Florida Senate - 2019 SB 1668
By Senator Hutson
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to school choice; amending s. 1002.33,
3 F.S.; revising the purposes that charter schools are
4 authorized to fulfill; authorizing state universities
5 to sponsor charter schools to meet regional education
6 and workforce demands by serving students from
7 multiple counties; authorizing Florida College System
8 institutions to sponsor charter schools within their
9 respective service areas for a certain purpose and to
10 offer postsecondary programs leading to industry
11 certifications to eligible students; revising sponsor
12 duties relating to an annual report submitted to the
13 Department of Education; requiring the department, in
14 collaboration with charter school sponsors and
15 operators, to develop a framework for the evaluation
16 of sponsors; providing requirements for such
17 framework; revising requirements related to the
18 receipt and consideration of charter school
19 applications; deleting obsolete language; revising the
20 areas required to be addressed by charters, which also
21 serve as the basis for approval criteria; conforming
22 provisions to changes made by the act; revising
23 requirements for an annual survey required to be
24 submitted to the department by charter schools;
25 providing that the standard charter renewal contract
26 be developed by consulting and negotiating with
27 sponsors and charter schools; revising charter school
28 reporting requirements; revising requirements for a
29 charter school system’s governing board to be
30 designated a local educational agency; requiring the
31 department to consult with sponsors, instead of school
32 districts, when recommending certain rules; making
33 technical changes; providing an effective date.
35 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
37 Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2), subsection (5),
38 paragraph (b) of subsection (6), paragraphs (a) and (d) of
39 subsection (7), paragraphs (d) and (e) of subsection (8),
40 subsection (14), paragraph (c) of subsection (15), paragraphs
41 (a) and (e) of subsection (17), paragraph (e) of subsection
42 (18), and subsections (20), (21), (25), and (28) of section
43 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
44 1002.33 Charter schools.—
45 (2) GUIDING PRINCIPLES; PURPOSE.—
46 (c) Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
47 1. Create innovative measurement tools.
48 2. Provide rigorous competition within the public school
district to stimulate continual improvement in all public
51 3. Expand the capacity of the public school system.
52 4. Mitigate the educational impact created by the
53 development of new residential dwelling units.
54 5. Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
55 including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
56 (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
57 (a) Sponsoring entities.—
58 1. A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
59 the county over which the district school board has
61 2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
62 created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
63 school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
65 3. Because needs relating to educational capacity,
66 workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities are
67 constantly changing and extend beyond school district
69 a. A state university may sponsor a charter school to meet
70 regional education or workforce demands by serving students from
71 multiple counties.
72 b. A Florida College System institution may sponsor a
73 charter school in any county within its service area to meet
74 workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading
75 to industry certifications to eligible students of the charter
77 (b) Sponsor duties.—
78 1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
79 school in its progress toward the goals established in the
81 b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
82 of the charter school and perform the duties provided in
83 s. 1002.345.
84 c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
85 before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
86 personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
87 it to raise working funds.
88 d. The sponsor shall not apply its policies to a charter
89 school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
90 charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any agreed
91 upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect at the
92 time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
93 modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
94 not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
95 newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
97 e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
98 and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
100 f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
101 participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
102 a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
103 the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
104 to the Department of Education.
105 g. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
106 state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
107 resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
108 agent, or governing body of the charter school.
109 h. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
110 state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
111 employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
112 i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall
113 not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
114 j. The sponsor shall not impose additional reporting
115 requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
116 and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
117 k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
118 Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
119 by the department.
120 (I) The report shall include the following information:
121 (A) The number of draft applications received on or before
122 May 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
123 (A) (B) The number of final applications received on or
124 before February 1 August 1 and each applicant’s contact
126 (B) (C) The date each application was approved, denied, or
128 (C) (D) The date each final contract was executed.
129 (II) Annually, by November 1 Beginning August 31, 2013, and
130 each year thereafter, the sponsor shall submit to the department
131 the information for the applications submitted the previous
133 (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
134 sponsor district, and post the report on its website by January
135 15 November 1 of each year.
136 2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
137 subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
138 not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
140 3. This paragraph does not waive a sponsor’s district
141 school board’s sovereign immunity.
