Florida Senate - 2021                      CS for CS for SB 1028
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education; and Senators
       Hutson and Diaz
       576-04471-21                                          20211028c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
    3         1002.32, F.S.; providing that the limitation on lab
    4         schools does not apply to a school serving a military
    5         installation; removing a limitation on lab schools
    6         receiving a share of the sparsity supplement; amending
    7         s. 1002.33, F.S.; authorizing state universities and
    8         Florida College System institutions to solicit
    9         applications and sponsor charter schools under certain
   10         circumstances; prohibiting certain charter schools
   11         from being sponsored by a Florida College System
   12         institution until such charter schools’ existing
   13         charter expires; authorizing a state university or
   14         Florida College System institution to, at its
   15         discretion, deny an application for a charter school;
   16         revising the contents of an annual report that charter
   17         school sponsors must provide to the Department of
   18         Education; revising the date by which the department
   19         must post a specified annual report; revising
   20         provisions relating to Florida College System
   21         institutions that are operating charter schools;
   22         prohibiting certain interlocal agreements; requiring
   23         the board of trustees of a state university or Florida
   24         College System institution that is sponsoring a
   25         charter school to serve as the local educational
   26         agency for such school; prohibiting certain charter
   27         school students from being included in specified
   28         school district grade calculations; requiring the
   29         department to develop a sponsor evaluation framework;
   30         providing requirements for the framework; requiring
   31         the department to compile results in a specified
   32         manner; deleting obsolete language; revising
   33         requirements for the charter school application
   34         process; requiring certain school districts to reduce
   35         administrative fees withheld; requiring such school
   36         districts to file monthly reports; authorizing school
   37         districts to resume withholding the full amount of
   38         administrative fees under specified circumstance;
   39         authorizing certain charter schools to recover
   40         attorney fees and costs; requiring the State Board of
   41         Education to withhold state funds from a district
   42         school board that is in violation of a state board
   43         decision on a charter school; authorizing parties to
   44         appeal without first mediating in certain
   45         circumstances; providing that certain changes to
   46         curriculum are deemed approved; providing an
   47         exception; revising the circumstances in which a
   48         charter may be immediately terminated; providing that
   49         certain information must be provided to specified
   50         entities upon immediate termination of a charter;
   51         authorizing the award of specified fees and costs in
   52         certain circumstances; authorizing a sponsor to seek
   53         an injunction in certain circumstances; revising
   54         provisions related to sponsor assumption of operation;
   55         revising the student populations for which a charter
   56         school is authorized to limit the enrollment process;
   57         providing a calculation for the operational funding
   58         for a charter school sponsored by a state university
   59         or Florida College System institution; requiring the
   60         department to develop a tool for state universities
   61         and Florida College System institutions for specified
   62         purposes relating to certain funding calculations;
   63         providing that such funding must be appropriated to
   64         the charter school; providing for capital outlay
   65         funding for such schools; authorizing a sponsor to
   66         withhold an administrative fee for the provision of
   67         certain services to an exceptional student education
   68         center that meets specified requirements; conforming
   69         provisions to changes made by the act; amending s.
   70         1002.331, F.S.; revising requirements for a charter
   71         school to be a high-performing charter school;
   72         revising a limitation on the expansion of high
   73         performing charter schools; revising provisions
   74         relating to the opening of additional high-performing
   75         charter schools; amending s. 1002.333, F.S.; revising
   76         the definition of the term “persistently low
   77         performing school”; providing that certain nonprofit
   78         entities may be designated as a local education
   79         agency; providing that certain entities report
   80         students to the department in a specified manner;
   81         specifying reporting provisions that apply only to
   82         certain schools of hope; providing that schools of
   83         hope may comply with certain financial reporting in a
   84         specified manner; revising the manner in which
   85         underused, vacant, or surplus facilities owned or
   86         operated by school districts are identified;
   87         authorizing a nonprofit entity designated as a local
   88         education agency to use any capital assets identified
   89         in a certain annual financial audit for another school
   90         of hope operated by the local education agency within
   91         the same district; increasing the number of years for
   92         which certain funds may be carried forward; amending
   93         s. 1002.45, F.S.; authorizing a virtual charter school
   94         to provide part-time virtual instruction; amending s.
   95         1003.493, F.S.; authorizing a charter school to offer
   96         a career and professional academy; amending s.
   97         1008.3415, F.S.; requiring the Commissioner of
   98         Education, upon request by a charter school that meets
   99         specified criteria, to provide a letter to the charter
  100         school and the charter school’s sponsor authorizing
  101         the charter school to replicate its educational
  102         program; amending s. 1012.32, F.S.; providing an
  103         alternate screening method for specified persons
  104         employed by certain schools of hope or serving on
  105         certain school of hope governing boards; amending s.
  106         1013.62, F.S.; expanding eligibility to receive
  107         capital outlay funds to schools of hope operated by a
  108         hope operator; providing for severability; providing
  109         an effective date.
  111  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  113         Section 1. Subsection (2) and paragraph (a) of subsection
  114  (9) of section 1002.32, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  115         1002.32 Developmental research (laboratory) schools.—
  116         (2) ESTABLISHMENT.—There is established a category of
  117  public schools to be known as developmental research
  118  (laboratory) schools (lab schools). Each lab school shall
  119  provide sequential instruction and shall be affiliated with the
  120  college of education within the state university of closest
  121  geographic proximity. A lab school to which a charter has been
  122  issued under s. 1002.33(5)(a)2. must be affiliated with the
  123  college of education within the state university that issued the
  124  charter, but is not subject to the requirement that the state
  125  university be of closest geographic proximity. For the purpose
  126  of state funding, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical
  127  University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida State
  128  University, the University of Florida, and other universities
  129  approved by the State Board of Education and the Legislature are
  130  authorized to sponsor a lab school. The limitation of one lab
  131  school per university shall not apply to the following
  132  legislatively allowed charter lab schools authorized prior to
  133  June 1, 2003: Florida State University Charter Lab K-12 School
  134  in Broward County, Florida Atlantic University Charter Lab K-12
  135  9-12 High School in Palm Beach County, and Florida Atlantic
  136  University Charter Lab K-12 School in St. Lucie County. The
  137  limitation of one lab school per university does not apply to a
  138  university that establishes a lab school to serve families of a
  139  military installation that is within the same county as a branch
  140  campus that offers programs from the university’s college of
  141  education.
  142         (9) FUNDING.—Funding for a lab school, including a charter
  143  lab school, shall be provided as follows:
  144         (a) Each lab school shall be allocated its proportional
  145  share of operating funds from the Florida Education Finance
  146  Program as provided in s. 1011.62 based on the county in which
  147  the lab school is located and the General Appropriations Act.
  148  The nonvoted ad valorem millage that would otherwise be required
  149  for lab schools shall be allocated from state funds. The
  150  required local effort funds calculated pursuant to s. 1011.62
  151  shall be allocated from state funds to the schools as a part of
  152  the allocation of operating funds pursuant to s. 1011.62. Each
  153  eligible lab school in operation as of September 1, 2013, with a
  154  permanent high school center shall also receive a proportional
  155  share of the sparsity supplement as calculated pursuant to s.
  156  1011.62. In addition, each lab school shall receive its
  157  proportional share of all categorical funds, with the exception
  158  of s. 1011.68, and new categorical funds enacted after July 1,
  159  1994, for the purpose of elementary or secondary academic
  160  program enhancement. The sum of funds available as provided in
  161  this paragraph shall be included annually in the Florida
  162  Education Finance Program and appropriate categorical programs
  163  funded in the General Appropriations Act.
  164         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2), subsection (5),
  165  paragraphs (b) and (d) of subsection (6), paragraphs (a), (b),
  166  and (d) of subsection (7), paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of
  167  subsection (8), paragraphs (g) and (n) of subsection (9),
  168  paragraphs (d) and (e) of subsection (10), subsection (14),
  169  paragraph (c) of subsection (15), subsection (17), paragraph (e)
  170  of subsection (18), subsections (20) and (21), paragraph (a) of
  171  subsection (25), and subsection (28) of section 1002.33, Florida
  172  Statutes, are amended to read:
  173         1002.33 Charter schools.—
  175         (c) Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
  176         1. Create innovative measurement tools.
  177         2. Provide rigorous competition within the public school
  178  system district to stimulate continual improvement in all public
  179  schools.
  180         3. Expand the capacity of the public school system.
  181         4. Mitigate the educational impact created by the
  182  development of new residential dwelling units.
  183         5. Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
  184  including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
  185         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
  186         (a) Sponsoring entities.—
  187         1. A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
  188  the county over which the district school board has
  189  jurisdiction.
  190         2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
  191  created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
  192  school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
  193  school.
  194         3.Because needs relating to educational capacity,
  195  workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities are
  196  constantly changing and extend beyond school district
  197  boundaries:
  198         a.A state university may, upon approval by the Department
  199  of Education, solicit applications and sponsor a charter school
  200  to meet regional education or workforce demands by serving
  201  students from multiple school districts.
  202         b.A Florida College System institution may, upon approval
  203  by the Department of Education, solicit applications and sponsor
  204  a charter school in any county within its service area to meet
  205  workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading
  206  to industry certifications to eligible charter school students.
  207  A charter school established under subparagraph (b)4. may not be
  208  sponsored by a Florida College System institution until its
  209  existing charter with the school district expires as provided
  210  under subsection (7).
