Florida Senate - 2021 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
Bill No. SB 1028
Senate . House
The Committee on Education (Hutson) recommended the following:
1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
3 Delete everything after the enacting clause
4 and insert:
5 Section 1. Subsections (1), (5), and (6), paragraph (b) of
6 subsection (8), and subsection (10) of section 218.39, Florida
7 Statutes, are amended to read:
8 218.39 Annual financial audit reports.—
9 (1) If, by the first day in any fiscal year, a local
10 governmental entity, district school board, charter school, hope
11 operator, or charter technical career center has not been
12 notified that a financial audit for that fiscal year will be
13 performed by the Auditor General, each of the following entities
14 shall have an annual financial audit of its accounts and records
15 completed within 9 months after the end of its fiscal year by an
16 independent certified public accountant retained by it and paid
17 from its public funds:
18 (a) Each county.
19 (b) Any municipality with revenues or the total of
20 expenditures and expenses in excess of $250,000, as reported on
21 the fund financial statements.
22 (c) Any special district with revenues or the total of
23 expenditures and expenses in excess of $100,000, as reported on
24 the fund financial statements.
25 (d) Each district school board.
26 (e) Each charter school established under s. 1002.33.
27 (f) Each charter technical center established under s.
29 (g) Each municipality with revenues or the total of
30 expenditures and expenses between $100,000 and $250,000, as
31 reported on the fund financial statements, which has not been
32 subject to a financial audit pursuant to this subsection for the
33 2 preceding fiscal years.
34 (h) Each special district with revenues or the total of
35 expenditures and expenses between $50,000 and $100,000, as
36 reported on the fund financial statement, which has not been
37 subject to a financial audit pursuant to this subsection for the
38 2 preceding fiscal years.
39 (i) Each hope operator operating at least one school of
40 hope in this state.
41 (5) At the conclusion of the audit, the auditor shall
42 discuss with the chair of the governing body of the local
43 governmental entity or the chair’s designee, the elected
44 official of each county agency or the elected official’s
45 designee, the chair of the district school board or the chair’s
46 designee, the chair of the board of the charter school or the
47 chair’s designee, the chair of the board of the hope operator or
48 the chair’s designee, or the chair of the board of the charter
49 technical career center or the chair’s designee, as appropriate,
50 all of the auditor’s comments that will be included in the audit
51 report. If the officer is not available to discuss the auditor’s
52 comments, their discussion is presumed when the comments are
53 delivered in writing to his or her office. The auditor shall
54 notify each member of the governing body of a local governmental
55 entity, district school board, charter school, hope operator, or
56 charter technical career center for which:
57 (a) Deteriorating financial conditions exist that may cause
58 a condition described in s. 218.503(1) to occur if actions are
59 not taken to address such conditions.
60 (b) A fund balance deficit in total or a deficit for that
61 portion of a fund balance not classified as restricted,
62 committed, or nonspendable, or a total or unrestricted net
63 assets deficit, as reported on the fund financial statements of
64 entities required to report under governmental financial
65 reporting standards or on the basic financial statements of
66 entities required to report under not-for-profit financial
67 reporting standards, for which sufficient resources of the local
68 governmental entity, charter school, hope operator, charter
69 technical career center, or district school board, as reported
70 on the fund financial statements, are not available to cover the
71 deficit. Resources available to cover reported deficits include
72 fund balance or net assets that are not otherwise restricted by
73 federal, state, or local laws, bond covenants, contractual
74 agreements, or other legal constraints. Property, plant, and
75 equipment, the disposal of which would impair the ability of a
76 local governmental entity, charter school, hope operator,
77 charter technical career center, or district school board to
78 carry out its functions, are not considered resources available
79 to cover reported deficits.
80 (6) The officer’s written statement of explanation or
81 rebuttal concerning the auditor’s findings, including corrective
82 action to be taken, must be filed with the governing body of the
83 local governmental entity, district school board, charter
84 school, hope operator, or charter technical career center within
85 30 days after the delivery of the auditor’s findings.
86 (8) The Auditor General shall notify the Legislative
87 Auditing Committee of any audit report prepared pursuant to this
88 section which indicates that an audited entity has failed to
89 take full corrective action in response to a recommendation that
90 was included in the two preceding financial audit reports.
91 (b) If the committee determines that the written statement
92 is not sufficient, it may require the chair of the governing
93 body of the local governmental entity or the chair’s designee,
94 the elected official of each county agency or the elected
95 official’s designee, the chair of the district school board or
96 the chair’s designee, the chair of the board of the charter
97 school or the chair’s designee, the chair of the hope operator
98 or the chair’s designee, or the chair of the board of the
99 charter technical career center or the chair’s designee, as
100 appropriate, to appear before the committee.
101 (10) Each charter school, hope operator who operates a
102 charter school, and charter technical career center must file a
103 copy of its audit report with the sponsoring entity; the local
104 district school board, if not the sponsoring entity; the Auditor
105 General; and with the Department of Education.
106 Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2), subsection (5),
107 paragraph (b) of subsection (6), paragraphs (a) and (d) of
108 subsection (7), paragraphs (d) and (e) of subsection (8),
109 paragraphs (g) and (n) of subsection (9), paragraph (e) of
110 subsection (10), subsection (14), paragraph (c) of subsection
111 (15), subsection (17), paragraph (e) of subsection (18),
112 subsections (20) and (21), paragraph (a) of subsection (25), and
113 subsection (28) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are
114 amended to read:
115 1002.33 Charter schools.—
116 (2) GUIDING PRINCIPLES; PURPOSE.—
117 (c) Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
118 1. Create innovative measurement tools.
119 2. Provide rigorous competition within the public school
district to stimulate continual improvement in all public
122 3. Expand the capacity of the public school system.
123 4. Mitigate the educational impact created by the
124 development of new residential dwelling units.
125 5. Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
126 including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
127 (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
128 (a) Sponsoring entities.—
129 1. A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
130 the county over which the district school board has
132 2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
133 created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
134 school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
136 3. Because needs relating to educational capacity,
137 workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities are
138 constantly changing and extend beyond school district
140 a. A state university may, upon approval by the Department
141 of Education, solicit applications and sponsor a charter school
142 to meet regional education or workforce demands by serving
143 students from multiple school districts.
144 b. A Florida College System institution may, upon approval
145 by the Department of Education, solicit applications and sponsor
146 a charter school in any county within its service area to meet
147 workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading
148 to industry certifications to eligible charter school students.
149 A charter school established under subparagraph (b)4. may not be
150 sponsored by a Florida College System institution until its
151 existing charter with the school district expires as provided
152 under subsection (7).
153 c. Notwithstanding paragraph (6)(b), a state university or
154 Florida College System institution may, at its discretion, deny
155 an application for a charter school.
156 (b) Sponsor duties.—
157 1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
158 school in its progress toward the goals established in the
160 b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
161 of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
163 c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
164 before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
165 personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
166 it to raise working funds.
167 d. The sponsor shall not apply its policies to a charter
168 school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
169 charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any agreed
170 upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect at the
171 time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
172 modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
173 not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
174 newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
176 e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
177 and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
179 f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
180 participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
181 a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
182 the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
183 to the Department of Education.
184 g. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
185 state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
186 resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
187 agent, or governing body of the charter school.
188 h. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
189 state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
190 employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
191 i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall
192 not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
193 j. The sponsor shall not impose additional reporting
194 requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
195 and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
196 k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
197 Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
198 by the department.
199 (I) The report shall include the following information:
200 (A) The number of draft applications received on or before
201 May 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
202 (B) The number of final applications received on or before
203 February August 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
204 (B) (C) The date each application was approved, denied, or
206 (C) (D) The date each final contract was executed.