142 4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
143 school district or school districts in its designated service
144 area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
145 These charter schools must include an option for students to
146 receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
147 Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
148 preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
149 institution may operate no more than one charter school that
150 serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. In
151 kindergarten through grade 8, the charter school shall implement
152 innovative blended learning instructional models in which, for a
153 given course, a student learns in part through online delivery
154 of content and instruction with some element of student control
155 over time, place, path, or pace and in part at a supervised
156 brick-and-mortar location away from home. A student in a blended
157 learning course must be a full-time student of the charter
158 school and receive the online instruction in a classroom setting
159 at the charter school. District school boards shall cooperate
160 with and assist the Florida College System institution on the
161 charter application. Florida College System institution
162 applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
163 deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
164 district school board at any time during the year. Florida
165 College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
166 who receive FTE funding through the Florida Education Finance
168 5. A school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
169 agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
170 municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
171 within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
172 behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
173 issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
174 permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
175 needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
176 charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
177 district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
178 include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
179 that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
180 must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
181 the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
182 providing such services. These services and fees are not
183 included within the services to be provided pursuant to
184 subsection (20).
185 (c) Sponsor accountability.—
186 1. The department, in collaboration with charter school
187 sponsors and charter school operators, shall develop a sponsor
188 evaluation framework that addresses, at a minimum:
189 a. The sponsor’s strategic vision for charter school
190 authorization and its progress toward realizing that vision.
191 b. The alignment of the sponsor’s policies and practices to
192 authorization best practices.
193 c. The academic and financial performance of all operating
194 charter schools overseen by the sponsor.
195 d. The status of charter schools authorized by the sponsor,
196 including approved, operating, and closed schools.
197 2. The department shall compile the evaluation results by
198 district and shall include the results in the report required
199 under sub-sub-subparagraph (b)1.k.(III).
200 (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
201 applications are subject to the following requirements:
202 (b) A sponsor shall receive and review all applications for
203 a charter school using the evaluation instrument developed by
204 the Department of Education. A sponsor shall receive and
205 consider charter school applications received on or before
206 August 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened
207 at the beginning of the school district’s next school year, or
208 to be opened at a time agreed to by the applicant and the
209 sponsor. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
210 application submitted before August 1 and may receive an
211 application submitted later than August 1 if it chooses.
212 Beginning in 2018 and thereafter, A sponsor shall receive and
213 consider charter school applications received on or before
214 February 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be
215 opened 18 months later at the beginning of the school district’s
216 school year, or to be opened at a time determined by the
217 applicant. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
218 application submitted before February 1 and may receive an
219 application submitted later than February 1 if it chooses. A
220 sponsor may not charge an applicant for a charter any fee for
221 the processing or consideration of an application, and a sponsor
222 may not base its consideration or approval of a final
223 application upon the promise of future payment of any kind.
224 Before approving or denying any application, the sponsor shall
225 allow the applicant, upon receipt of written notification, at
226 least 7 calendar days to make technical or nonsubstantive
227 corrections and clarifications, including, but not limited to,
228 corrections of grammatical, typographical, and like errors or
229 missing signatures, if such errors are identified by the sponsor
230 as cause to deny the final application.
231 1. In order to facilitate an accurate budget projection
232 process, a sponsor shall be held harmless for FTE students who
233 are not included in the FTE projection due to approval of
234 charter school applications after the FTE projection deadline.
235 In a further effort to facilitate an accurate budget projection,
236 within 15 calendar days after receipt of a charter school
237 application, a sponsor shall report to the Department of
238 Education the name of the applicant entity, the proposed charter
239 school location, and its projected FTE.
240 2. In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, an application
241 for a charter school shall include a full accounting of expected
242 assets, a projection of expected sources and amounts of income,
243 including income derived from projected student enrollments and
244 from community support, and an expense projection that includes
245 full accounting of the costs of operation, including start-up
247 3.a. A sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or deny an
248 application no later than 90 calendar days after the application
249 is received, unless the sponsor and the applicant mutually agree
250 in writing to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date,
251 at which time the sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or
252 deny the application. If the sponsor fails to act on the
253 application, an applicant may appeal to the State Board of
254 Education as provided in paragraph (c). If an application is
255 denied, the sponsor shall, within 10 calendar days after such
256 denial, articulate in writing the specific reasons, based upon
257 good cause, supporting its denial of the application and shall
258 provide the letter of denial and supporting documentation to the
259 applicant and to the Department of Education.
