:
  200         1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
  201  ages and grades to be included.
  202         2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
  203  to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
  204  employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
  205  technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
  206  performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
  207  and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
  208  professional standards.
  209         a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
  210  of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
  211  and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
  212  below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
  213  for reading must be consistent with the Next Generation Sunshine
  214  State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
  215  research.
  216         b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
  217  instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
  218  technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
  219  provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
  220  21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
  221  methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
  222  traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
  223  Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
  224  combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
  225  instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
  226  time students of the charter school pursuant to s.
  227  1011.61(1)(a)1. Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s.
  228  1012.55 who provide virtual instruction for blended learning
  229  courses may be employees of the charter school or may be under
  230  contract to provide instructional services to charter school
  231  students. At a minimum, such instructional personnel must hold
  232  an active state or school district adjunct certification under
  233  s. 1012.57 for the subject area of the blended learning course.
  234  The funding and performance accountability requirements for
  235  blended learning courses are the same as those for traditional
  236  courses.
  237         3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
  238  academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
  239  method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
  240  this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
  241         a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
  242  prior rates of academic progress will be established.
  243         b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
  244  academic progress achieved by these same students while
  245  attending the charter school.
  246         c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
  247  be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
  248  closely comparable student populations.
  250  The district school board is required to provide academic
  251  student performance data to charter schools for each of their
  252  students coming from the district school system, as well as
  253  rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
  254  the district school system.
  255         4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
  256  and needs of students and how well educational goals and
  257  performance standards are met by students attending the charter
  258  school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
  259  to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
  260  student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
  261  efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
  262  charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
  263  statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
  264         5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
  265  that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
  266  s. 1002.3105(5), s. 1003.4281, or s. 1003.4282.
  267         6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
  268  board of the charter school and the sponsor.
  269         7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
  270  including the school’s code of student conduct. Admission or
  271  dismissal must not be based on a student’s academic performance.
  272         8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
  273  racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
  274  within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
  275  same school district.
  276         9. The financial and administrative management of the
  277  school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
  278  experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
  279  applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
  280  retained to perform such professional services and the
  281  description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
  282  policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
  283  school. A description of internal audit procedures and
  284  establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
  285  properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
  286  private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
  287  such a consideration.
  288         10. The asset and liability projections required in the
  289  application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
  290  compared with information provided in the annual report of the
  291  charter school.
  292         11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
  293  and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
  294  losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
  295  staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
  296  violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
  297  the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
  298  will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
  299  terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
  300         12. The term of the charter which shall provide for
  301  cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
  302  made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
  303  charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
  304  achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
  305  charter shall be for 5 years, excluding 2 planning years. In
  306  order to facilitate access to long-term financial resources for
  307  charter school construction, charter schools that are operated
  308  by a municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
  309  eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
  310  district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
  311  charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
  312  access to long-term financial resources for charter school
  313  construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
  314  not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
  315  up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the district
  316  school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to annual
  317  review and may be terminated during the term of the charter, but
  318  only according to the provisions set forth in subsection (8).
  319         13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
  320  sponsor may not require a charter school to have a certificate
  321  of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for such a
  322  facility earlier than 15 calendar days before the first day of
  323  school.
  324         14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
  325  the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
  326  retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
  327         15. The governance structure of the school, including the
  328  status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
  329  required in paragraph (12)(j) (12)(i).
  330         16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
  331  addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
  332  date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
  333  timetable.
  334         17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
  335  converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
  336  current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
  337  for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
  338  school after conversion in accordance with the existing
  339  collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
  340  the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
  341  alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
  342  teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
  343  as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
  344  which grants the charter to the lab school.
  345         18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
  346  employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
  347  school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
  348  directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
  349  assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
  350  school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
  351  purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
  352  mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
  353  cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
  354  law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
  355  stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
  356  stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
  357         19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
  358  1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
  359  requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
  360  performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
  361  March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
  362  levels the following school year. The written notice shall
  363  specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
  364  levels that will be added, as applicable.
  366         (g)1. If a charter is terminated or a charter school closes
  367  before the end of a school year or within 3 years after
  368  beginning operations and, after a specific finding by the school
  369  district of material fraud, disregard of generally accepted
  370  accounting principles, or of intentional malfeasance by an
  371  applicant for the charter, the charter school owner, the charter
  372  school president, charter school governing board members, and
  373  the relatives of such owner, upon findings made by the school
  374  district, the applicant for the charter, the charter school
  375  owner, the charter school president, the charter school
  376  governing board members, and the relatives of such owner,
  377  president, or governing board member may not submit an
  378  application to open a charter school in this state pursuant to
  379  subsection (6) for a period of 5 years after the termination of
  380  the charter or closure of the charter school. The applicant for
  381  the charter, the charter school owner, the charter school
  382  president, the charter school governing board members, and the
  383  relatives of such owner, president, or governing board member,
  384  may appeal to the charter appeals commission the school
  385  district’s finding of material fraud, intentional malfeasance,
  386  or disregard of generally accepted accounting principles.