207 (II) Annually, by November 1 Beginning August 31, 2013, and
208 each year thereafter, the sponsor shall submit to the department
209 the information for the applications submitted the previous
211 (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
212 sponsor district, and post the report on its website by January
213 15 November 1 of each year.
214 2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
215 subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
216 not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
218 3. This paragraph does not waive a sponsor’s district
219 school board’s sovereign immunity.
220 4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
221 school district or school districts in its designated service
222 area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
223 These charter schools must include an option for students to
224 receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
225 Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
226 preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
227 institution may operate no more than one charter schools school
228 that serve serves students in kindergarten through grade 12 in
229 any school district within the service area of the institution.
230 In kindergarten through grade 8, the charter school shall
231 implement innovative blended learning instructional models in
232 which, for a given course, a student learns in part through
233 online delivery of content and instruction with some element of
234 student control over time, place, path, or pace and in part at a
235 supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home. A student
236 in a blended learning course must be a full-time student of the
237 charter school and receive the online instruction in a classroom
238 setting at the charter school. District school boards shall
239 cooperate with and assist the Florida College System institution
240 on the charter application. Florida College System institution
241 applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
242 deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
243 district school board at any time during the year. Florida
244 College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
245 participating under this subparagraph who receive FTE funding
246 through the Florida Education Finance Program.
247 5. A school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
248 agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
249 municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
250 within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
251 behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
252 issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
253 permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
254 needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
255 charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
256 district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
257 include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
258 that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
259 must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
260 the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
261 providing such services. These services and fees are not
262 included within the services to be provided pursuant to
263 subsection (20).
264 6. The board of trustees of a sponsoring state university
265 or Florida College System institution under paragraph (a) is the
266 local educational agency for all charter schools it sponsors for
267 purposes of receiving federal funds and accepts full
268 responsibility for all local educational agency requirements and
269 the schools for which it will perform local educational agency
270 responsibilities. A student enrolled in a charter school that is
271 sponsored by a state university or Florida College System
272 institution may not be included in the calculation of the school
273 district’s grade under s. 1008.34(5) for the school district in
274 which he or she resides.
275 (c) Sponsor accountability.—
276 1. The department shall, in collaboration with charter
277 school sponsors and charter school operators, develop a sponsor
278 evaluation framework that must address, at a minimum:
279 a. The sponsor’s strategic vision for charter school
280 authorizing and the sponsor’s progress toward that vision.
281 b. The alignment of the sponsor’s policies and practices to
282 best practices for charter school authorizing.
283 c. The academic and financial performance of all operating
284 charter schools overseen by the sponsor.
285 d. The status of charter schools authorized by the sponsor,
286 including approved, operating, and closed schools.
287 2. The department shall compile the results by sponsor and
288 include the results in the report required under sub-sub
289 subparagraph (b)1.k.(III).
290 (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
291 applications are subject to the following requirements:
292 (b) A sponsor shall receive and review all applications for
293 a charter school using the evaluation instrument developed by
294 the Department of Education. A sponsor shall receive and
295 consider charter school applications received on or before
296 August 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened
297 at the beginning of the school district’s next school year, or
298 to be opened at a time agreed to by the applicant and the
299 sponsor. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
300 application submitted before August 1 and may receive an
301 application submitted later than August 1 if it chooses.
302 Beginning in 2018 and thereafter, A sponsor shall receive and
303 consider charter school applications received on or before
304 February 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be
305 opened 18 months later at the beginning of the school district’s
306 school year, or to be opened at a time determined by the
307 applicant. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
308 application submitted before February 1 and may receive an
309 application submitted later than February 1 if it chooses. A
310 sponsor may not charge an applicant for a charter any fee for
311 the processing or consideration of an application, and a sponsor
312 may not base its consideration or approval of a final
313 application upon the promise of future payment of any kind.
314 Before approving or denying any application, the sponsor shall
315 allow the applicant, upon receipt of written notification, at
316 least 7 calendar days to make technical or nonsubstantive
317 corrections and clarifications, including, but not limited to,
318 corrections of grammatical, typographical, and like errors or
319 missing signatures, if such errors are identified by the sponsor
320 as cause to deny the final application.
321 1. In order to facilitate an accurate budget projection
322 process, a sponsor shall be held harmless for FTE students who
323 are not included in the FTE projection due to approval of
324 charter school applications after the FTE projection deadline.
325 In a further effort to facilitate an accurate budget projection,
326 within 15 calendar days after receipt of a charter school
327 application, a sponsor shall report to the Department of
328 Education the name of the applicant entity, the proposed charter
329 school location, and its projected FTE.
330 2. In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, an application
331 for a charter school shall include a full accounting of expected
332 assets, a projection of expected sources and amounts of income,
333 including income derived from projected student enrollments and
334 from community support, and an expense projection that includes
335 full accounting of the costs of operation, including start-up
337 3.a. A sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or deny an
338 application no later than 90 calendar days after the application
339 is received, unless the sponsor and the applicant mutually agree
340 in writing to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date,
341 at which time the sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or
342 deny the application. If the sponsor fails to act on the
343 application, an applicant may appeal to the State Board of
344 Education as provided in paragraph (c). If an application is
345 denied, the sponsor shall, within 10 calendar days after such
346 denial, articulate in writing the specific reasons, based upon
347 good cause, supporting its denial of the application and shall
348 provide the letter of denial and supporting documentation to the
349 applicant and to the Department of Education.
350 b. An application submitted by a high-performing charter
351 school identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or a high-performing
352 charter school system identified pursuant to s. 1002.332 may be
353 denied by the sponsor only if the sponsor demonstrates by clear
354 and convincing evidence that:
355 (I) The application of a high-performing charter school
356 does not materially comply with the requirements in paragraph
357 (a) or, for a high-performing charter school system, the
358 application does not materially comply with s. 1002.332(2)(b);
359 (II) The charter school proposed in the application does
360 not materially comply with the requirements in paragraphs
362 (III) The proposed charter school’s educational program
363 does not substantially replicate that of the applicant or one of
364 the applicant’s high-performing charter schools;
365 (IV) The applicant has made a material misrepresentation or
366 false statement or concealed an essential or material fact
367 during the application process; or
368 (V) The proposed charter school’s educational program and
369 financial management practices do not materially comply with the
370 requirements of this section.
372 Material noncompliance is a failure to follow requirements or a
373 violation of prohibitions applicable to charter school
374 applications, which failure is quantitatively or qualitatively
375 significant either individually or when aggregated with other
376 noncompliance. An applicant is considered to be replicating a
377 high-performing charter school if the proposed school is
378 substantially similar to at least one of the applicant’s high
379 performing charter schools and the organization or individuals
380 involved in the establishment and operation of the proposed
381 school are significantly involved in the operation of replicated
383 c. If the sponsor denies an application submitted by a
384 high-performing charter school or a high-performing charter
385 school system, the sponsor must, within 10 calendar days after
386 such denial, state in writing the specific reasons, based upon
387 the criteria in sub-subparagraph b., supporting its denial of
388 the application and must provide the letter of denial and
389 supporting documentation to the applicant and to the Department
390 of Education. The applicant may appeal the sponsor’s denial of
391 the application in accordance with paragraph (c).
392 4. For budget projection purposes, the sponsor shall report
393 to the Department of Education the approval or denial of an
394 application within 10 calendar days after such approval or
395 denial. In the event of approval, the report to the Department
396 of Education shall include the final projected FTE for the
397 approved charter school.
398 5. Upon approval of an application, the initial startup
399 shall commence with the beginning of the public school calendar
400 for the district in which the charter is granted. A charter
401 school may defer the opening of the school’s operations for up
402 to 3 years to provide time for adequate facility planning. The
403 charter school must provide written notice of such intent to the
404 sponsor and the parents of enrolled students at least 30
405 calendar days before the first day of school.