  211         c.Notwithstanding paragraph (6)(b), a state university or
  212  Florida College System institution may, at its discretion, deny
  213  an application for a charter school.
  214         (b) Sponsor duties.—
  215         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
  216  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
  217  charter.
  218         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
  219  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
  220  1002.345.
  221         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
  222  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
  223  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
  224  it to raise working funds.
  225         d. The sponsor shall not apply its policies to a charter
  226  school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
  227  charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any agreed
  228  upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect at the
  229  time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
  230  modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
  231  not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
  232  newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
  233  upon.
  234         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
  235  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
  236  1000.03(5).
  237         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
  238  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
  239  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
  240  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
  241  to the Department of Education.
  242         g. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
  243  state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
  244  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
  245  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  246         h. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
  247  state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
  248  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  249         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall
  250  not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
  251         j. The sponsor shall not impose additional reporting
  252  requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
  253  and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
  254         k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
  255  Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
  256  by the department.
  257         (I) The report shall include the following information:
  258         (A) The number of draft applications received on or before
  259  May 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
  260         (B) The number of final applications received during the
  261  school year and up to on or before August 1 and each applicant’s
  262  contact information.
  263         (B)(C) The date each application was approved, denied, or
  264  withdrawn.
  265         (C)(D) The date each final contract was executed.
  266         (II) Annually, by November 1 Beginning August 31, 2013, and
  267  each year thereafter, the sponsor shall submit to the department
  268  the information for the applications submitted the previous
  269  year.
  270         (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
  271  sponsor district, and post the report on its website by January
  272  15 November 1 of each year.
  273         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
  274  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
  275  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
  276  section.
  277         3. This paragraph does not waive a sponsor’s district
  278  school board’s sovereign immunity.
  279         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
  280  school district or school districts in its designated service
  281  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
  282  These charter schools must include an option for students to
  283  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
  284  Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
  285  preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
  286  institution may operate no more than one charter schools school
  287  that serve serves students in kindergarten through grade 12 in
  288  any school district within the service area of the institution.
  289  In kindergarten through grade 8, the charter school shall
  290  implement innovative blended learning instructional models in
  291  which, for a given course, a student learns in part through
  292  online delivery of content and instruction with some element of
  293  student control over time, place, path, or pace and in part at a
  294  supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home. A student
  295  in a blended learning course must be a full-time student of the
  296  charter school and receive the online instruction in a classroom
  297  setting at the charter school. District school boards shall
  298  cooperate with and assist the Florida College System institution
  299  on the charter application. Florida College System institution
  300  applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
  301  deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
  302  district school board at any time during the year. Florida
  303  College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
  304  participating under this subparagraph who receive FTE funding
  305  through the Florida Education Finance Program.
  306         5. For purposes of assisting the development of a charter
  307  school, a school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
  308  agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
  309  municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
  310  within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
  311  behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
  312  issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
  313  permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
  314  needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
  315  charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
  316  district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
  317  include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
  318  that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
  319  must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
  320  the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
  321  providing such services. These services and fees are not
  322  included within the services to be provided pursuant to
  323  subsection (20). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
  324  interlocal agreement between a school district and a federal or
  325  state agency, county, municipality, or other governmental entity
  326  which prohibits or limits the creation of a charter school
  327  within the geographic borders of the school district is void and
  328  unenforceable.
  329         6.The board of trustees of a sponsoring state university
  330  or Florida College System institution under paragraph (a) is the
  331  local educational agency for all charter schools it sponsors for
  332  purposes of receiving federal funds and accepts full
  333  responsibility for all local educational agency requirements and
  334  the schools for which it will perform local educational agency
  335  responsibilities. A student enrolled in a charter school that is
  336  sponsored by a state university or Florida College System
  337  institution may not be included in the calculation of the school
  338  district’s grade under s. 1008.34(5) for the school district in
  339  which he or she resides.
  340         (c)Sponsor accountability.
  341         1.The department shall, in collaboration with charter
  342  school sponsors and charter school operators, develop a sponsor
  343  evaluation framework that must address, at a minimum:
  344         a.The sponsor’s strategic vision for charter school
  345  authorization and the sponsor’s progress toward that vision.
  346         b.The alignment of the sponsor’s policies and practices to
  347  best practices for charter school authorization.
  348         c.The academic and financial performance of all operating
  349  charter schools overseen by the sponsor.
  350         d.The status of charter schools authorized by the sponsor,
  351  including approved, operating, and closed schools.
  352         2.The department shall compile the results by sponsor and
  353  include the results in the report required under sub-sub
  354  subparagraph (b)1.k.(III).
  355         (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
  356  applications are subject to the following requirements:
  357         (b) A sponsor shall receive and review all applications for
  358  a charter school using the evaluation instrument developed by
  359  the Department of Education. A sponsor shall receive and
  360  consider charter school applications received on or before
  361  August 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened
  362  at the beginning of the school district’s next school year, or
  363  to be opened at a time agreed to by the applicant and the
  364  sponsor. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
  365  application submitted before August 1 and may receive an
  366  application submitted later than August 1 if it chooses.
  367  Beginning in 2018 and thereafter, A sponsor shall receive and
  368  consider charter school applications received on or before
  369  February 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be
  370  opened 18 months later at the beginning of the school district’s
  371  school year, or to be opened at a time determined by the
  372  applicant. A sponsor may not refuse to receive a charter school
  373  application submitted before February 1 and may receive an
  374  application submitted later than February 1 if it chooses. A
  375  sponsor may not charge an applicant for a charter any fee for
  376  the processing or consideration of an application, and a sponsor
  377  may not base its consideration or approval of a final
  378  application upon the promise of future payment of any kind.
  379  Before approving or denying any application, the sponsor shall
  380  allow the applicant, upon receipt of written notification, at
  381  least 7 calendar days to make technical or nonsubstantive
  382  corrections and clarifications, including, but not limited to,
  383  corrections of grammatical, typographical, and like errors or
  384  missing signatures, if such errors are identified by the sponsor
  385  as cause to deny the final application.
  386         1. In order to facilitate an accurate budget projection
  387  process, a sponsor shall be held harmless for FTE students who
  388  are not included in the FTE projection due to approval of
  389  charter school applications after the FTE projection deadline.
  390  In a further effort to facilitate an accurate budget projection,
  391  within 15 calendar days after receipt of a charter school
  392  application, a sponsor shall report to the Department of
  393  Education the name of the applicant entity, the proposed charter
  394  school location, and its projected FTE.
  395         2. In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, an application
  396  for a charter school shall include a full accounting of expected
  397  assets, a projection of expected sources and amounts of income,
  398  including income derived from projected student enrollments and
  399  from community support, and an expense projection that includes
  400  full accounting of the costs of operation, including start-up
  401  costs.
  402         3.a. A sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or deny an
  403  application no later than 90 calendar days after the application
  404  is received, unless the sponsor and the applicant mutually agree
  405  in writing to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date,
  406  at which time the sponsor shall by a majority vote approve or
  407  deny the application. If the sponsor fails to act on the
  408  application, an applicant may appeal to the State Board of
  409  Education as provided in paragraph (c). If an application is
  410  denied, the sponsor shall, within 10 calendar days after such
  411  denial, articulate in writing the specific reasons, based upon
  412  good cause, supporting its denial of the application and shall
  413  provide the letter of denial and supporting documentation to the
  414  applicant and to the Department of Education.
  415         b. An application submitted by a high-performing charter
  416  school identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or a high-performing
  417  charter school system identified pursuant to s. 1002.332 may be
  418  denied by the sponsor only if the sponsor demonstrates by clear
  419  and convincing evidence that:
  420         (I) The application of a high-performing charter school
  421  does not materially comply with the requirements in paragraph
  422  (a) or, for a high-performing charter school system, the
  423  application does not materially comply with s. 1002.332(2)(b);
  424         (II) The charter school proposed in the application does
  425  not materially comply with the requirements in paragraphs
  426  (9)(a)-(f);
  427         (III) The proposed charter school’s educational program
  428  does not substantially replicate that of the applicant or one of
  429  the applicant’s high-performing charter schools;
  430         (IV) The applicant has made a material misrepresentation or
  431  false statement or concealed an essential or material fact
  432  during the application process; or
  433         (V) The proposed charter school’s educational program and
  434  financial management practices do not materially comply with the
  435  requirements of this section.
  437  Material noncompliance is a failure to follow requirements or a
  438  violation of prohibitions applicable to charter school
  439  applications, which failure is quantitatively or qualitatively
  440  significant either individually or when aggregated with other
  441  noncompliance. An applicant is considered to be replicating a
  442  high-performing charter school if the proposed school is
  443  substantially similar to at least one of the applicant’s high
  444  performing charter schools and the organization or individuals
  445  involved in the establishment and operation of the proposed
  446  school are significantly involved in the operation of replicated
  447  schools.
  448         c. If the sponsor denies an application submitted by a
  449  high-performing charter school or a high-performing charter
  450  school system, the sponsor must, within 10 calendar days after
  451  such denial, state in writing the specific reasons, based upon
  452  the criteria in sub-subparagraph b., supporting its denial of
  453  the application and must provide the letter of denial and
  454  supporting documentation to the applicant and to the Department
  455  of Education. The applicant may appeal the sponsor’s denial of
  456  the application in accordance with paragraph (c).