260 b. An application submitted by a high-performing charter
261 school identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or a high-performing
262 charter school system identified pursuant to s. 1002.332 may be
263 denied by the sponsor only if the sponsor demonstrates by clear
264 and convincing evidence that:
265 (I) The application of a high-performing charter school
266 does not materially comply with the requirements in paragraph
267 (a) or, for a high-performing charter school system, the
268 application does not materially comply with s. 1002.332(2)(b);
269 (II) The charter school proposed in the application does
270 not materially comply with the requirements in paragraphs
272 (III) The proposed charter school’s educational program
273 does not substantially replicate that of the applicant or one of
274 the applicant’s high-performing charter schools;
275 (IV) The applicant has made a material misrepresentation or
276 false statement or concealed an essential or material fact
277 during the application process; or
278 (V) The proposed charter school’s educational program and
279 financial management practices do not materially comply with the
280 requirements of this section.
282 Material noncompliance is a failure to follow requirements or a
283 violation of prohibitions applicable to charter school
284 applications, which failure is quantitatively or qualitatively
285 significant either individually or when aggregated with other
286 noncompliance. An applicant is considered to be replicating a
287 high-performing charter school if the proposed school is
288 substantially similar to at least one of the applicant’s high
289 performing charter schools and the organization or individuals
290 involved in the establishment and operation of the proposed
291 school are significantly involved in the operation of replicated
293 c. If the sponsor denies an application submitted by a
294 high-performing charter school or a high-performing charter
295 school system, the sponsor must, within 10 calendar days after
296 such denial, state in writing the specific reasons, based upon
297 the criteria in sub-subparagraph b., supporting its denial of
298 the application and must provide the letter of denial and
299 supporting documentation to the applicant and to the Department
300 of Education. The applicant may appeal the sponsor’s denial of
301 the application in accordance with paragraph (c).
302 4. For budget projection purposes, the sponsor shall report
303 to the Department of Education the approval or denial of an
304 application within 10 calendar days after such approval or
305 denial. In the event of approval, the report to the Department
306 of Education shall include the final projected FTE for the
307 approved charter school.
308 5. Upon approval of an application, the initial startup
309 shall commence with the beginning of the public school calendar
310 for the district in which the charter is granted . A charter
311 school may defer the opening of the school’s operations for up
312 to 3 years to provide time for adequate facility planning. The
313 charter school must provide written notice of such intent to the
314 sponsor and the parents of enrolled students at least 30
315 calendar days before the first day of school.
316 (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
317 a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
318 applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
319 The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
320 use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
321 which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
322 approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
323 proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
324 contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
325 be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
326 sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
327 violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
328 to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
329 governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
330 a public hearing to ensure community input.
331 (a) The charter shall address, and criteria for approval of
332 the charter shall be based on:
333 1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
334 ages and grades to be included.
335 2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
336 to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
337 employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
338 technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
339 performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
340 and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
341 professional standards.
342 a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
343 of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
344 and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
345 below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
346 for reading must be consistent with the Next Generation Sunshine
347 State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
349 b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
350 instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
351 technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
352 provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
353 21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
354 methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
355 traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
356 Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
357 combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
358 instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
359 time students of the charter school pursuant to s.
360 1011.61(1)(a)1. Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s.
361 1012.55 who provide virtual instruction for blended learning
362 courses may be employees of the charter school or may be under
363 contract to provide instructional services to charter school
364 students. At a minimum, such instructional personnel must hold
365 an active state or school district adjunct certification under
366 s. 1012.57 for the subject area of the blended learning course.
367 The funding and performance accountability requirements for
368 blended learning courses are the same as those for traditional
370 3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
371 academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
372 method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
373 this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
374 a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
375 prior rates of academic progress will be established.
376 b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
377 academic progress achieved by these same students while
378 attending the charter school.
379 c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
380 be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
381 closely comparable student populations.
383 The district school board is required to provide academic
384 student performance data to charter schools for each of their
385 students coming from the district school system, as well as
386 rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
387 the district school system.