406 (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
407 a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
408 applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
409 The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
410 use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
411 which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
412 approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
413 proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
414 contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
415 be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
416 sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
417 violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
418 to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
419 governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
420 a public hearing to ensure community input.
421 (a) The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
422 the charter shall be based on:
423 1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
424 ages and grades to be included.
425 2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
426 to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
427 employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
428 technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
429 performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
430 and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
431 professional standards.
432 a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
433 of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
434 and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
435 below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
436 for reading must be consistent with the Next Generation Sunshine
437 State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
439 b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
440 instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
441 technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
442 provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
443 21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
444 methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
445 traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
446 Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
447 combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
448 instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
449 time students of the charter school pursuant to s.
450 1011.61(1)(a)1. Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s.
451 1012.55 who provide virtual instruction for blended learning
452 courses may be employees of the charter school or may be under
453 contract to provide instructional services to charter school
454 students. At a minimum, such instructional personnel must hold
455 an active state or school district adjunct certification under
456 s. 1012.57 for the subject area of the blended learning course.
457 The funding and performance accountability requirements for
458 blended learning courses are the same as those for traditional
460 3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
461 academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
462 method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
463 this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
464 a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
465 prior rates of academic progress will be established.
466 b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
467 academic progress achieved by these same students while
468 attending the charter school.
469 c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
470 be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
471 closely comparable student populations.
473 A The district school board is required to provide academic
474 student performance data to charter schools for each of their
475 students coming from the district school system, as well as
476 rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
477 the district school system.
478 4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
479 and needs of students and how well educational goals and
480 performance standards are met by students attending the charter
481 school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
482 to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
483 student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
484 efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
485 charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
486 statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
487 5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
488 that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
489 s. 1002.3105(5), s. 1003.4281, or s. 1003.4282.
490 6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
491 board of the charter school and the sponsor.
492 7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
493 including the school’s code of student conduct. Admission or
494 dismissal must not be based on a student’s academic performance.
495 8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
496 racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
497 within the racial/ethnic range of other nearby public schools in
498 the same school district.
499 9. The financial and administrative management of the
500 school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
501 experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
502 applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
503 retained to perform such professional services and the
504 description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
505 policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
506 school. A description of internal audit procedures and
507 establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
508 properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
509 private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
510 such a consideration.
511 10. The asset and liability projections required in the
512 application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
513 compared with information provided in the annual report of the
514 charter school.
515 11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
516 and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
517 losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
518 staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
519 violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
520 the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
521 will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
522 terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
523 12. The term of the charter which shall provide for
524 cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
525 made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
526 charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
527 achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
528 charter shall be for 5 years, excluding 2 planning years. In
529 order to facilitate access to long-term financial resources for
530 charter school construction, charter schools that are operated
531 by a municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
532 eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
533 sponsor district school board. A charter lab school is eligible
534 for a charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to
535 facilitate access to long-term financial resources for charter
536 school construction, charter schools that are operated by a
537 private, not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are
538 eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
539 sponsor district school board. Such long-term charters remain
540 subject to annual review and may be terminated during the term
541 of the charter, but only according to the provisions set forth
542 in subsection (8).
543 13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
544 sponsor may not require a charter school to have a certificate
545 of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for such a
546 facility earlier than 15 calendar days before the first day of
548 14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
549 the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
550 retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
551 15. The governance structure of the school, including the
552 status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
553 required in paragraph (12)(i).
554 16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
555 addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
556 date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
558 17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
559 converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
560 current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
561 for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
562 school after conversion in accordance with the existing
563 collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
564 the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
565 alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
566 teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
567 as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
568 which grants the charter to the lab school.
569 18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
570 employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
571 school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
572 directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
573 assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
574 school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
575 purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
576 mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
577 cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
578 law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
579 stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
580 stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
581 19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
582 1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
583 requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
584 performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
585 March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
586 levels the following school year. The written notice shall
587 specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
588 levels that will be added, as applicable.
589 (d) A charter may be modified during its initial term or
590 any renewal term upon the recommendation of the sponsor or the
591 charter school’s governing board and the approval of both
592 parties to the agreement. Modification during any term may
593 include, but is not limited to, consolidation of multiple
594 charters into a single charter if the charters are operated
595 under the same governing board, regardless of the renewal cycle.
596 A charter school that is not subject to a school improvement
597 plan and that closes as part of a consolidation shall be
598 reported by the sponsor school district as a consolidation.
599 (8) CAUSES FOR NONRENEWAL OR TERMINATION OF CHARTER.—
600 (d) When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
601 school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under
602 which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public
603 funds, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter
604 school program grant funds, from the charter school shall revert
605 to the sponsor. Capital outlay funds provided pursuant to s.
606 1013.62 and federal charter school program grant funds that are
607 unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed
608 among eligible charter schools. In the event a charter school is
609 dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all sponsor district
610 school board property and improvements, furnishings, and
611 equipment purchased with public funds shall automatically revert
612 to full ownership by the sponsor district school board, subject
613 to complete satisfaction of any lawful liens or encumbrances.
614 Any unencumbered public funds from the charter school, district
615 school board property and improvements, furnishings, and
616 equipment purchased with public funds, or financial or other
617 records pertaining to the charter school, in the possession of
618 any person, entity, or holding company, other than the charter
619 school, shall be held in trust upon the sponsor’s district
620 school board’s request, until any appeal status is resolved.
621 (e) If a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
622 charter school is responsible for all debts of the charter
623 school. The sponsor district may not assume the debt from any
624 contract made between the governing body of the school and a
625 third party, except for a debt that is previously detailed and
626 agreed upon in writing by both the sponsor district and the
627 governing body of the school and that may not reasonably be
628 assumed to have been satisfied by the sponsor district.
629 (9) CHARTER SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS.—
630 (g)1. In order to provide financial information that is
631 comparable to that reported for other public schools, charter
632 schools are to maintain all financial records that constitute
633 their accounting system:
634 a. In accordance with the accounts and codes prescribed in
635 the most recent issuance of the publication titled “Financial
636 and Program Cost Accounting and Reporting for Florida Schools”;
638 b. At the discretion of the charter school’s governing
639 board, a charter school may elect to follow generally accepted
640 accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, but must
641 reformat this information for reporting according to this
643 2. Charter schools shall provide annual financial report
644 and program cost report information in the state-required
645 formats for inclusion in sponsor district reporting in
646 compliance with s. 1011.60(1). Charter schools that are operated
647 by a municipality or are a component unit of a parent nonprofit
648 organization may use the accounting system of the municipality
649 or the parent but must reformat this information for reporting
650 according to this paragraph.
651 3. A charter school shall, upon approval of the charter
652 contract, provide the sponsor with a concise, uniform, monthly
653 financial statement summary sheet that contains a balance sheet
654 and a statement of revenue, expenditures, and changes in fund
655 balance. The balance sheet and the statement of revenue,
656 expenditures, and changes in fund balance shall be in the
657 governmental funds format prescribed by the Governmental
658 Accounting Standards Board. A high-performing charter school
659 pursuant to s. 1002.331 may provide a quarterly financial
660 statement in the same format and requirements as the uniform
661 monthly financial statement summary sheet. The sponsor shall
662 review each monthly or quarterly financial statement to identify
663 the existence of any conditions identified in s. 1002.345(1)(a).
664 4. A charter school shall maintain and provide financial
665 information as required in this paragraph. The financial
666 statement required in subparagraph 3. must be in a form
667 prescribed by the Department of Education.