  457         4. For budget projection purposes, the sponsor shall report
  458  to the Department of Education the approval or denial of an
  459  application within 10 calendar days after such approval or
  460  denial. In the event of approval, the report to the Department
  461  of Education shall include the final projected FTE for the
  462  approved charter school.
  463         5. Upon approval of an application, the initial startup
  464  shall commence with the beginning of the public school calendar
  465  for the district in which the charter is granted. A charter
  466  school may defer the opening of the school’s operations for up
  467  to 3 years to provide time for adequate facility planning. The
  468  charter school must provide written notice of such intent to the
  469  sponsor and the parents of enrolled students at least 30
  470  calendar days before the first day of school.
  471         (d)1. The sponsor shall act upon the decision of the State
  472  Board of Education within 30 calendar days after it is received.
  473  The State Board of Education’s decision is a final action
  474  subject to judicial review in the district court of appeal. A
  475  prevailing party may file an action with the Division of
  476  Administrative Hearings to recover reasonable attorney fees and
  477  costs incurred during the denial of the application and any
  478  appeals.
  479         2.A school district that fails to implement the decision
  480  affirmed by a district court of appeal shall reduce the
  481  administrative fees withheld pursuant to subsection (20) to 1
  482  percent for all charter schools operating in the school
  483  district. Such school districts shall file a monthly report
  484  detailing the reduction in the amount of administrative fees
  485  withheld. Upon execution of the charter, the sponsor may resume
  486  withholding the full amount of administrative fees but may not
  487  recover any fees that would have otherwise accrued during the
  488  period of noncompliance. Any charter school that had
  489  administrative fees withheld in violation of this paragraph may
  490  recover attorney fees and costs to enforce the requirements of
  491  this paragraph.
  492         (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
  493  a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
  494  applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
  495  The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
  496  use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
  497  which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
  498  approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
  499  proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
  500  contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
  501  be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
  502  sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
  503  violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
  504  to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
  505  governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
  506  a public hearing to ensure community input.
  507         (a) The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
  508  the charter shall be based on:
  509         1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
  510  ages and grades to be included.
  511         2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
  512  to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
  513  employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
  514  technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
  515  performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
  516  and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
  517  professional standards.
  518         a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
  519  of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
  520  and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
  521  below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
  522  for reading must be consistent with the Next Generation Sunshine
  523  State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
  524  research.
  525         b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
  526  instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
  527  technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
  528  provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
  529  21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
  530  methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
  531  traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
  532  Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
  533  combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
  534  instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
  535  time students of the charter school pursuant to s.
  536  1011.61(1)(a)1. Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s.
  537  1012.55 who provide virtual instruction for blended learning
  538  courses may be employees of the charter school or may be under
  539  contract to provide instructional services to charter school
  540  students. At a minimum, such instructional personnel must hold
  541  an active state or school district adjunct certification under
  542  s. 1012.57 for the subject area of the blended learning course.
  543  The funding and performance accountability requirements for
  544  blended learning courses are the same as those for traditional
  545  courses.
  546         3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
  547  academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
  548  method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
  549  this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
  550         a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
  551  prior rates of academic progress will be established.
  552         b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
  553  academic progress achieved by these same students while
  554  attending the charter school.
  555         c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
  556  be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
  557  closely comparable student populations.
  559  A The district school board is required to provide academic
  560  student performance data to charter schools for each of their
  561  students coming from the district school system, as well as
  562  rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
  563  the district school system.
  564         4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
  565  and needs of students and how well educational goals and
  566  performance standards are met by students attending the charter
  567  school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
  568  to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
  569  student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
  570  efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
  571  charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
  572  statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
  573         5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
  574  that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
  575  s. 1002.3105(5), s. 1003.4281, or s. 1003.4282.
  576         6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
  577  board of the charter school and the sponsor.
  578         7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
  579  including the school’s code of student conduct. Admission or
  580  dismissal must not be based on a student’s academic performance.
  581         8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
  582  racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
  583  within the racial/ethnic range of other nearby public schools in
  584  the same school district.
  585         9. The financial and administrative management of the
  586  school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
  587  experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
  588  applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
  589  retained to perform such professional services and the
  590  description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
  591  policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
  592  school. A description of internal audit procedures and
  593  establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
  594  properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
  595  private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
  596  such a consideration.
  597         10. The asset and liability projections required in the
  598  application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
  599  compared with information provided in the annual report of the
  600  charter school.
  601         11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
  602  and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
  603  losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
  604  staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
  605  violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
  606  the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
  607  will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
  608  terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
  609         12. The term of the charter which shall provide for
  610  cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
  611  made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
  612  charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
  613  achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
  614  charter shall be for 5 years, excluding 2 planning years. In
  615  order to facilitate access to long-term financial resources for
  616  charter school construction, charter schools that are operated
  617  by a municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
  618  eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
  619  sponsor district school board. A charter lab school is eligible
  620  for a charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to
  621  facilitate access to long-term financial resources for charter
  622  school construction, charter schools that are operated by a
  623  private, not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are
  624  eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
  625  sponsor district school board. Such long-term charters remain
  626  subject to annual review and may be terminated during the term
  627  of the charter, but only according to the provisions set forth
  628  in subsection (8).
  629         13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
  630  sponsor may not require a charter school to have a certificate
  631  of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for such a
  632  facility earlier than 15 calendar days before the first day of
  633  school.
  634         14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
  635  the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
  636  retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
  637         15. The governance structure of the school, including the
  638  status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
  639  required in paragraph (12)(i).
  640         16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
  641  addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
  642  date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
  643  timetable.
  644         17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
  645  converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
  646  current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
  647  for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
  648  school after conversion in accordance with the existing
  649  collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
  650  the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
  651  alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
  652  teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
  653  as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
  654  which grants the charter to the lab school.
  655         18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
  656  employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
  657  school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
  658  directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
  659  assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
  660  school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
  661  purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
  662  mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
  663  cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
  664  law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
  665  stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
  666  stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
  667         19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
  668  1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
  669  requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
  670  performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
  671  March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
  672  levels the following school year. The written notice shall
  673  specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
  674  levels that will be added, as applicable.
  675         (b) The sponsor has 30 days after approval of the
  676  application to provide an initial proposed charter contract to
  677  the charter school. The applicant and the sponsor have 40 days
  678  thereafter to negotiate and notice the charter contract for
  679  final approval by the sponsor unless both parties agree to an
  680  extension. The proposed charter contract shall be provided to
  681  the charter school at least 7 calendar days before the date of
  682  the meeting at which the charter is scheduled to be voted upon
  683  by the sponsor. The Department of Education shall provide
  684  mediation services for any dispute regarding this section
  685  subsequent to the approval of a charter application and for any
  686  dispute relating to the approved charter, except a dispute
  687  regarding a charter school application denial. If either the
  688  charter school or the sponsor indicates in writing that the
  689  party does not desire to settle any dispute arising under this
  690  section through mediation procedures offered by the Department
  691  of Education, a charter school may immediately appeal any formal
  692  or informal decision by the sponsor to an administrative law
  693  judge appointed by the Division of Administrative Hearings. If
  694  the Commissioner of Education determines that the dispute cannot
  695  be settled through mediation, the dispute may also be appealed
  696  to an administrative law judge appointed by the Division of
  697  Administrative Hearings. The administrative law judge has final
  698  order authority to rule on issues of equitable treatment of the
  699  charter school as a public school, whether proposed provisions
  700  of the charter violate the intended flexibility granted charter
  701  schools by statute, or any other matter regarding this section,
  702  except a dispute regarding charter school application denial, a
  703  charter termination, or a charter nonrenewal. The administrative
  704  law judge shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney
  705  fees and costs incurred during the mediation process,
  706  administrative proceeding, and any appeals, to be paid by the
  707  party whom the administrative law judge rules against.
  708         (d) A charter may be modified during its initial term or
  709  any renewal term upon the recommendation of the sponsor or the
  710  charter school’s governing board and the approval of both
  711  parties to the agreement. Changes to curriculum which are
  712  consistent with state standards shall be deemed approved unless
  713  the sponsor determines in writing that the curriculum is
  714  inconsistent with state standards. Modification during any term
  715  may include, but is not limited to, consolidation of multiple
  716  charters into a single charter if the charters are operated
  717  under the same governing board, regardless of the renewal cycle.
  718  A charter school that is not subject to a school improvement
  719  plan and that closes as part of a consolidation shall be
  720  reported by the sponsor school district as a consolidation.
  722         (c) A charter may be terminated immediately if the sponsor
  723  sets forth in writing the particular facts and circumstances
  724  demonstrating indicating that an immediate and serious danger to
  725  the health, safety, or welfare of the charter school’s students
  726  exists, that the immediate and serious danger is likely to
  727  continue, and that an immediate termination of the charter is
  728  necessary. The sponsor’s determination is subject to the
  729  procedures set forth in paragraph (b), except that the hearing
  730  may take place after the charter has been terminated. The
  731  sponsor shall notify in writing the charter school’s governing
  732  board, the charter school principal, and the department of the
  733  facts and circumstances supporting the immediate termination if
  734  a charter is terminated immediately. The sponsor shall clearly
  735  identify the specific issues that resulted in the immediate
  736  termination and provide evidence of prior notification of issues
  737  resulting in the immediate termination, if applicable when
  738  appropriate. Upon receiving written notice from the sponsor, the
  739  charter school’s governing board has 10 calendar days to request
  740  a hearing. A requested hearing must be expedited and the final
  741  order must be issued within 60 days after the date of request.