  387         2. If a charter school owner, a charter school president, a
  388  member of a charter school governing board, a charter management
  389  organization, or an education management organization is
  390  convicted of a crime, including, but not limited to, material
  391  fraud or serious financial theft offenses, misrepresentation,
  392  fraud, or misappropriation related to the operation of a charter
  393  school, that owner, president, or governing board member,
  394  including any relatives of such individuals, or the charter
  395  management organization or the education management
  396  organization, may not submit an application to open a charter
  397  school in this state pursuant to subsection (6) for a period of
  398  10 years after such conviction.
  400  For the purpose of this paragraph, the term “relative” has the
  401  same meaning as specified in subparagraph (24)(a)2.
  403         (g) Each charter school principal, governing board member,
  404  chief financial officer, or equivalent position must hold a
  405  valid certification issued by a third-party credentialing entity
  406  that is recognized under s. 1001.241, at least 30 days before
  407  the school opens or within 30 days of the first date of
  408  employment, whichever comes first. The credentialing entity must
  409  certify the individual’s core competence in the administration
  410  of a charter school, including, but not limited to, developing
  411  and adjusting business plans; accurate financial planning and
  412  good business practices, including accounting for costs and
  413  income; state and federal grant and student performance
  414  accountability requirements; identification of, and application
  415  for, state and federal funding sources; and governance,
  416  including government in the sunshine, conflicts of interest,
  417  ethics, and financial responsibility. An individual certified
  418  under this paragraph meets the training requirements under
  419  subparagraph (h)3., paragraph (6)(f), and subparagraph (9)(j)4.
  420         Section 4. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
  421  1002.45, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  422         1002.45 Virtual instruction programs.—
  423         (1) PROGRAM.—
  424         (d) A virtual charter school may provide part-time and
  425  full-time virtual instruction for students in kindergarten
  426  through grade 12 if the virtual charter school has a charter
  427  approved pursuant to s. 1002.33 authorizing full-time virtual
  428  instruction. A virtual charter school may:
  429         1. Contract with the Florida Virtual School.
  430         2. Contract with or be an approved provider under
  431  subsection (2).
  432         3. Enter into an agreement with a school district to allow
  433  the participation of the virtual charter school’s students in
  434  the school district’s virtual instruction program. The agreement
  435  must indicate a process for reporting of student enrollment and
  436  the transfer of funds required by paragraph (7)(e).
  438  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  439  And the title is amended as follows:
  440         Delete lines 10 - 58
  441  and insert:
  442         providing that applicants who submit applications to a
  443         credentialing entity are subject to a certain
  444         background screening; providing for the ineligibility
  445         of certain applicants; requiring the Department of Law
  446         Enforcement to notify the credentialing entity of an
  447         applicant’s background screening results; providing
  448         that the results of fingerprinting and background
  449         screening of applicants who meet certain requirements
  450         are valid and such applicants are not required to be
  451         subsequently fingerprinted or pass another background
  452         screening; requiring credentialing entities to confirm
  453         whether an applicant has previously been fingerprinted
  454         and passed a background screening within a school
  455         district; requiring credentialing entities to issue
  456         certificates of compliance upon approval of a person’s
  457         application; providing for termination of the
  458         certification after a specified time period if the
  459         certification is not renewed; authorizing
  460         credentialing entities to suspend or revoke a
  461         certificate of compliance under specified conditions;
  462         requiring charter schools to remove a charter school
  463         principal, charter school governing board member, or
  464         charter school chief financial officer from his or her
  465         position, as applicable, under specified conditions;
  466         requiring charter schools to notify the credentialing
  467         entity of such removal; providing that certain
  468         decisions by a department-recognized credentialing
  469         program are reviewable by the Department of Education;
  470         providing that an aggrieved person may request an
  471         administrative hearing within a specified timeframe
  472         after receiving an adverse determination after
  473         completion of an appeals process offered by the
  474         credentialing program; amending s. 1002.33, F.S.;
  475         deleting obsolete language; revising charter school
  476         application deadline requirements; authorizing certain
  477         charter school applicants to open charter schools
  478         before a specified timeframe and after approval;
  479         prohibiting specified individuals and entities from
  480         submitting an application to open a charter school for
  481         specified periods of time; defining the term
  482         “relative” for the purpose of applying the
  483         prohibition; requiring each charter school principal,
  484         governing board member, chief financial officer, or
  485         their equivalent, to meet certain certification
  486         requirements; amending s. 1002.45, F.S.; authorizing
  487         virtual charter schools to provide part-time virtual
  488         instruction for certain students; providing that a
  489         charter school may be an approved provider; providing
  490         an effective date.