668 (n)1. The director and a representative of the governing
669 board of a charter school that has earned a grade of “D” or “F”
670 pursuant to s. 1008.34 shall appear before the sponsor to
671 present information concerning each contract component having
672 noted deficiencies. The director and a representative of the
673 governing board shall submit to the sponsor for approval a
674 school improvement plan to raise student performance. Upon
675 approval by the sponsor, the charter school shall begin
676 implementation of the school improvement plan. The department
677 shall offer technical assistance and training to the charter
678 school and its governing board and establish guidelines for
679 developing, submitting, and approving such plans.
680 2.a. If a charter school earns three consecutive grades
681 below a “C,” the charter school governing board shall choose one
682 of the following corrective actions:
683 (I) Contract for educational services to be provided
684 directly to students, instructional personnel, and school
685 administrators, as prescribed in state board rule;
686 (II) Contract with an outside entity that has a
687 demonstrated record of effectiveness to operate the school;
688 (III) Reorganize the school under a new director or
689 principal who is authorized to hire new staff; or
690 (IV) Voluntarily close the charter school.
691 b. The charter school must implement the corrective action
692 in the school year following receipt of a third consecutive
693 grade below a “C.”
694 c. The sponsor may annually waive a corrective action if it
695 determines that the charter school is likely to improve a letter
696 grade if additional time is provided to implement the
697 intervention and support strategies prescribed by the school
698 improvement plan. Notwithstanding this sub-subparagraph, a
699 charter school that earns a second consecutive grade of “F” is
700 subject to subparagraph 3.
701 d. A charter school is no longer required to implement a
702 corrective action if it improves to a “C” or higher. However,
703 the charter school must continue to implement strategies
704 identified in the school improvement plan. The sponsor must
705 annually review implementation of the school improvement plan to
706 monitor the school’s continued improvement pursuant to
707 subparagraph 4.
708 e. A charter school implementing a corrective action that
709 does not improve to a “C” or higher after 2 full school years of
710 implementing the corrective action must select a different
711 corrective action. Implementation of the new corrective action
712 must begin in the school year following the implementation
713 period of the existing corrective action, unless the sponsor
714 determines that the charter school is likely to improve to a “C”
715 or higher if additional time is provided to implement the
716 existing corrective action. Notwithstanding this sub
717 subparagraph, a charter school that earns a second consecutive
718 grade of “F” while implementing a corrective action is subject
719 to subparagraph 3.
720 3. A charter school’s charter contract is automatically
721 terminated if the school earns two consecutive grades of “F”
722 after all school grade appeals are final unless:
723 a. The charter school is established to turn around the
724 performance of a district public school pursuant to s.
725 1008.33(4)(b)2. Such charter schools shall be governed by s.
727 b. The charter school serves a student population the
728 majority of which resides in a school zone served by a district
729 public school subject to s. 1008.33(4) and the charter school
730 earns at least a grade of “D” in its third year of operation.
731 The exception provided under this sub-subparagraph does not
732 apply to a charter school in its fourth year of operation and
733 thereafter; or
734 c. The state board grants the charter school a waiver of
735 termination. The charter school must request the waiver within
736 15 days after the department’s official release of school
737 grades. The state board may waive termination if the charter
738 school demonstrates that the Learning Gains of its students on
739 statewide assessments are comparable to or better than the
740 Learning Gains of similarly situated students enrolled in nearby
741 district public schools. The waiver is valid for 1 year and may
742 only be granted once. Charter schools that have been in
743 operation for more than 5 years are not eligible for a waiver
744 under this sub-subparagraph.
746 The sponsor shall notify the charter school’s governing board,
747 the charter school principal, and the department in writing when
748 a charter contract is terminated under this subparagraph. A
749 charter terminated under this subparagraph must follow the
750 procedures for dissolution and reversion of public funds
751 pursuant to paragraphs (8)(d)-(f) and (9)(o).
752 4. The director and a representative of the governing board
753 of a graded charter school that has implemented a school
754 improvement plan under this paragraph shall appear before the
755 sponsor at least once a year to present information regarding
756 the progress of intervention and support strategies implemented
757 by the school pursuant to the school improvement plan and
758 corrective actions, if applicable. The sponsor shall communicate
759 at the meeting, and in writing to the director, the services
760 provided to the school to help the school address its
762 5. Notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph except
763 sub-subparagraphs 3.a.-c., the sponsor may terminate the charter
764 at any time pursuant to subsection (8).
765 (10) ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.—
766 (e) A charter school may limit the enrollment process only
767 to target the following student populations:
768 1. Students within specific age groups or grade levels.
769 2. Students considered at risk of dropping out of school or
770 academic failure. Such students shall include exceptional
771 education students.
772 3. Students enrolling in a charter school-in-the-workplace
773 or charter school-in-a-municipality established pursuant to
774 subsection (15).
775 4. Students residing within a reasonable distance of the
776 charter school, as described in paragraph (20)(c). Such students
777 shall be subject to a random lottery and to the racial/ethnic
778 balance provisions described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. or any
779 federal provisions that require a school to achieve a
780 racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
781 within the racial/ethnic range of other nearby public schools in
782 the same school district.
783 5. Students who meet reasonable academic, artistic, or
784 other eligibility standards established by the charter school
785 and included in the charter school application and charter or,
786 in the case of existing charter schools, standards that are
787 consistent with the school’s mission and purpose. Such standards
788 shall be in accordance with current state law and practice in
789 public schools and may not discriminate against otherwise
790 qualified individuals.
791 6. Students articulating from one charter school to another
792 pursuant to an articulation agreement between the charter
793 schools that has been approved by the sponsor.
794 7. Students living in a development in which a developer,
795 including any affiliated business entity or charitable
796 foundation, contributes to the formation, acquisition,
797 construction, or operation of one or more charter schools or
798 charter provides the school facilities facility and related
799 property in an amount equal to or having a total an appraised
800 value of at least $5 million to be used as a charter schools
801 school to mitigate the educational impact created by the
802 development of new residential dwelling units. Students living
803 in the development are shall be entitled to no more than 50
804 percent of the student stations in the charter schools school.
805 The students who are eligible for enrollment are subject to a
806 random lottery, the racial/ethnic balance provisions, or any
807 federal provisions, as described in subparagraph 4. The
808 remainder of the student stations must shall be filled in
809 accordance with subparagraph 4.
810 (14) CHARTER SCHOOL FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS; INDEMNIFICATION
811 OF THE STATE AND SPONSOR SCHOOL DISTRICT; CREDIT OR TAXING POWER
812 NOT TO BE PLEDGED.—Any arrangement entered into to borrow or
813 otherwise secure funds for a charter school authorized in this
814 section from a source other than the state or a sponsor school
815 district shall indemnify the state and the sponsor school
816 district from any and all liability, including, but not limited
817 to, financial responsibility for the payment of the principal or
818 interest. Any loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are
819 not obligations of the state or the sponsor school district but
820 are obligations of the charter school authority and are payable
821 solely from the sources of funds pledged by such agreement. The
822 credit or taxing power of the state or the sponsor school
823 district shall not be pledged and no debts shall be payable out
824 of any moneys except those of the legal entity in possession of
825 a valid charter approved by a sponsor district school board
826 pursuant to this section.
827 (15) CHARTER SCHOOLS-IN-THE-WORKPLACE; CHARTER SCHOOLS-IN
829 (c) A charter school-in-a-municipality designation may be
830 granted to a municipality that possesses a charter; enrolls
831 students based upon a random lottery that involves all of the
832 children of the residents of that municipality who are seeking
833 enrollment, as provided for in subsection (10); and enrolls
834 students according to the racial/ethnic balance provisions
835 described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. When a municipality has
836 submitted charter applications for the establishment of a
837 charter school feeder pattern, consisting of elementary, middle,
838 and senior high schools, and each individual charter application
839 is approved by the sponsor district school board, such schools
840 shall then be designated as one charter school for all purposes
841 listed pursuant to this section. Any portion of the land and
842 facility used for a public charter school shall be exempt from
843 ad valorem taxes, as provided for in s. 1013.54, for the
844 duration of its use as a public school.