  742  The administrative law judge shall award reasonable attorney
  743  fees and costs to the prevailing party of any injunction,
  744  administrative proceeding, or appeal. The sponsor may seek an
  745  injunction in the circuit court in which the charter school is
  746  located to enjoin continued operation of the charter school if
  747  shall assume operation of the charter school throughout the
  748  pendency of the hearing under paragraph (b) unless the continued
  749  operation of the charter school would materially threaten the
  750  health, safety, or welfare of the students. Failure by the
  751  sponsor to assume and continue operation of the charter school
  752  shall result in the awarding of reasonable costs and attorney’s
  753  fees to the charter school if the charter school prevails on
  754  appeal.
  755         (d) When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
  756  school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under
  757  which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public
  758  funds, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter
  759  school program grant funds, from the charter school shall revert
  760  to the sponsor. Capital outlay funds provided pursuant to s.
  761  1013.62 and federal charter school program grant funds that are
  762  unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed
  763  among eligible charter schools. In the event a charter school is
  764  dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all sponsor district
  765  school board property and improvements, furnishings, and
  766  equipment purchased with public funds shall automatically revert
  767  to full ownership by the sponsor district school board, subject
  768  to complete satisfaction of any lawful liens or encumbrances.
  769  Any unencumbered public funds from the charter school, district
  770  school board property and improvements, furnishings, and
  771  equipment purchased with public funds, or financial or other
  772  records pertaining to the charter school, in the possession of
  773  any person, entity, or holding company, other than the charter
  774  school, shall be held in trust upon the sponsor’s district
  775  school board’s request, until any appeal status is resolved.
  776         (e) If a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
  777  charter school is responsible for all debts of the charter
  778  school. The sponsor district may not assume the debt from any
  779  contract made between the governing body of the school and a
  780  third party, except for a debt that is previously detailed and
  781  agreed upon in writing by both the sponsor district and the
  782  governing body of the school and that may not reasonably be
  783  assumed to have been satisfied by the sponsor district.
  785         (g)1. In order to provide financial information that is
  786  comparable to that reported for other public schools, charter
  787  schools are to maintain all financial records that constitute
  788  their accounting system:
  789         a. In accordance with the accounts and codes prescribed in
  790  the most recent issuance of the publication titled “Financial
  791  and Program Cost Accounting and Reporting for Florida Schools”;
  792  or
  793         b. At the discretion of the charter school’s governing
  794  board, a charter school may elect to follow generally accepted
  795  accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, but must
  796  reformat this information for reporting according to this
  797  paragraph.
  798         2. Charter schools shall provide annual financial report
  799  and program cost report information in the state-required
  800  formats for inclusion in sponsor district reporting in
  801  compliance with s. 1011.60(1). Charter schools that are operated
  802  by a municipality or are a component unit of a parent nonprofit
  803  organization may use the accounting system of the municipality
  804  or the parent but must reformat this information for reporting
  805  according to this paragraph.
  806         3. A charter school shall, upon approval of the charter
  807  contract, provide the sponsor with a concise, uniform, monthly
  808  financial statement summary sheet that contains a balance sheet
  809  and a statement of revenue, expenditures, and changes in fund
  810  balance. The balance sheet and the statement of revenue,
  811  expenditures, and changes in fund balance shall be in the
  812  governmental funds format prescribed by the Governmental
  813  Accounting Standards Board. A high-performing charter school
  814  pursuant to s. 1002.331 may provide a quarterly financial
  815  statement in the same format and requirements as the uniform
  816  monthly financial statement summary sheet. The sponsor shall
  817  review each monthly or quarterly financial statement to identify
  818  the existence of any conditions identified in s. 1002.345(1)(a).
  819         4. A charter school shall maintain and provide financial
  820  information as required in this paragraph. The financial
  821  statement required in subparagraph 3. must be in a form
  822  prescribed by the Department of Education.
  823         (n)1. The director and a representative of the governing
  824  board of a charter school that has earned a grade of “D” or “F”
  825  pursuant to s. 1008.34 shall appear before the sponsor to
  826  present information concerning each contract component having
  827  noted deficiencies. The director and a representative of the
  828  governing board shall submit to the sponsor for approval a
  829  school improvement plan to raise student performance. Upon
  830  approval by the sponsor, the charter school shall begin
  831  implementation of the school improvement plan. The department
  832  shall offer technical assistance and training to the charter
  833  school and its governing board and establish guidelines for
  834  developing, submitting, and approving such plans.
  835         2.a. If a charter school earns three consecutive grades
  836  below a “C,” the charter school governing board shall choose one
  837  of the following corrective actions:
  838         (I) Contract for educational services to be provided
  839  directly to students, instructional personnel, and school
  840  administrators, as prescribed in state board rule;
  841         (II) Contract with an outside entity that has a
  842  demonstrated record of effectiveness to operate the school;
  843         (III) Reorganize the school under a new director or
  844  principal who is authorized to hire new staff; or
  845         (IV) Voluntarily close the charter school.
  846         b. The charter school must implement the corrective action
  847  in the school year following receipt of a third consecutive
  848  grade below a “C.”
  849         c. The sponsor may annually waive a corrective action if it
  850  determines that the charter school is likely to improve a letter
  851  grade if additional time is provided to implement the
  852  intervention and support strategies prescribed by the school
  853  improvement plan. Notwithstanding this sub-subparagraph, a
  854  charter school that earns a second consecutive grade of “F” is
  855  subject to subparagraph 3.
  856         d. A charter school is no longer required to implement a
  857  corrective action if it improves to a “C” or higher. However,
  858  the charter school must continue to implement strategies
  859  identified in the school improvement plan. The sponsor must
  860  annually review implementation of the school improvement plan to
  861  monitor the school’s continued improvement pursuant to
  862  subparagraph 4.
  863         e. A charter school implementing a corrective action that
  864  does not improve to a “C” or higher after 2 full school years of
  865  implementing the corrective action must select a different
  866  corrective action. Implementation of the new corrective action
  867  must begin in the school year following the implementation
  868  period of the existing corrective action, unless the sponsor
  869  determines that the charter school is likely to improve to a “C”
  870  or higher if additional time is provided to implement the
  871  existing corrective action. Notwithstanding this sub
  872  subparagraph, a charter school that earns a second consecutive
  873  grade of “F” while implementing a corrective action is subject
  874  to subparagraph 3.
  875         3. A charter school’s charter contract is automatically
  876  terminated if the school earns two consecutive grades of “F”
  877  after all school grade appeals are final unless:
  878         a. The charter school is established to turn around the
  879  performance of a district public school pursuant to s.
  880  1008.33(4)(b)2. Such charter schools shall be governed by s.
  881  1008.33;
  882         b. The charter school serves a student population the
  883  majority of which resides in a school zone served by a district
  884  public school subject to s. 1008.33(4) and the charter school
  885  earns at least a grade of “D” in its third year of operation.
  886  The exception provided under this sub-subparagraph does not
  887  apply to a charter school in its fourth year of operation and
  888  thereafter; or
  889         c. The state board grants the charter school a waiver of
  890  termination. The charter school must request the waiver within
  891  15 days after the department’s official release of school
  892  grades. The state board may waive termination if the charter
  893  school demonstrates that the Learning Gains of its students on
  894  statewide assessments are comparable to or better than the
  895  Learning Gains of similarly situated students enrolled in nearby
  896  district public schools. The waiver is valid for 1 year and may
  897  only be granted once. Charter schools that have been in
  898  operation for more than 5 years are not eligible for a waiver
  899  under this sub-subparagraph.
  901  The sponsor shall notify the charter school’s governing board,
  902  the charter school principal, and the department in writing when
  903  a charter contract is terminated under this subparagraph. A
  904  charter terminated under this subparagraph must follow the
  905  procedures for dissolution and reversion of public funds
  906  pursuant to paragraphs (8)(d)-(f) and (9)(o).
  907         4. The director and a representative of the governing board
  908  of a graded charter school that has implemented a school
  909  improvement plan under this paragraph shall appear before the
  910  sponsor at least once a year to present information regarding
  911  the progress of intervention and support strategies implemented
  912  by the school pursuant to the school improvement plan and
  913  corrective actions, if applicable. The sponsor shall communicate
  914  at the meeting, and in writing to the director, the services
  915  provided to the school to help the school address its
  916  deficiencies.
  917         5. Notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph except
  918  sub-subparagraphs 3.a.-c., the sponsor may terminate the charter
  919  at any time pursuant to subsection (8).
  920         (10) ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.—
  921         (d) A charter school may give enrollment preference to the
  922  following student populations:
  923         1. Students who are siblings of a student enrolled in the
  924  charter school.
  925         2. Students who are the children of a member of the
  926  governing board of the charter school.
  927         3. Students who are the children of an employee of the
  928  charter school.