388 4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
389 and needs of students and how well educational goals and
390 performance standards are met by students attending the charter
391 school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
392 to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
393 student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
394 efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
395 charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
396 statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
397 5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
398 that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
399 s. 1002.3105(5), s. 1003.4281, or s. 1003.4282.
400 6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
401 board of the charter school and the sponsor.
402 7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
403 including the school’s code of student conduct. Admission or
404 dismissal must not be based on a student’s academic performance.
405 8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
406 racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
407 within the racial/ethnic range of other nearby public schools in
408 the same school district.
409 9. The financial and administrative management of the
410 school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
411 experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
412 applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
413 retained to perform such professional services and the
414 description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
415 policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
416 school. A description of internal audit procedures and
417 establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
418 properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
419 private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
420 such a consideration.
421 10. The asset and liability projections required in the
422 application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
423 compared with information provided in the annual report of the
424 charter school.
425 11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
426 and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
427 losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
428 staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
429 violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
430 the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
431 will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
432 terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
433 12. The term of the charter, which must shall provide for
434 cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
435 made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
436 charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
437 achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
438 charter shall be for 5 years, excluding 2 planning years. In
439 order to facilitate access to long-term financial resources for
440 charter school construction, charter schools that are operated
441 by a municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
442 eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
443 sponsor district school board. A charter lab school is eligible
444 for a charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to
445 facilitate access to long-term financial resources for charter
446 school construction, charter schools that are operated by a
447 private, not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are
448 eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
449 sponsor district school board. Such long-term charters remain
450 subject to annual review and may be terminated during the term
451 of the charter, but only as provided according to the provisions
452 set forth in subsection (8).
453 13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
454 sponsor may not require a charter school to have a certificate
455 of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for such a
456 facility earlier than 15 calendar days before the first day of
458 14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
459 the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
460 retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
461 15. The governance structure of the school, including the
462 status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
463 required in paragraph (12)(i).
464 16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
465 addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
466 date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
468 17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
469 converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
470 current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
471 for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
472 school after conversion in accordance with the existing
473 collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
474 the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
475 alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
476 teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
477 as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
478 which grants the charter to the lab school.
479 18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
480 employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
481 school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
482 directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
483 assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
484 school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
485 purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
486 mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
487 cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
488 law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
489 stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
490 stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
491 19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
492 1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
493 requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
494 performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
495 March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
496 levels the following school year. The written notice shall
497 specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
498 levels that will be added, as applicable.
499 (d) A charter may be modified during its initial term or
500 any renewal term upon the recommendation of the sponsor or the
501 charter school’s governing board and the approval of both
502 parties to the agreement. Modification during any term may
503 include, but is not limited to, consolidation of multiple
504 charters into a single charter if the charters are operated
505 under the same governing board, regardless of the renewal cycle.
506 A charter school that is not subject to a school improvement
507 plan and that closes as part of a consolidation shall be
508 reported by the sponsor school district as a consolidation.
509 (8) CAUSES FOR NONRENEWAL OR TERMINATION OF CHARTER.—
510 (d) When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
511 school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under
512 which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public
513 funds, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter
514 school program grant funds, from the charter school shall revert
515 to the sponsor. Capital outlay funds provided pursuant to s.
516 1013.62 and federal charter school program grant funds that are
517 unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed
518 among eligible charter schools. In the event a charter school is
519 dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all district school board
520 property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased
521 with public funds shall automatically revert to full ownership
522 by the sponsor district school board, subject to complete
523 satisfaction of any lawful liens or encumbrances. Any
524 unencumbered public funds from the charter school, district
525 school board property and improvements, furnishings, and
526 equipment purchased with public funds, or financial or other
527 records pertaining to the charter school, in the possession of
528 any person, entity, or holding company, other than the charter
529 school, shall be held in trust upon the sponsor’s district
530 school board’s request, until any appeal status is resolved.
531 (e) If a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
532 charter school is responsible for all debts of the charter
533 school. The sponsor district may not assume the debt from any
534 contract made between the governing body of the school and a
535 third party, except for a debt that is previously detailed and
536 agreed upon in writing by both the sponsor district and the
537 governing body of the school and that may not reasonably be
538 assumed to have been satisfied by the sponsor district.