845 (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
846 regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
847 a basic program or a special program, the same as students
848 enrolled in other public schools in a the school district.
849 Funding for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s.
851 (a) Each charter school shall report its student enrollment
852 to the sponsor as required in s. 1011.62, and in accordance with
853 the definitions in s. 1011.61. The sponsor shall include each
854 charter school’s enrollment in the sponsor’s district’s report
855 of student enrollment. All charter schools submitting student
856 record information required by the Department of Education shall
857 comply with the Department of Education’s guidelines for
858 electronic data formats for such data, and all sponsors
859 districts shall accept electronic data that complies with the
860 Department of Education’s electronic format.
861 (b)1. The basis for the agreement for funding students
862 enrolled in a charter school shall be the sum of the school
863 district’s operating funds from the Florida Education Finance
864 Program as provided in s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations
865 Act, including gross state and local funds, discretionary
866 lottery funds, and funds from the school district’s current
867 operating discretionary millage levy; divided by total funded
868 weighted full-time equivalent students in the school district;
869 and multiplied by the weighted full-time equivalent students for
870 the charter school. Charter schools whose students or programs
871 meet the eligibility criteria in law are entitled to their
872 proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the
873 total funds available in the Florida Education Finance Program
874 by the Legislature, including transportation, the research-based
875 reading allocation, and the Florida digital classrooms
876 allocation. Total funding for each charter school shall be
877 recalculated during the year to reflect the revised calculations
878 under the Florida Education Finance Program by the state and the
879 actual weighted full-time equivalent students reported by the
880 charter school during the full-time equivalent student survey
881 periods designated by the Commissioner of Education. For charter
882 schools operated by a not-for-profit or municipal entity, any
883 unrestricted current and capital assets identified in the
884 charter school’s annual financial audit may be used for other
885 charter schools operated by the not-for-profit or municipal
886 entity within the school district. Unrestricted current assets
887 shall be used in accordance with s. 1011.62, and any
888 unrestricted capital assets shall be used in accordance with s.
890 2.a. Students enrolled in a charter school sponsored by a
891 state university or Florida College System institution pursuant
892 to paragraph (5)(a) shall be funded as if they are in a basic
893 program or a special program in the school district. The basis
894 for funding these students is the sum of the total operating
895 funds from the Florida Education Finance Program for the school
896 district in which the school is located as provided in s.
897 1011.62 and the General Appropriations Act, including gross
898 state and local funds, discretionary lottery funds, and funds
899 from each school district’s current operating discretionary
900 millage levy, divided by total funded weighted full-time
901 equivalent students in the district, and multiplied by the full
902 time equivalent membership of the charter school. The Department
903 of Education shall develop a tool that each state university or
904 Florida College System institution sponsoring a charter school
905 shall use for purposes of calculating the funding amount for
906 each eligible charter school student. The total amount obtained
907 from the calculation must be appropriated from state funds in
908 the General Appropriations Act to the charter school.
909 b. Capital outlay funding for a charter school sponsored by
910 a state university or Florida College System institution
911 pursuant to paragraph (5)(a) is determined pursuant to s.
912 1013.62 and the General Appropriations Act.
913 (c) Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 8061 s. 10306, all charter
914 schools shall receive all federal funding for which the school
915 is otherwise eligible, including Title I funding, not later than
916 5 months after the charter school first opens and within 5
917 months after any subsequent expansion of enrollment. Unless
918 otherwise mutually agreed to by the charter school and its
919 sponsor, and consistent with state and federal rules and
920 regulations governing the use and disbursement of federal funds,
921 the sponsor shall reimburse the charter school on a monthly
922 basis for all invoices submitted by the charter school for
923 federal funds available to the sponsor for the benefit of the
924 charter school, the charter school’s students, and the charter
925 school’s students as public school students in the school
926 district. Such federal funds include, but are not limited to,
927 Title I, Title II, and Individuals with Disabilities Education
928 Act (IDEA) funds. To receive timely reimbursement for an
929 invoice, the charter school must submit the invoice to the
930 sponsor at least 30 days before the monthly date of
931 reimbursement set by the sponsor. In order to be reimbursed, any
932 expenditures made by the charter school must comply with all
933 applicable state rules and federal regulations, including, but
934 not limited to, the applicable federal Office of Management and
935 Budget Circulars; the federal Education Department General
936 Administrative Regulations; and program-specific statutes,
937 rules, and regulations. Such funds may not be made available to
938 the charter school until a plan is submitted to the sponsor for
939 approval of the use of the funds in accordance with applicable
940 federal requirements. The sponsor has 30 days to review and
941 approve any plan submitted pursuant to this paragraph.
942 (d) Charter schools shall be included by the Department of
943 Education and the district school board in requests for federal
944 stimulus funds in the same manner as district school board
945 operated public schools, including Title I and IDEA funds and
946 shall be entitled to receive such funds. Charter schools are
947 eligible to participate in federal competitive grants that are
948 available as part of the federal stimulus funds.
949 (e) Sponsors District school boards shall make timely and
950 efficient payment and reimbursement to charter schools,
951 including processing paperwork required to access special state
952 and federal funding for which they may be eligible. Payments of
953 funds under paragraph (b) shall be made monthly or twice a
954 month, beginning with the start of the sponsor’s district school
955 board’s fiscal year. Each payment shall be one-twelfth, or one
956 twenty-fourth, as applicable, of the total state and local funds
957 described in paragraph (b) and adjusted as set forth therein.
958 For the first 2 years of a charter school’s operation, if a
959 minimum of 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered
960 into the sponsor’s student information system by the first day
961 of the current month, the sponsor district school board shall
962 distribute funds to the school for the months of July through
963 October based on the projected full-time equivalent student
964 membership of the charter school as submitted in the approved
965 application. If less than 75 percent of the projected enrollment
966 is entered into the sponsor’s student information system by the
967 first day of the current month, the sponsor shall base payments
968 on the actual number of student enrollment entered into the
969 sponsor’s student information system. Thereafter, the results of
970 full-time equivalent student membership surveys shall be used in
971 adjusting the amount of funds distributed monthly to the charter
972 school for the remainder of the fiscal year. The payments shall
973 be issued no later than 10 working days after the sponsor
974 district school board receives a distribution of state or
975 federal funds or the date the payment is due pursuant to this
976 subsection. If a warrant for payment is not issued within 10
977 working days after receipt of funding by the sponsor district
978 school board, the sponsor school district shall pay to the
979 charter school, in addition to the amount of the scheduled
980 disbursement, interest at a rate of 1 percent per month
981 calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid balance from the
982 expiration of the 10 working days until such time as the warrant
983 is issued. The district school board may not delay payment to a
984 charter school of any portion of the funds provided in paragraph
985 (b) based on the timing of receipt of local funds by the
986 district school board.
987 (f) Funding for a virtual charter school shall be as
988 provided in s. 1002.45(7).
989 (g) To be eligible for public education capital outlay
990 (PECO) funds, a charter school must be located in the State of
992 (h) A charter school that implements a schoolwide standard
993 student attire policy pursuant to s. 1011.78 is eligible to
994 receive incentive payments.