  929         4. Students who are the children of:
  930         a.  An employee of the business partner of a charter
  931  school-in-the-workplace established under paragraph (15)(b) or a
  932  resident of the municipality in which such charter school is
  933  located; or
  934         b. A resident or employee of a municipality that operates a
  935  charter school-in-a-municipality pursuant to paragraph (15)(c)
  936  or allows a charter school to use a school facility or portion
  937  of land provided by the municipality for the operation of the
  938  charter school.
  939         5. Students who have successfully completed, during the
  940  previous year, a voluntary prekindergarten education program
  941  under ss. 1002.51-1002.79 provided by the charter school, or the
  942  charter school’s governing board, or a voluntary prekindergarten
  943  provider that has a written agreement with the governing board
  944  during the previous year.
  945         6. Students who are the children of an active duty member
  946  of any branch of the United States Armed Forces.
  947         7. Students who attended or are assigned to failing schools
  948  pursuant to s. 1002.38(2).
  949         (e) A charter school may limit the enrollment process only
  950  to target the following student populations:
  951         1. Students within specific age groups or grade levels.
  952         2. Students considered at risk of dropping out of school or
  953  academic failure. Such students shall include exceptional
  954  education students.
  955         3. Students enrolling in a charter school-in-the-workplace
  956  or charter school-in-a-municipality established pursuant to
  957  subsection (15).
  958         4. Students residing within a reasonable distance of the
  959  charter school, as described in paragraph (20)(c). Such students
  960  shall be subject to a random lottery and to the racial/ethnic
  961  balance provisions described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. or any
  962  federal provisions that require a school to achieve a
  963  racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
  964  within the racial/ethnic range of other nearby public schools in
  965  the same school district.
  966         5. Students who meet reasonable academic, artistic, or
  967  other eligibility standards established by the charter school
  968  and included in the charter school application and charter or,
  969  in the case of existing charter schools, standards that are
  970  consistent with the school’s mission and purpose. Such standards
  971  shall be in accordance with current state law and practice in
  972  public schools and may not discriminate against otherwise
  973  qualified individuals.
  974         6. Students articulating from one charter school to another
  975  pursuant to an articulation agreement between the charter
  976  schools that has been approved by the sponsor.
  977         7. Students living in a development in which a developer,
  978  including any affiliated business entity or charitable
  979  foundation, contributes to the formation, acquisition,
  980  construction, or operation of one or more charter schools or
  981  charter provides the school facilities facility and related
  982  property in an amount equal to or having a total an appraised
  983  value of at least $5 million to be used as a charter schools
  984  school to mitigate the educational impact created by the
  985  development of new residential dwelling units. Students living
  986  in the development are shall be entitled to no more than 50
  987  percent of the student stations in the charter schools school.
  988  The students who are eligible for enrollment are subject to a
  989  random lottery, the racial/ethnic balance provisions, or any
  990  federal provisions, as described in subparagraph 4. The
  991  remainder of the student stations must shall be filled in
  992  accordance with subparagraph 4.
  995  NOT TO BE PLEDGED.—Any arrangement entered into to borrow or
  996  otherwise secure funds for a charter school authorized in this
  997  section from a source other than the state or a sponsor school
  998  district shall indemnify the state and the sponsor school
  999  district from any and all liability, including, but not limited
 1000  to, financial responsibility for the payment of the principal or
 1001  interest. Any loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are
 1002  not obligations of the state or the sponsor school district but
 1003  are obligations of the charter school authority and are payable
 1004  solely from the sources of funds pledged by such agreement. The
 1005  credit or taxing power of the state or the sponsor school
 1006  district shall not be pledged and no debts shall be payable out
 1007  of any moneys except those of the legal entity in possession of
 1008  a valid charter approved by a sponsor district school board
 1009  pursuant to this section.
 1012         (c) A charter school-in-a-municipality designation may be
 1013  granted to a municipality that possesses a charter; enrolls
 1014  students based upon a random lottery that involves all of the
 1015  children of the residents of that municipality who are seeking
 1016  enrollment, as provided for in subsection (10); and enrolls
 1017  students according to the racial/ethnic balance provisions
 1018  described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. When a municipality has
 1019  submitted charter applications for the establishment of a
 1020  charter school feeder pattern, consisting of elementary, middle,
 1021  and senior high schools, and each individual charter application
 1022  is approved by the sponsor district school board, such schools
 1023  shall then be designated as one charter school for all purposes
 1024  listed pursuant to this section. Any portion of the land and
 1025  facility used for a public charter school shall be exempt from
 1026  ad valorem taxes, as provided for in s. 1013.54, for the
 1027  duration of its use as a public school.
 1028         (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
 1029  regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
 1030  a basic program or a special program, the same as students
 1031  enrolled in other public schools in a the school district.
 1032  Funding for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s.
 1033  1002.32.
 1034         (a) Each charter school shall report its student enrollment
 1035  to the sponsor as required in s. 1011.62, and in accordance with
 1036  the definitions in s. 1011.61. The sponsor shall include each
 1037  charter school’s enrollment in the sponsor’s district’s report
 1038  of student enrollment. All charter schools submitting student
 1039  record information required by the Department of Education shall
 1040  comply with the Department of Education’s guidelines for
 1041  electronic data formats for such data, and all sponsors
 1042  districts shall accept electronic data that complies with the
 1043  Department of Education’s electronic format.
 1044         (b)1. The basis for the agreement for funding students
 1045  enrolled in a charter school shall be the sum of the school
 1046  district’s operating funds from the Florida Education Finance
 1047  Program as provided in s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations
 1048  Act, including gross state and local funds, discretionary
 1049  lottery funds, and funds from the school district’s current
 1050  operating discretionary millage levy; divided by total funded
 1051  weighted full-time equivalent students in the school district;
 1052  and multiplied by the weighted full-time equivalent students for
 1053  the charter school. Charter schools whose students or programs
 1054  meet the eligibility criteria in law are entitled to their
 1055  proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the
 1056  total funds available in the Florida Education Finance Program
 1057  by the Legislature, including transportation, the research-based
 1058  reading allocation, and the Florida digital classrooms
 1059  allocation. Total funding for each charter school shall be
 1060  recalculated during the year to reflect the revised calculations
 1061  under the Florida Education Finance Program by the state and the
 1062  actual weighted full-time equivalent students reported by the
 1063  charter school during the full-time equivalent student survey
 1064  periods designated by the Commissioner of Education. For charter
 1065  schools operated by a not-for-profit or municipal entity, any
 1066  unrestricted current and capital assets identified in the
 1067  charter school’s annual financial audit may be used for other
 1068  charter schools operated by the not-for-profit or municipal
 1069  entity within the school district. Unrestricted current assets
 1070  shall be used in accordance with s. 1011.62, and any
 1071  unrestricted capital assets shall be used in accordance with s.
 1072  1013.62(2).
 1073         2.a.Students enrolled in a charter school sponsored by a
 1074  state university or Florida College System institution pursuant
 1075  to paragraph (5)(a) shall be funded as if they are in a basic
 1076  program or a special program in the school district. The basis
 1077  for funding these students is the sum of the total operating
 1078  funds from the Florida Education Finance Program for the school
 1079  district in which the school is located as provided in s.
 1080  1011.62 and the General Appropriations Act, including gross
 1081  state and local funds, discretionary lottery funds, and funds
 1082  from each school district’s current operating discretionary
 1083  millage levy, divided by total funded weighted full-time
 1084  equivalent students in the district, and multiplied by the full
 1085  time equivalent membership of the charter school. The Department
 1086  of Education shall develop a tool that each state university or
 1087  Florida College System institution sponsoring a charter school
 1088  shall use for purposes of calculating the funding amount for
 1089  each eligible charter school student. The total amount obtained
 1090  from the calculation must be appropriated from state funds in
 1091  the General Appropriations Act to the charter school.
 1092         b.Capital outlay funding for a charter school sponsored by
 1093  a state university or Florida College System institution
 1094  pursuant to paragraph (5)(a) is determined pursuant to s.
 1095  1013.62 and the General Appropriations Act.
 1096         (c) Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 8061 s. 10306, all charter
 1097  schools shall receive all federal funding for which the school
 1098  is otherwise eligible, including Title I funding, not later than
 1099  5 months after the charter school first opens and within 5
 1100  months after any subsequent expansion of enrollment. Unless
 1101  otherwise mutually agreed to by the charter school and its
 1102  sponsor, and consistent with state and federal rules and
 1103  regulations governing the use and disbursement of federal funds,
 1104  the sponsor shall reimburse the charter school on a monthly
 1105  basis for all invoices submitted by the charter school for
 1106  federal funds available to the sponsor for the benefit of the
 1107  charter school, the charter school’s students, and the charter
 1108  school’s students as public school students in the school
 1109  district. Such federal funds include, but are not limited to,
 1110  Title I, Title II, and Individuals with Disabilities Education
 1111  Act (IDEA) funds. To receive timely reimbursement for an
 1112  invoice, the charter school must submit the invoice to the
 1113  sponsor at least 30 days before the monthly date of
 1114  reimbursement set by the sponsor. In order to be reimbursed, any
 1115  expenditures made by the charter school must comply with all
 1116  applicable state rules and federal regulations, including, but
 1117  not limited to, the applicable federal Office of Management and
 1118  Budget Circulars; the federal Education Department General
 1119  Administrative Regulations; and program-specific statutes,
 1120  rules, and regulations. Such funds may not be made available to
 1121  the charter school until a plan is submitted to the sponsor for
 1122  approval of the use of the funds in accordance with applicable
 1123  federal requirements. The sponsor has 30 days to review and
 1124  approve any plan submitted pursuant to this paragraph.