539 (14) CHARTER SCHOOL FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS; INDEMNIFICATION
540 OF THE STATE AND SPONSOR SCHOOL DISTRICT; CREDIT OR TAXING POWER
541 NOT TO BE PLEDGED.—Any arrangement entered into to borrow or
542 otherwise secure funds for a charter school authorized in this
543 section from a source other than the state or a sponsor must
544 school district shall indemnify the state and the sponsor school
545 district from any and all liability, including, but not limited
546 to, financial responsibility for the payment of the principal or
547 interest. Any loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are
548 not obligations of the state or the sponsor school district but
549 are obligations of the charter school authority and are payable
550 solely from the sources of funds pledged by such agreement. The
551 credit or taxing power of the state or the sponsor school
552 distric t shall not be pledged and no debts shall be payable out
553 of any moneys except those of the legal entity in possession of
554 a valid charter approved by a sponsor district school board
555 pursuant to this section.
556 (15) CHARTER SCHOOLS-IN-THE-WORKPLACE; CHARTER SCHOOLS-IN
558 (c) A charter school-in-a-municipality designation may be
559 granted to a municipality that possesses a charter; enrolls
560 students based upon a random lottery that involves all of the
561 children of the residents of that municipality who are seeking
562 enrollment, as provided for in subsection (10); and enrolls
563 students according to the racial/ethnic balance provisions
564 described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. When a municipality has
565 submitted charter applications for the establishment of a
566 charter school feeder pattern, consisting of elementary, middle,
567 and senior high schools, and each individual charter application
568 is approved by the sponsor district school board, such schools
569 shall then be designated as one charter school for all purposes
570 listed pursuant to this section. Any portion of the land and
571 facility used for a public charter school shall be exempt from
572 ad valorem taxes, as provided for in s. 1013.54, for the
573 duration of its use as a public school.
574 (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
575 regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
576 a basic program or a special program, the same as students
577 enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
578 for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
579 (a) Each charter school shall report its student enrollment
580 to the sponsor as required in s. 1011.62, and in accordance with
581 the definitions in s. 1011.61. The sponsor shall include each
582 charter school’s enrollment in the sponsor’s district’s report
583 of student enrollment. All charter schools submitting student
584 record information required by the Department of Education shall
585 comply with the Department of Education’s guidelines for
586 electronic data formats for such data, and all sponsors
587 districts shall accept electronic data that complies with the
588 Department of Education’s electronic format.
589 (e) Sponsors District school boards shall make timely and
590 efficient payment and reimbursement to charter schools,
591 including processing paperwork required to access special state
592 and federal funding for which they may be eligible. Payments of
593 funds under paragraph (b) shall be made monthly or twice a
594 month, beginning with the start of the sponsor’s district school
595 board’s fiscal year. Each payment shall be one-twelfth, or one
596 twenty-fourth, as applicable, of the total state and local funds
597 described in paragraph (b) and adjusted as set forth therein.
598 For the first 2 years of a charter school’s operation, if a
599 minimum of 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered
600 into the sponsor’s student information system by the first day
601 of the current month, the sponsor must district school board
602 shall distribute funds to the school for the months of July
603 through October based on the projected full-time equivalent
604 student membership of the charter school as submitted in the
605 approved application. If less than 75 percent of the projected
606 enrollment is entered into the sponsor’s student information
607 system by the first day of the current month, the sponsor must
608 shall base payments on the actual number of student enrollment
609 entered into the sponsor’s student information system.
610 Thereafter, the results of full-time equivalent student
611 membership surveys shall be used in adjusting the amount of
612 funds distributed monthly to the charter school for the
613 remainder of the fiscal year. The payments shall be issued no
614 later than 10 working days after the sponsor district school
615 board receives a distribution of state or federal funds or the
616 date the payment is due pursuant to this subsection. If a
617 warrant for payment is not issued within 10 working days after
618 receipt of funding by the sponsor district school board, the
619 sponsor school district shall pay to the charter school, in
620 addition to the amount of the scheduled disbursement, interest
621 at a rate of 1 percent per month calculated on a daily basis on
622 the unpaid balance from the expiration of the 10 working days
623 until such time as the warrant is issued. The district school
624 board may not delay payment to a charter school of any portion
625 of the funds provided in paragraph (b) based on the timing of
626 receipt of local funds by the district school board.