995 (18) FACILITIES.—
996 (e) If a district school board facility or property is
997 available because it is surplus, marked for disposal, or
998 otherwise unused, it shall be provided for a charter school’s
999 use on the same basis as it is made available to other public
1000 schools in the district. A charter school receiving property
1001 from the sponsor school district may not sell or dispose of such
1002 property without written permission of the sponsor school
1003 district. Similarly, for an existing public school converting to
1004 charter status, no rental or leasing fee for the existing
1005 facility or for the property normally inventoried to the
1006 conversion school may be charged by the district school board to
1007 the parents and teachers organizing the charter school. The
1008 charter school shall agree to reasonable maintenance provisions
1009 in order to maintain the facility in a manner similar to
1010 district school board standards. The Public Education Capital
1011 Outlay maintenance funds or any other maintenance funds
1012 generated by the facility operated as a conversion school shall
1013 remain with the conversion school.
1014 (20) SERVICES.—
1015 (a)1. A sponsor shall provide certain administrative and
1016 educational services to charter schools. These services shall
1017 include contract management services; full-time equivalent and
1018 data reporting services; exceptional student education
1019 administration services; services related to eligibility and
1020 reporting duties required to ensure that school lunch services
1021 under the National School Lunch Program, consistent with the
1022 needs of the charter school, are provided by the sponsor school
1023 district at the request of the charter school, that any funds
1024 due to the charter school under the National School Lunch
1025 Program be paid to the charter school as soon as the charter
1026 school begins serving food under the National School Lunch
1027 Program, and that the charter school is paid at the same time
1028 and in the same manner under the National School Lunch Program
1029 as other public schools serviced by the sponsor or the school
1030 district; test administration services, including payment of the
1031 costs of state-required or district-required student
1032 assessments; processing of teacher certificate data services;
1033 and information services, including equal access to the
1034 sponsor’s student information systems that are used by public
1035 schools in the district in which the charter school is located
1036 or by schools in the sponsor’s portfolio of charter schools if
1037 the sponsor is not a school district. Student performance data
1038 for each student in a charter school, including, but not limited
1039 to, FCAT scores, standardized test scores, previous public
1040 school student report cards, and student performance measures,
1041 shall be provided by the sponsor to a charter school in the same
1042 manner provided to other public schools in the district or by
1043 schools in the sponsor’s portfolio of charter schools if the
1044 sponsor is not a school district.
1045 2. A sponsor may withhold an administrative fee for the
1046 provision of such services which shall be a percentage of the
1047 available funds defined in paragraph (17)(b) calculated based on
1048 weighted full-time equivalent students. If the charter school
1049 serves 75 percent or more exceptional education students as
1050 defined in s. 1003.01(3), the percentage shall be calculated
1051 based on unweighted full-time equivalent students. The
1052 administrative fee shall be calculated as follows:
1053 a. Up to 5 percent for:
1054 (I) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
1055 charter school as defined in this section.
1056 (II) Enrollment of up to and including 500 students within
1057 a charter school system which meets all of the following:
1058 (A) Includes conversion charter schools and nonconversion
1059 charter schools.
1060 (B) Has all of its schools located in the same county.
1061 (C) Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment
1062 of at least one school district in the state.
1063 (D) Has the same governing board for all of its schools.
1064 (E) Does not contract with a for-profit service provider
1065 for management of school operations.
1066 (III) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
1067 virtual charter school.
1068 b. Up to 2 percent for enrollment of up to and including
1069 250 students in a high-performing charter school as defined in
1070 s. 1002.331.
1071 c. Up to 2 percent for enrollment of up to and including
1072 250 students in an exceptional student education center that
1073 meets the requirements of the rules adopted by the State Board
1074 of Education pursuant to s. 1008.3415(3).
1075 3. A sponsor may not charge charter schools any additional
1076 fees or surcharges for administrative and educational services
1077 in addition to the maximum percentage of administrative fees
1078 withheld pursuant to this paragraph.
1079 4. A sponsor shall provide to the department by September
1080 15 of each year the total amount of funding withheld from
1081 charter schools pursuant to this subsection for the prior fiscal
1082 year. The department must include the information in the report
1083 required under sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
1084 (b) If goods and services are made available to the charter
1085 school through the contract with the sponsor school district,
1086 they shall be provided to the charter school at a rate no
1087 greater than the sponsor’s district’s actual cost unless
1088 mutually agreed upon by the charter school and the sponsor in a
1089 contract negotiated separately from the charter. When mediation
1090 has failed to resolve disputes over contracted services or
1091 contractual matters not included in the charter, an appeal may
1092 be made to an administrative law judge appointed by the Division
1093 of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law judge has
1094 final order authority to rule on the dispute. The administrative
1095 law judge shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney
1096 fees and costs incurred during the mediation process,
1097 administrative proceeding, and any appeals, to be paid by the
1098 party whom the administrative law judge rules against. To
1099 maximize the use of state funds, sponsors school districts shall
1100 allow charter schools to participate in the sponsor’s bulk
1101 purchasing program if applicable.
1102 (c) Transportation of charter school students shall be
1103 provided by the charter school consistent with the requirements
1104 of subpart I.E. of chapter 1006 and s. 1012.45. The governing
1105 body of the charter school may provide transportation through an
1106 agreement or contract with the sponsor district school board, a
1107 private provider, or parents. The charter school and the sponsor
1108 shall cooperate in making arrangements that ensure that
1109 transportation is not a barrier to equal access for all students
1110 residing within a reasonable distance of the charter school as
1111 determined in its charter.
1112 (d) Each charter school shall annually complete and submit
1113 a survey, provided in a format specified by the Department of
1114 Education, to rate the timeliness and quality of services
1115 provided by the sponsor district in accordance with this
1116 section. The department shall compile the results, by sponsor
1117 district, and include the results in the report required under
1118 sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
1119 (21) PUBLIC INFORMATION ON CHARTER SCHOOLS.—
1120 (a) The Department of Education shall provide information
1121 to the public, directly and through sponsors, on how to form and
1122 operate a charter school and how to enroll in a charter school
1123 once it is created. This information shall include the standard
1124 application form, standard charter contract, standard evaluation
1125 instrument, and standard charter renewal contract, which shall
1126 include the information specified in subsection (7) and shall be
1127 developed by consulting and negotiating with both sponsors
1128 school districts and charter schools before implementation. The
1129 charter and charter renewal contracts shall be used by charter
1130 school sponsors.
1131 (b)1. The Department of Education shall report to each
1132 charter school receiving a school grade pursuant to s. 1008.34
1133 or a school improvement rating pursuant to s. 1008.341 the
1134 school’s student assessment data.
1135 2. The charter school shall report the information in
1136 subparagraph 1. to each parent of a student at the charter
1137 school, the parent of a child on a waiting list for the charter
1138 school, the sponsor district in which the charter school is
1139 located, and the governing board of the charter school. This
1140 paragraph does not abrogate the provisions of s. 1002.22,
1141 relating to student records, or the requirements of 20 U.S.C. s.
1142 1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
1143 (25) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY STATUS FOR CERTAIN CHARTER
1144 SCHOOL SYSTEMS.—
1145 (a) A charter school system’s governing board shall be
1146 designated a local educational agency for the purpose of
1147 receiving federal funds, the same as though the charter school
1148 system were a school district, if the governing board of the
1149 charter school system has adopted and filed a resolution with
1150 its sponsor sponsoring district school board and the Department
1151 of Education in which the governing board of the charter school
1152 system accepts the full responsibility for all local education
1153 agency requirements and the charter school system meets all of
1154 the following:
1155 1. Has all schools located in the same county;
1156 2. Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment of
1157 at least one school district in the state; and
1158 3. Has the same governing board.
1160 Such designation does not apply to other provisions unless
1161 specifically provided in law.
1162 (28) RULEMAKING.—The Department of Education, after
1163 consultation with sponsors school districts and charter school
1164 directors, shall recommend that the State Board of Education
1165 adopt rules to implement specific subsections of this section.