 1125         (d) Charter schools shall be included by the Department of
 1126  Education and the district school board in requests for federal
 1127  stimulus funds in the same manner as district school board
 1128  operated public schools, including Title I and IDEA funds and
 1129  shall be entitled to receive such funds. Charter schools are
 1130  eligible to participate in federal competitive grants that are
 1131  available as part of the federal stimulus funds.
 1132         (e) Sponsors District school boards shall make timely and
 1133  efficient payment and reimbursement to charter schools,
 1134  including processing paperwork required to access special state
 1135  and federal funding for which they may be eligible. Payments of
 1136  funds under paragraph (b) shall be made monthly or twice a
 1137  month, beginning with the start of the sponsor’s district school
 1138  board’s fiscal year. Each payment shall be one-twelfth, or one
 1139  twenty-fourth, as applicable, of the total state and local funds
 1140  described in paragraph (b) and adjusted as set forth therein.
 1141  For the first 2 years of a charter school’s operation, if a
 1142  minimum of 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered
 1143  into the sponsor’s student information system by the first day
 1144  of the current month, the sponsor district school board shall
 1145  distribute funds to the school for the months of July through
 1146  October based on the projected full-time equivalent student
 1147  membership of the charter school as submitted in the approved
 1148  application. If less than 75 percent of the projected enrollment
 1149  is entered into the sponsor’s student information system by the
 1150  first day of the current month, the sponsor shall base payments
 1151  on the actual number of student enrollment entered into the
 1152  sponsor’s student information system. Thereafter, the results of
 1153  full-time equivalent student membership surveys shall be used in
 1154  adjusting the amount of funds distributed monthly to the charter
 1155  school for the remainder of the fiscal year. The payments shall
 1156  be issued no later than 10 working days after the sponsor
 1157  district school board receives a distribution of state or
 1158  federal funds or the date the payment is due pursuant to this
 1159  subsection. If a warrant for payment is not issued within 10
 1160  working days after receipt of funding by the sponsor district
 1161  school board, the sponsor school district shall pay to the
 1162  charter school, in addition to the amount of the scheduled
 1163  disbursement, interest at a rate of 1 percent per month
 1164  calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid balance from the
 1165  expiration of the 10 working days until such time as the warrant
 1166  is issued. The district school board may not delay payment to a
 1167  charter school of any portion of the funds provided in paragraph
 1168  (b) based on the timing of receipt of local funds by the
 1169  district school board.
 1170         (f) Funding for a virtual charter school shall be as
 1171  provided in s. 1002.45(7).
 1172         (g) To be eligible for public education capital outlay
 1173  (PECO) funds, a charter school must be located in the State of
 1174  Florida.
 1175         (h) A charter school that implements a schoolwide standard
 1176  student attire policy pursuant to s. 1011.78 is eligible to
 1177  receive incentive payments.
 1178         (18) FACILITIES.—
 1179         (e) If a district school board facility or property is
 1180  available because it is surplus, marked for disposal, or
 1181  otherwise unused, it shall be provided for a charter school’s
 1182  use on the same basis as it is made available to other public
 1183  schools in the district. A charter school receiving property
 1184  from the sponsor school district may not sell or dispose of such
 1185  property without written permission of the sponsor school
 1186  district. Similarly, for an existing public school converting to
 1187  charter status, no rental or leasing fee for the existing
 1188  facility or for the property normally inventoried to the
 1189  conversion school may be charged by the district school board to
 1190  the parents and teachers organizing the charter school. The
 1191  charter school shall agree to reasonable maintenance provisions
 1192  in order to maintain the facility in a manner similar to
 1193  district school board standards. The Public Education Capital
 1194  Outlay maintenance funds or any other maintenance funds
 1195  generated by the facility operated as a conversion school shall
 1196  remain with the conversion school.
 1197         (20) SERVICES.—
 1198         (a)1. A sponsor shall provide certain administrative and
 1199  educational services to charter schools. These services shall
 1200  include contract management services; full-time equivalent and
 1201  data reporting services; exceptional student education
 1202  administration services; services related to eligibility and
 1203  reporting duties required to ensure that school lunch services
 1204  under the National School Lunch Program, consistent with the
 1205  needs of the charter school, are provided by the sponsor school
 1206  district at the request of the charter school, that any funds
 1207  due to the charter school under the National School Lunch
 1208  Program be paid to the charter school as soon as the charter
 1209  school begins serving food under the National School Lunch
 1210  Program, and that the charter school is paid at the same time
 1211  and in the same manner under the National School Lunch Program
 1212  as other public schools serviced by the sponsor or the school
 1213  district; test administration services, including payment of the
 1214  costs of state-required or district-required student
 1215  assessments; processing of teacher certificate data services;
 1216  and information services, including equal access to the
 1217  sponsor’s student information systems that are used by public
 1218  schools in the district in which the charter school is located
 1219  or by schools in the sponsor’s portfolio of charter schools if
 1220  the sponsor is not a school district. Student performance data
 1221  for each student in a charter school, including, but not limited
 1222  to, FCAT scores, standardized test scores, previous public
 1223  school student report cards, and student performance measures,
 1224  shall be provided by the sponsor to a charter school in the same
 1225  manner provided to other public schools in the district or by
 1226  schools in the sponsor’s portfolio of charter schools if the
 1227  sponsor is not a school district.
 1228         2. A sponsor may withhold an administrative fee for the
 1229  provision of such services which shall be a percentage of the
 1230  available funds defined in paragraph (17)(b) calculated based on
 1231  weighted full-time equivalent students. If the charter school
 1232  serves 75 percent or more exceptional education students as
 1233  defined in s. 1003.01(3), the percentage shall be calculated
 1234  based on unweighted full-time equivalent students. The
 1235  administrative fee shall be calculated as follows:
 1236         a. Up to 5 percent for:
 1237         (I) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
 1238  charter school as defined in this section.
 1239         (II) Enrollment of up to and including 500 students within
 1240  a charter school system which meets all of the following:
 1241         (A) Includes conversion charter schools and nonconversion
 1242  charter schools.
 1243         (B) Has all of its schools located in the same county.
 1244         (C) Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment
 1245  of at least one school district in this the state.
 1246         (D) Has the same governing board for all of its schools.
 1247         (E) Does not contract with a for-profit service provider
 1248  for management of school operations.
 1249         (III) Enrollment of up to and including 250 students in a
 1250  virtual charter school.
 1251         b. Up to 2 percent for enrollment of up to and including
 1252  250 students in a high-performing charter school as defined in
 1253  s. 1002.331.
 1254         c. Up to 2 percent for enrollment of up to and including
 1255  250 students in an exceptional student education center that
 1256  meets the requirements of the rules adopted by the State Board
 1257  of Education pursuant to s. 1008.3415(3).
 1258         3. A sponsor may not charge charter schools any additional
 1259  fees or surcharges for administrative and educational services
 1260  in addition to the maximum percentage of administrative fees
 1261  withheld pursuant to this paragraph.
 1262         4. A sponsor shall provide to the department by September
 1263  15 of each year the total amount of funding withheld from
 1264  charter schools pursuant to this subsection for the prior fiscal
 1265  year. The department must include the information in the report
 1266  required under sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
 1267         (b) If goods and services are made available to the charter
 1268  school through the contract with the sponsor school district,
 1269  they shall be provided to the charter school at a rate no
 1270  greater than the sponsor’s district’s actual cost unless
 1271  mutually agreed upon by the charter school and the sponsor in a
 1272  contract negotiated separately from the charter. When mediation
 1273  has failed to resolve disputes over contracted services or
 1274  contractual matters not included in the charter, an appeal may
 1275  be made to an administrative law judge appointed by the Division
 1276  of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law judge has
 1277  final order authority to rule on the dispute. The administrative
 1278  law judge shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney
 1279  fees and costs incurred during the mediation process,
 1280  administrative proceeding, and any appeals, to be paid by the
 1281  party whom the administrative law judge rules against. To
 1282  maximize the use of state funds, sponsors school districts shall
 1283  allow charter schools to participate in the sponsor’s bulk
 1284  purchasing program if applicable.
 1285         (c) Transportation of charter school students shall be
 1286  provided by the charter school consistent with the requirements
 1287  of subpart I.E. of chapter 1006 and s. 1012.45. The governing
 1288  body of the charter school may provide transportation through an
 1289  agreement or contract with the sponsor district school board, a
 1290  private provider, or parents. The charter school and the sponsor
 1291  shall cooperate in making arrangements that ensure that
 1292  transportation is not a barrier to equal access for all students
 1293  residing within a reasonable distance of the charter school as
 1294  determined in its charter.
 1295         (d) Each charter school shall annually complete and submit
 1296  a survey, provided in a format specified by the Department of
 1297  Education, to rate the timeliness and quality of services
 1298  provided by the sponsor district in accordance with this
 1299  section. The department shall compile the results, by sponsor
 1300  district, and include the results in the report required under
 1301  sub-sub-subparagraph (5)(b)1.k.(III).