627 (18) FACILITIES.—
628 (e) If a district school board facility or property is
629 available because it is surplus, marked for disposal, or
630 otherwise unused, it shall be provided for a charter school’s
631 use on the same basis as it is made available to other public
632 schools in the district. A charter school receiving property
633 from the sponsor school district may not sell or dispose of such
634 property without written permission of the school sponsor
635 district. Similarly, for an existing public school converting to
636 charter status, no rental or leasing fee for the existing
637 facility or for the property normally inventoried to the
638 conversion school may be charged by the district school board to
639 the parents and teachers organizing the charter school. The
640 charter school shall agree to reasonable maintenance provisions
641 in order to maintain the facility in a manner similar to
642 district school board standards. The Public Education Capital
643 Outlay maintenance funds or any other maintenance funds
644 generated by the facility operated as a conversion school shall
645 remain with the conversion school.
646 (20) SERVICES.—
647 (a)1. A sponsor shall provide certain administrative and
648 educational services to charter schools. These services shall
649 include contract management services; full-time equivalent and
650 data reporting services; exceptional student education
651 administration services; services related to eligibility and
652 reporting duties required to ensure that school lunch services
653 under the National School Lunch Program, consistent with the
654 needs of the charter school, are provided by the sponsor school
655 district at the request of the charter school, that any funds
656 due to the charter school under the National School Lunch
657 Program be paid to the charter school as soon as the charter
658 school begins serving food under the National School Lunch
659 Program, and that the charter school is paid at the same time
660 and in the same manner under the National School Lunch Program
661 as other public schools serviced by the sponsor or the school
662 district; test administration services, including payment of the
663 costs of state-required or district-required student
664 assessments; processing of teacher certificate data services;
665 and information services, including equal access to the
666 sponsor’s student information systems that are used by public
667 schools in the district in which the charter school is located
668 or by schools in the sponsor’s portfolio of charter schools if
669 the sponsor is not a school district. Student performance data
670 for each student in a charter school, including, but not limited
671 to, FCAT scores, standardized test scores, previous public
672 school student report cards, and student performance measures,
673 shall be provided by the sponsor to a charter school in the same
674 manner provided to other public schools in the district.
675 2. A sponsor may withhold an administrative fee for the
676 provision of such services, which shall be a percentage of the
677 available funds defined in paragraph (17)(b), calculated based
678 on weighted full-time equivalent students. If the charter school
679 serves 75 percent or more exceptional education students as
680 defined in s. 1003.01(3), the percentage shall be calculated
681 based on unweighted full-time equivalent students. The
682 administrative fee shall be calculated as follows:
683 a. Up to 5 percent for:
684 (I) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
685 charter school as defined in this section.
686 (II) Enrollment of up to and including 500 students within
687 a charter school system which meets all of the following:
688 (A) Includes conversion charter schools and nonconversion
689 charter schools.
690 (B) Has all of its schools located in the same county.
691 (C) Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment
692 of at least one school district in the state.
693 (D) Has the same governing board for all of its schools.
694 (E) Does not contract with a for-profit service provider
695 for management of school operations.
696 (III) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
697 virtual charter school.
698 b. Up to 2 percent for enrollment of up to and including
699 250 students in a high-performing charter school as defined in
700 s. 1002.331.
701 3. A sponsor may not charge charter schools any additional
702 fees or surcharges for administrative and educational services
703 in addition to the maximum percentage of administrative fees
704 withheld pursuant to this paragraph.