1166 Such rules shall require minimum paperwork and shall not limit
1167 charter school flexibility authorized by statute. The State
1168 Board of Education shall adopt rules, pursuant to ss. 120.536(1)
1169 and 120.54, to implement a standard charter application form,
1170 standard application form for the replication of charter schools
1171 in a high-performing charter school system, standard evaluation
1172 instrument, and standard charter and charter renewal contracts
1173 in accordance with this section.
1174 Section 3. Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section
1175 1002.331, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1176 1002.331 High-performing charter schools.—
1178 (b) A high-performing charter school may submit not
1179 establish more than two applications for a charter school
1180 schools within the state under paragraph (a) to be opened at a
1181 time determined by the high-performing charter school in any
1182 year. A subsequent application to establish a charter school
1183 under paragraph (a) may not be submitted unless each charter
1184 school applicant commences operations or an application is
1185 otherwise withdrawn established in this manner achieves high
1186 performing charter school status. However, a high-performing
1187 charter school may establish more than one charter school within
1188 the state under paragraph (a) in any year if it operates in the
1189 area of a persistently low-performing school and serves students
1190 from that school. This paragraph applies to any high-performing
1191 charter school with an existing approved application.
1192 Section 4. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1), paragraphs (g)
1193 and (h) of subsection (6), paragraph (d) of subsection (7), and
1194 paragraph (b) of subsection (10) of section 1002.333, Florida
1195 Statutes, are amended to read:
1196 1002.333 Persistently low-performing schools.—
1197 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
1198 (c) “Persistently low-performing school” means a school
1199 that has earned three grades lower than a “C,” pursuant to s.
1200 1008.34, in at least 3 of the previous 5 years that the school
1201 received a grade and has not earned a grade of “B” or higher in
1202 the most recent 2 school years, and a school that was closed
1203 pursuant to s. 1008.33(4) within 2 years after the submission of
1204 a notice of intent.
1205 (6) STATUTORY AUTHORITY.—
1206 (g) Each school of hope that has not been designated as a
1207 local education agency shall report its students to the school
1208 district as required in s. 1011.62, and in accordance with the
1209 definitions in s. 1011.61. The school district shall include
1210 each charter school’s enrollment in the district’s report of
1211 student enrollment. A school of hope designated as a local
1212 education agency may report its students to the department in
1213 accordance with the definitions in s. 1011.61 pursuant to
1214 procedures and timelines adopted by the department. All charter
1215 schools submitting student record information required by the
1216 department shall comply with the department’s guidelines for
1217 electronic data formats for such data, and all districts shall
1218 accept electronic data that complies with the department’s
1219 electronic format.
1220 (h) A school of hope operator shall provide the school
1221 district with a concise, uniform, quarterly financial statement
1222 summary sheet that contains a balance sheet and a statement of
1223 revenue, expenditures, and changes in fund balance. The balance
1224 sheet and the statement of revenue, expenditures, and changes in
1225 fund balance shall be in the governmental fund format prescribed
1226 by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. Additionally, a
1227 school of hope operator shall comply with the annual audit
1228 requirement for charter schools in s. 218.39.
1229 (7) FACILITIES.—
1230 (d) No later than January October 1, the department each
1231 school district shall annually provide to school districts the
1232 Department of Educatio n a list of all underused, vacant, or
1233 surplus facilities owned or operated by the school district as
1234 reported in the Florida Inventory of School Houses. A school
1235 district may provide evidence to the department that the list
1236 contains errors or omissions within 30 days after receipt of the
1237 list. By each April 1, the department shall update and publish a
1238 final list of all underused, vacant, or surplus facilities owned
1239 or operated by each school district, based upon updated
1240 information provided by each school district. A hope operator
1241 establishing a school of hope may use an educational facility
1242 identified in this paragraph at no cost or at a mutually
1243 agreeable cost not to exceed $600 per student. A hope operator
1244 using a facility pursuant to this paragraph may not sell or
1245 dispose of such facility without the written permission of the
1246 school district. For purposes of this paragraph, the term
1247 “underused, vacant, or surplus facility” means an entire
1248 facility or portion thereof which is not fully used or is used
1249 irregularly or intermittently by the school district for
1250 instructional or program use.
1251 (10) SCHOOLS OF HOPE PROGRAM.—The Schools of Hope Program
1252 is created within the Department of Education.
1253 (b) Notwithstanding s. 216.301 and pursuant to s. 216.351,
1254 funds allocated for the purpose of this subsection which are not
1255 disbursed by June 30 of the fiscal year in which the funds are
1256 allocated may be carried forward for up to 7 5 years after the
1257 effective date of the original appropriation.
1258 Section 5. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
1259 1003.493, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1260 1003.493 Career and professional academies and career
1261 themed courses.—
1262 (1)(a) A “career and professional academy” is a research
1263 based program that integrates a rigorous academic curriculum
1264 with an industry-specific curriculum aligned directly to
1265 priority workforce needs established by the local workforce
1266 development board or the Department of Economic Opportunity.
1267 Career and professional academies shall be offered by public
1268 schools and school districts. Career and professional academies
1269 may be offered by charter schools. The Florida Virtual School is
1270 encouraged to develop and offer rigorous career and professional
1271 courses as appropriate. Students completing career and
1272 professional academy programs must receive a standard high
1273 school diploma, the highest available industry certification,
1274 and opportunities to earn postsecondary credit if the academy
1275 partners with a postsecondary institution approved to operate in
1276 the state.
1277 Section 6. Present subsection (3) of section 1008.3415,
1278 Florida Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (4), and a new
1279 subsection (3) is added to that section, to read:
1280 1008.3415 School grade or school improvement rating for
1281 exceptional student education centers.—
1282 (3) The Commissioner of Education, upon request by a
1283 charter school that is an exceptional student education center
1284 and that has received two consecutive ratings of “maintaining”
1285 or higher pursuant to s. 1008.341(2), shall provide a letter to
1286 the charter school and to the charter school’s sponsor stating
1287 that the charter school may replicate its educational program in
1288 the same manner as a high-performing charter school under s.
1290 Section 7. Subsection (2) of section 1012.32, Florida
1291 Statutes, is amended to read:
1292 1012.32 Qualifications of personnel.—
1293 (2)(a) Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
1294 hired or contracted to fill positions that require direct
1295 contact with students in any district school system or
1296 university lab school must, upon employment or engagement to
1297 provide services, undergo background screening as required under
1298 s. 1012.465 or s. 1012.56, whichever is applicable.
1299 (b)1. Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
1300 hired or contracted to fill positions in a any charter school
1301 other than a school of hope as defined in s. 1002.333(1)(d)1.,
1302 and members of the governing board of such any charter school,
1303 in compliance with s. 1002.33(12)(g), must, upon employment,
1304 engagement of services, or appointment, shall undergo background
1305 screening as required under s. 1012.465 or s. 1012.56, whichever
1306 is applicable, by filing with the district school board for the
1307 school district in which the charter school is located a
1308 complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law
1309 enforcement agency or an employee of the school or school
1310 district who is trained to take fingerprints.
1311 2. Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
1312 hired or contracted to fill positions in a school of hope as
1313 defined in s. 1002.333(1)(d)1., and members of the governing
1314 board of such school of hope, shall file with the school of hope
1315 a complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law
1316 enforcement agency, by an employee of the school of hope or
1317 school district who is trained to take fingerprints, or by any
1318 other entity recognized by the Department of Law Enforcement to
1319 take fingerprints.
1320 (c) Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
1321 hired or contracted to fill positions that require direct
1322 contact with students in an alternative school that operates
1323 under contract with a district school system must, upon
1324 employment or engagement to provide services, undergo background
1325 screening as required under s. 1012.465 or s. 1012.56, whichever
1326 is applicable, by filing with the district school board for the
1327 school district to which the alternative school is under
1328 contract a complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized
1329 law enforcement agency or an employee of the school or school
1330 district who is trained to take fingerprints.