 1303         (a) The Department of Education shall provide information
 1304  to the public, directly and through sponsors, on how to form and
 1305  operate a charter school and how to enroll in a charter school
 1306  once it is created. This information shall include the standard
 1307  application form, standard charter contract, standard evaluation
 1308  instrument, and standard charter renewal contract, which shall
 1309  include the information specified in subsection (7) and shall be
 1310  developed by consulting and negotiating with both sponsors
 1311  school districts and charter schools before implementation. The
 1312  charter and charter renewal contracts shall be used by charter
 1313  school sponsors.
 1314         (b)1. The Department of Education shall report to each
 1315  charter school receiving a school grade pursuant to s. 1008.34
 1316  or a school improvement rating pursuant to s. 1008.341 the
 1317  school’s student assessment data.
 1318         2. The charter school shall report the information in
 1319  subparagraph 1. to each parent of a student at the charter
 1320  school, the parent of a child on a waiting list for the charter
 1321  school, the sponsor district in which the charter school is
 1322  located, and the governing board of the charter school. This
 1323  paragraph does not abrogate the provisions of s. 1002.22,
 1324  relating to student records, or the requirements of 20 U.S.C. s.
 1325  1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
 1328         (a) A charter school system’s governing board shall be
 1329  designated a local educational agency for the purpose of
 1330  receiving federal funds, the same as though the charter school
 1331  system were a school district, if the governing board of the
 1332  charter school system has adopted and filed a resolution with
 1333  its sponsor sponsoring district school board and the Department
 1334  of Education in which the governing board of the charter school
 1335  system accepts the full responsibility for all local education
 1336  agency requirements and the charter school system meets all of
 1337  the following:
 1338         1. Has all schools located in the same county;
 1339         2. Has a total enrollment exceeding the total enrollment of
 1340  at least one school district in this the state; and
 1341         3. Has the same governing board.
 1343  Such designation does not apply to other provisions unless
 1344  specifically provided in law.
 1345         (28) RULEMAKING.—The Department of Education, after
 1346  consultation with sponsors school districts and charter school
 1347  directors, shall recommend that the State Board of Education
 1348  adopt rules to implement specific subsections of this section.
 1349  Such rules shall require minimum paperwork and shall not limit
 1350  charter school flexibility authorized by statute. The State
 1351  Board of Education shall adopt rules, pursuant to ss. 120.536(1)
 1352  and 120.54, to implement a standard charter application form,
 1353  standard application form for the replication of charter schools
 1354  in a high-performing charter school system, standard evaluation
 1355  instrument, and standard charter and charter renewal contracts
 1356  in accordance with this section.
 1357         Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1), paragraph (a)
 1358  of subsection (2), and paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of
 1359  section 1002.331, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
 1360         1002.331 High-performing charter schools.—
 1361         (1) A charter school is a high-performing charter school if
 1362  it:
 1363         (a)1. Received at least two school grades of “A” and no
 1364  school grade below “B,” pursuant to s. 1008.34, during each of
 1365  the previous 3 school years or received at least two consecutive
 1366  school grades of “A” in the most recent 2 school years for the
 1367  years that the school received a grade; or
 1368         2. Receives, during its first 3 years of operation, funding
 1369  through the National Fund of the Charter School Growth Fund, and
 1370  has received no school grade lower than a “C,” pursuant to s.
 1371  1008.34, during each of the previous 3 school years for the
 1372  years that the school received a grade.
 1374  For purposes of determining initial eligibility, the
 1375  requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) only apply for the most
 1376  recent 2 fiscal years if the charter school earns two
 1377  consecutive grades of “A.” A virtual charter school established
 1378  under s. 1002.33 is not eligible for designation as a high
 1379  performing charter school.
 1380         (2) A high-performing charter school is authorized to:
 1381         (a) Increase its student enrollment once per school year to
 1382  more than the capacity identified in the charter, but student
 1383  enrollment may not exceed the capacity of the facility at the
 1384  time the enrollment increase will take effect. Facility capacity
 1385  for purposes of grade level expansion shall include any
 1386  improvements to an existing facility or any new facility in
 1387  which a majority of the students of the high-performing charter
 1388  school will enroll.
 1390  A high-performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in
 1391  writing by March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or
 1392  expand grade levels the following school year. The written
 1393  notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment increase and
 1394  the grade levels that will be added, as applicable. If a charter
 1395  school notifies the sponsor of its intent to expand, the sponsor
 1396  shall modify the charter within 90 days to include the new
 1397  enrollment maximum and may not make any other changes. The
 1398  sponsor may deny a request to increase the enrollment of a high
 1399  performing charter school if the commissioner has declassified
 1400  the charter school as high-performing. If a high-performing
 1401  charter school requests to consolidate multiple charters, the
 1402  sponsor shall have 40 days after receipt of that request to
 1403  provide an initial draft charter to the charter school. The
 1404  sponsor and charter school shall have 50 days thereafter to
 1405  negotiate and notice the charter contract for final approval by
 1406  the sponsor.
 1407         (3)
 1408         (b) A high-performing charter school may submit not
 1409  establish more than two applications for a charter school to be
 1410  opened schools within this the state under paragraph (a) at a
 1411  time determined by the high-performing charter school in any
 1412  year. A subsequent application to establish a charter school
 1413  under paragraph (a) may not be submitted unless each charter
 1414  school applicant commences operations or an application is
 1415  otherwise withdrawn established in this manner achieves high
 1416  performing charter school status. However, a high-performing
 1417  charter school may establish more than one charter school within
 1418  this the state under paragraph (a) in any year if it operates in
 1419  the area of a persistently low-performing school and serves
 1420  students from that school. This paragraph applies to any high
 1421  performing charter school with an existing approved application.
 1422         Section 4. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1), paragraphs (a),
 1423  (g), and (h) of subsection (6), paragraph (d) of subsection (7),
 1424  and paragraph (b) of subsection (10) of section 1002.333,
 1425  Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph (e) is added to
 1426  subsection (9) of that section, to read:
 1427         1002.333 Persistently low-performing schools.—
 1428         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
 1429         (c) “Persistently low-performing school” means a school
 1430  that has earned three grades lower than a “C,” pursuant to s.
 1431  1008.34, in at least 3 of the previous 5 years that the school
 1432  received a grade and has not earned a grade of “B” or higher in
 1433  the most recent 2 school years, and a school that was closed
 1434  pursuant to s. 1008.33(4) within 2 years after the submission of
 1435  a notice of intent.
 1436         (6) STATUTORY AUTHORITY.—
 1437         (a) A school of hope or a nonprofit entity that operates
 1438  more than one school of hope through a performance-based
 1439  agreement with a school district may be designated as a local
 1440  education agency by the department, if requested, for the
 1441  purposes of receiving federal funds and, in doing so, accepts
 1442  the full responsibility for all local education agency
 1443  requirements and the schools for which it will perform local
 1444  education agency responsibilities.
 1445         1. A nonprofit entity designated as a local education
 1446  agency may report its students to the department in accordance
 1447  with the definitions in s. 1011.61 and pursuant to the
 1448  department’s procedures and timelines.
 1449         2. Students enrolled in a school established by a hope
 1450  operator designated as a local educational agency are not
 1451  eligible students for purposes of calculating the district grade
 1452  pursuant to s. 1008.34(5).
 1453         (g) Each school of hope that has not been designated as a
 1454  local education agency shall report its students to the school
 1455  district as required in s. 1011.62, and in accordance with the
 1456  definitions in s. 1011.61. The school district shall include
 1457  each charter school’s enrollment in the district’s report of
 1458  student enrollment. All charter schools submitting student
 1459  record information required by the department shall comply with
 1460  the department’s guidelines for electronic data formats for such
 1461  data, and all districts shall accept electronic data that
 1462  complies with the department’s electronic format.
 1463         (h)1. A school of hope shall provide the school district
 1464  with a concise, uniform, quarterly financial statement summary
 1465  sheet that contains a balance sheet and a statement of revenue,
 1466  expenditures, and changes in fund balance. The balance sheet and
 1467  the statement of revenue, expenditures, and changes in fund
 1468  balance shall be in the governmental fund format prescribed by
 1469  the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. Additionally, a
 1470  school of hope shall comply with the annual audit requirement
 1471  for charter schools in s. 218.39.
 1472         2. A school of hope is in compliance with subparagraph 1.
 1473  if it is operated by a nonprofit entity designated as a local
 1474  education agency and if the nonprofit submits to each school
 1475  district in which it operates a school of hope:
 1476         a. A concise, uniform, quarterly financial statement
 1477  summary sheet that contains a balance sheet summarizing the
 1478  revenue, expenditures, and changes in fund balance for the
 1479  entity and for its schools of hope within the school district.
 1480         b. An annual financial audit of the nonprofit which
 1481  includes all schools of hope it operates within this state and
 1482  which complies with s. 218.39 regarding audits of a school
 1483  board.