705 4. A sponsor shall provide to the department by September
706 15 of each year the total amount of funding withheld from
707 charter schools pursuant to this subsection for the prior fiscal
708 year. The department must include the information in the report
709 required under sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
710 (b) If goods and services are made available to the charter
711 school through the contract with the sponsor school district,
712 they shall be provided to the charter school at a rate no
713 greater than the sponsor’s district’s actual cost unless
714 mutually agreed upon by the charter school and the sponsor in a
715 contract negotiated separately from the charter. When mediation
716 has failed to resolve disputes over contracted services or
717 contractual matters not included in the charter, an appeal may
718 be made to an administrative law judge appointed by the Division
719 of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law judge has
720 final order authority to rule on the dispute. The administrative
721 law judge shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney
722 fees and costs incurred during the mediation process,
723 administrative proceeding, and any appeals, to be paid by the
724 party whom the administrative law judge rules against. To
725 maximize the use of state funds, sponsors school districts shall
726 allow charter schools to participate in the sponsor’s bulk
727 purchasing program if applicable.
728 (c) Transportation of charter school students shall be
729 provided by the charter school consistent with the requirements
730 of subpart I.E. of chapter 1006 and s. 1012.45. The governing
731 body of the charter school may provide transportation through an
732 agreement or contract with the sponsor district school board, a
733 private provider, or parents. The charter school and the sponsor
734 shall cooperate in making arrangements that ensure that
735 transportation is not a barrier to equal access for all students
736 residing within a reasonable distance of the charter school as
737 determined in its charter.
738 (d) Each charter school shall annually complete and submit
739 a survey, provided in a format specified by the Department of
740 Education, to rate the timeliness and quality of services
741 provided by the sponsor district in accordance with this
742 section. The department shall compile the results, by sponsor
743 district, and include the results in the report required under
744 sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
745 (21) PUBLIC INFORMATION ON CHARTER SCHOOLS.—
746 (a) The Department of Education shall provide information
747 to the public, directly and through sponsors, on how to form and
748 operate a charter school and how to enroll in a charter school
749 once it is created. This information shall include the standard
750 application form, standard charter contract, standard evaluation
751 instrument, and standard charter renewal contract, which shall
752 include the information specified in subsection (7) and shall be
753 developed by consulting and negotiating with both sponsors
754 school districts and charter schools before implementation. The
755 charter and charter renewal contracts shall be used by charter
756 school sponsors.
757 (b)1. The Department of Education shall report to each
758 charter school receiving a school grade pursuant to s. 1008.34
759 or a school improvement rating pursuant to s. 1008.341 the
760 school’s student assessment data.
761 2. The charter school shall report the information in
762 subparagraph 1. to each parent of a student at the charter
763 school, the parent of a child on a waiting list for the charter
764 school, the sponsor district in which the charter school is
765 located, and the governing board of the charter school. This
766 paragraph does not abrogate the provisions of s. 1002.22,
767 relating to student records, or the requirements of 20 U.S.C. s.
768 1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
769 (25) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY STATUS FOR CERTAIN CHARTER
770 SCHOOL SYSTEMS.—
771 (a) A charter school system’s governing board shall be
772 designated a local educational agency for the purpose of
773 receiving federal funds, the same as though the charter school
774 system were a school district, if the governing board of the
775 charter school system has adopted and filed a resolution with
776 its sponsor sponsoring district school board and the Department
777 of Education in which the governing board of the charter school
778 system accepts the full responsibility for all local education
779 agency requirements and the charter school system meets all of
780 the following:
781 1. Has all schools located in the same county;
782 2. Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment of
783 at least one school district in the state; and
784 3. Has the same governing board.
785 (b) A charter school system’s governing board may be
786 designated a local educational agency for the purpose of
787 receiving federal funds for all schools within a school district
788 that are established pursuant to s. 1008.33 and are under the
789 jurisdiction of the governing board. The governing board must
790 adopt and file a resolution with its sponsoring district school
791 board and the Department of Education and accept full
792 responsibility for all local educational agency requirements.
794 Such designation does not apply to other provisions unless
795 specifically provided in law.
796 (28) RULEMAKING.—The Department of Education, after
797 consultation with sponsors school districts and charter school
798 directors, shall recommend that the State Board of Education
799 adopt rules to implement specific subsections of this section.
800 Such rules shall require minimum paperwork and may shall not
801 limit charter school flexibility authorized by statute. The
802 State Board of Education shall adopt rules, pursuant to ss.
803 120.536(1) and 120.54, to implement a standard charter
804 application form, standard application form for the replication
805 of charter schools in a high-performing charter school system,
806 standard evaluation instrument, and standard charter and charter
807 renewal contracts in accordance with this section.
808 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.