1331 (d) Student teachers and persons participating in a field
1332 experience pursuant to s. 1004.04(5) or s. 1004.85 in any
1333 district school system, lab school, or charter school must, upon
1334 engagement to provide services, undergo background screening as
1335 required under s. 1012.56.
1337 Required fingerprints must shall be submitted to the Department
1338 of Law Enforcement for statewide criminal and juvenile records
1339 checks and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal
1340 criminal records checks. A person subject to this subsection who
1341 is found ineligible for employment under s. 1012.315, or
1342 otherwise found through background screening to have been
1343 convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude as defined by
1344 rule of the State Board of Education, shall not be employed,
1345 engaged to provide services, or serve in any position that
1346 requires direct contact with students. Probationary persons
1347 subject to this subsection terminated because of their criminal
1348 record have the right to appeal such decisions. The cost of the
1349 background screening may be borne by the district school board,
1350 the charter school, the employee, the contractor, or a person
1351 subject to this subsection. A district school board shall
1352 reimburse a charter school the cost of background screening if
1353 it does not notify the charter school of the eligibility of a
1354 governing board member or instructional or noninstructional
1355 personnel within the earlier of 14 days after receipt of the
1356 background screening results from the Florida Department of Law
1357 Enforcement or 30 days of submission of fingerprints by the
1358 governing board member or instructional or noninstructional
1360 Section 8. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
1361 1013.62, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1362 1013.62 Charter schools capital outlay funding.—
1363 (1) For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, charter school capital
1364 outlay funding shall consist of state funds appropriated in the
1365 2020-2021 General Appropriations Act. Beginning in fiscal year
1366 2021-2022, charter school capital outlay funding shall consist
1367 of state funds when such funds are appropriated in the General
1368 Appropriations Act and revenue resulting from the discretionary
1369 millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2) if the amount of state funds
1370 appropriated for charter school capital outlay in any fiscal
1371 year is less than the average charter school capital outlay
1372 funds per unweighted full-time equivalent student for the 2018
1373 2019 fiscal year, multiplied by the estimated number of charter
1374 school students for the applicable fiscal year, and adjusted by
1375 changes in the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States
1376 Department of Labor from the previous fiscal year. Nothing in
1377 this subsection prohibits a school district from distributing to
1378 charter schools funds resulting from the discretionary millage
1379 authorized in s. 1011.71(2).
1380 (a) To be eligible to receive capital outlay funds, a
1381 charter school must:
1382 1.a. Have been in operation for 2 or more years;
1383 b. Be governed by a governing board established in the
1384 state for 2 or more years which operates both charter schools
1385 and conversion charter schools within the state;
1386 c. Be an expanded feeder chain of a charter school within
1387 the same school district that is currently receiving charter
1388 school capital outlay funds;
1389 d. Have been accredited by a regional accrediting
1390 association as defined by State Board of Education rule; or
1391 e. Serve students in facilities that are provided by a
1392 business partner for a charter school-in-the-workplace pursuant
1393 to s. 1002.33(15)(b); or
1394 f. Be operated by a hope operator pursuant to s. 1002.333.
1395 2. Have an annual audit that does not reveal any of the
1396 financial emergency conditions provided in s. 218.503(1) for the
1397 most recent fiscal year for which such audit results are
1399 3. Have satisfactory student achievement based on state
1400 accountability standards applicable to the charter school.
1401 4. Have received final approval from its sponsor pursuant
1402 to s. 1002.33 for operation during that fiscal year.
1403 5. Serve students in facilities that are not provided by
1404 the charter school’s sponsor.
1405 Section 9. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.
1407 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================
1408 And the title is amended as follows:
1409 Delete everything before the enacting clause
1410 and insert:
1411 A bill to be entitled
1412 An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
1413 218.39, F.S.; providing that a hope operator that has
1414 not been notified that a financial audit for a fiscal
1415 year will be performed by the Auditor General must
1416 retain an independent certified public accountant to
1417 complete, within 9 months after the end of its fiscal
1418 year, an annual financial audit of its accounts, which
1419 must be paid from its public funds; requiring an
1420 auditor to discuss comments that will be included in
1421 the audit report with the hope operator’s board chair
1422 or the chair’s designee; requiring the auditor to
1423 notify each hope operator board member of specified
1424 information; requiring hope operators to file an
1425 officer’s written statement of explanation or rebuttal
1426 concerning an auditor’s findings within a certain
1427 timeframe; authorizing the Legislative Auditing
1428 Committee to require the chair of the hope operator or
1429 the chair’s designee to appear before the committee if
1430 it is determined that the written statement is
1431 insufficient; requiring each hope operator to file a
1432 copy of its audit report with specified entities;
1433 amending s. 1002.33, F.S.; authorizing state
1434 universities and Florida College System institutions
1435 to solicit applications and sponsor charter schools
1436 under certain circumstances; prohibiting certain
1437 charter schools from being sponsored by a Florida
1438 College System institution until such charter school’s
1439 existing charter expires; authorizing a state
1440 university or Florida College System institution to,
1441 at its discretion, deny an application for a charter
1442 school; revising the contents of an annual report that
1443 charter school sponsors must provide to the Department
1444 of Education; revising the date by which the
1445 department must post a specified annual report;
1446 revising provisions relating to Florida College System
1447 institutions that are operating charter schools;
1448 requiring the board of trustees of a state university
1449 or Florida College System institution that is
1450 sponsoring a charter school to serve as the local
1451 educational agency for such school; prohibiting
1452 certain charter school students from being included in
1453 specified school district grade calculations;
1454 requiring the department to develop a sponsor
1455 evaluation framework; providing requirements for the
1456 framework; requiring the department to compiles
1457 results in a specified manner; deleting obsolete
1458 language; revising requirements for the charter school
1459 application process; revising the student populations
1460 for which a charter school is authorized to limit the
1461 enrollment process; providing a calculation for the
1462 operational funding for a charter school sponsored by
1463 a state university or Florida College System
1464 institution; requiring the department to develop a
1465 tool for state universities and Florida College System
1466 institutions for specified purposes relating to
1467 certain funding calculations; providing that such
1468 funding must be appropriated to the charter school;
1469 providing for capital outlay funding for such schools;
1470 authorizing a sponsor to withhold an administrative
1471 fee for the provision of certain services to an
1472 exceptional student education center that meets
1473 specified requirements; conforming provisions to
1474 changes made by the act; amending s. 1002.331, F.S.;
1475 revising provisions relating to the opening of
1476 additional high-performing charter schools; amending
1477 s. 1002.333, F.S.; revising the definition of the term
1478 “persistently low-performing school”; authorizing,
1479 instead of requiring, a school of hope designated as a
1480 local education agency to report students in
1481 accordance with procedures and timelines adopted by
1482 the Department of Education; requiring hope operators,
1483 rather than schools of hope, to provide school
1484 districts with quarterly financial statement summary
1485 sheets; revising the manner in which underused,
1486 vacant, or surplus facilities owned or operated by
1487 school districts are identified; increasing the number
1488 of years for which certain funds may be carried
1489 forward; amending s. 1003.493, F.S.; authorizing a
1490 charter school to offer a career and professional
1491 academy; amending s. 1008.3415, F.S.; requiring the
1492 Commissioner of Education, upon request by a charter
1493 school that meets specified criteria, to provide a
1494 letter to the charter school and the charter school’s
1495 sponsor authorizing the charter school to replicate
1496 the charter school’s education program; amending s.
1497 1012.32, F.S.; providing an alternate screening method
1498 for specified persons employed by certain schools of
1499 hope or serving on certain school of hope governing
1500 boards; amending s. 1013.62, F.S.; expanding
1501 eligibility to receive capital outlay funds to schools
1502 of hope operated by a hope operator; providing an
1503 effective date.