 1484         (7) FACILITIES.—
 1485         (d) No later than January October 1, the department each
 1486  school district shall annually provide to school districts the
 1487  Department of Education a list of all underused, vacant, or
 1488  surplus facilities owned or operated by the school district as
 1489  reported in the Florida Inventory of School Houses. A school
 1490  district may provide evidence to the department that the list
 1491  contains errors or omissions within 30 days after receipt of the
 1492  list. By each April 1, the department shall update and publish a
 1493  final list of all underused, vacant, or surplus facilities owned
 1494  or operated by each school district, based upon updated
 1495  information provided by each school district. A hope operator
 1496  establishing a school of hope may use an educational facility
 1497  identified in this paragraph at no cost or at a mutually
 1498  agreeable cost not to exceed $600 per student. A hope operator
 1499  using a facility pursuant to this paragraph may not sell or
 1500  dispose of such facility without the written permission of the
 1501  school district. For purposes of this paragraph, the term
 1502  “underused, vacant, or surplus facility” means an entire
 1503  facility or portion thereof which is not fully used or is used
 1504  irregularly or intermittently by the school district for
 1505  instructional or program use.
 1506         (9) FUNDING.—
 1507         (e) For a nonprofit entity designated by the department as
 1508  a local education agency pursuant to paragraph (6)(h), any
 1509  unrestricted current and capital assets identified in the annual
 1510  financial audit required by sub-subparagraph (6)(h)2.b. may be
 1511  used for any other school of hope operated by the local
 1512  education agency within the same district. Unrestricted current
 1513  assets shall be used in accordance with s. 1011.62, and any
 1514  unrestricted capital assets shall be used in accordance with s.
 1515  1013.62(2).
 1516         (10) SCHOOLS OF HOPE PROGRAM.—The Schools of Hope Program
 1517  is created within the Department of Education.
 1518         (b) Notwithstanding s. 216.301 and pursuant to s. 216.351,
 1519  funds allocated for the purpose of this subsection which are not
 1520  disbursed by June 30 of the fiscal year in which the funds are
 1521  allocated may be carried forward for up to 7 5 years after the
 1522  effective date of the original appropriation.
 1523         Section 5. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) and paragraph
 1524  (a) of subsection (2) of section 1002.45, Florida Statutes, are
 1525  amended to read:
 1526         1002.45 Virtual instruction programs.—
 1527         (1) PROGRAM.—
 1528         (d) A virtual charter school may provide full-time or part
 1529  time virtual instruction for students in kindergarten through
 1530  grade 12 if the virtual charter school has a charter approved
 1531  pursuant to s. 1002.33 authorizing full-time virtual
 1532  instruction. A virtual charter school may:
 1533         1. Contract with the Florida Virtual School.
 1534         2. Contract with an approved provider under subsection (2).
 1535         3. Enter into an agreement with a school district to allow
 1536  the participation of the virtual charter school’s students in
 1537  the school district’s virtual instruction program. The agreement
 1538  must indicate a process for reporting of student enrollment and
 1539  the transfer of funds required by paragraph (7)(e).
 1541         (a) The department shall annually publish online a list of
 1542  providers approved to offer virtual instruction programs. To be
 1543  approved by the department, a provider must document that it:
 1544         1. Is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies,
 1545  employment practices, and operations;
 1546         2. Complies with the antidiscrimination provisions of s.
 1547  1000.05;
 1548         3. Locates an administrative office or offices in this
 1549  state, requires its administrative staff to be state residents,
 1550  requires all instructional staff to be Florida-certified
 1551  teachers under chapter 1012 and conducts background screenings
 1552  for all employees or contracted personnel, as required by s.
 1553  1012.32, using state and national criminal history records;
 1554         4. Provides to parents and students specific information
 1555  posted and accessible online that includes, but is not limited
 1556  to, the following teacher-parent and teacher-student contact
 1557  information for each course:
 1558         a. How to contact the instructor via phone, e-mail, or
 1559  online messaging tools.
 1560         b. How to contact technical support via phone, e-mail, or
 1561  online messaging tools.
 1562         c. How to contact the administration office via phone, e
 1563  mail, or online messaging tools.
 1564         d. Any requirement for regular contact with the instructor
 1565  for the course and clear expectations for meeting the
 1566  requirement.
 1567         e. The requirement that the instructor in each course must,
 1568  at a minimum, conduct one contact via phone with the parent and
 1569  the student each month;
 1570         5. Possesses prior, successful experience offering online
 1571  courses to elementary, middle, or high school students as
 1572  demonstrated by quantified student learning gains in each
 1573  subject area and grade level provided for consideration as an
 1574  instructional program option. However, for a provider without
 1575  sufficient prior, successful experience offering online courses,
 1576  the department may conditionally approve the provider to offer
 1577  courses measured pursuant to subparagraph (8)(a)2. Conditional
 1578  approval shall be valid for 1 school year only and, based on the
 1579  provider’s experience in offering the courses, the department
 1580  shall determine whether to grant approval to offer a virtual
 1581  instruction program;
 1582         6. Is accredited by a regional accrediting association as
 1583  defined by State Board of Education rule;
 1584         7. Ensures instructional and curricular quality through a
 1585  detailed curriculum and student performance accountability plan
 1586  that addresses every subject and grade level it intends to
 1587  provide through contract with the school district, including:
 1588         a. Courses and programs that meet the standards of the
 1589  International Association for K-12 Online Learning and the
 1590  Southern Regional Education Board.
 1591         b. Instructional content and services that align with, and
 1592  measure student attainment of, student proficiency in the Next
 1593  Generation Sunshine State Standards.
 1594         c. Mechanisms that determine and ensure that a student has
 1595  satisfied requirements for grade level promotion and high school
 1596  graduation with a standard diploma, as appropriate;
 1597         8. Publishes for the general public, in accordance with
 1598  disclosure requirements adopted in rule by the State Board of
 1599  Education, as part of its application as a provider and in all
 1600  contracts negotiated pursuant to this section:
 1601         a. Information and data about the curriculum of each full
 1602  time and part-time program.
 1603         b. School policies and procedures.
 1604         c. Certification status and physical location of all
 1605  administrative and instructional personnel.
 1606         d. Hours and times of availability of instructional
 1607  personnel.
 1608         e. Student-teacher ratios.
 1609         f. Student completion and promotion rates.
 1610         g. Student, educator, and school performance accountability
 1611  outcomes;
 1612         9. If the provider is a Florida College System institution,
 1613  employs instructors who meet the certification requirements for
 1614  instructional staff under chapter 1012; and
 1615         10. Performs an annual financial audit of its accounts and
 1616  records conducted by an independent certified public accountant
 1617  which is in accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor
 1618  General, is conducted in compliance with generally accepted
 1619  auditing standards, and includes a report on financial
 1620  statements presented in accordance with generally accepted
 1621  accounting principles.
 1622         Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
 1623  1003.493, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1624         1003.493 Career and professional academies and career
 1625  themed courses.—
 1626         (1)(a) A “career and professional academy” is a research
 1627  based program that integrates a rigorous academic curriculum
 1628  with an industry-specific curriculum aligned directly to
 1629  priority workforce needs established by the local workforce
 1630  development board or the Department of Economic Opportunity.
 1631  Career and professional academies shall be offered by public
 1632  schools and school districts. Career and professional academies
 1633  may be offered by charter schools. The Florida Virtual School is
 1634  encouraged to develop and offer rigorous career and professional
 1635  courses as appropriate. Students completing career and
 1636  professional academy programs must receive a standard high
 1637  school diploma, the highest available industry certification,
 1638  and opportunities to earn postsecondary credit if the academy
 1639  partners with a postsecondary institution approved to operate in
 1640  the state.
 1641         Section 7. Present subsection (3) of section 1008.3415,
 1642  Florida Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (4), and a new
 1643  subsection (3) is added to that section, to read:
 1644         1008.3415 School grade or school improvement rating for
 1645  exceptional student education centers.—
 1646         (3) A charter school that is an exceptional student
 1647  education center and that receives two consecutive ratings of
 1648  “maintaining” or higher may replicate its educational program
 1649  under s. 1002.331(3). The Commissioner of Education, upon
 1650  request by a charter school, shall verify that the charter
 1651  school meets the requirements of this subsection and provide a
 1652  letter to the charter school and the sponsor stating that the
 1653  charter school may replicate its educational program in the same
 1654  manner as a high-performing charter school under s. 1002.331(3).
 1655         Section 8. Subsection (2) of section 1012.32, Florida
 1656  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1657         1012.32 Qualifications of personnel.—
 1658         (2)(a) Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
 1659  hired or contracted to fill positions that require direct
 1660  contact with students in any district school system or
 1661  university lab school must, upon employment or engagement to
 1662  provide services, undergo background screening as required under
 1663  s. 1012.465 or s. 1012.56, whichever is applicable.
 1664         (b)1. Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
 1665  hired or contracted to fill positions in a any charter school
 1666  other than a school of hope as defined in s. 1002.333, and
 1667  members of the governing board of such any charter school, in
 1668  compliance with s. 1002.33(12)(g), must, upon employment,
 1669  engagement of services, or appointment, shall undergo background
 1670  screening as required under s. 1012.465 or s. 1012.56, whichever
 1671  is applicable, by filing with the district school board for the
 1672  school district in which the charter school is located a
 1673  complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law
 1674  enforcement agency or an employee of the school or school
 1675  district who is trained to take fingerprints.
 1676         2. Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
 1677  hired or contracted to fill positions in a school of hope as
 1678  defined in s. 1002.333, and members of the governing board of
 1679  such school of hope, shall file with the school of hope a
 1680  complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law
 1681  enforcement agency, by an employee of the school of hope or
 1682  school district who is trained to take fingerprints, or by any
 1683  other entity recognized by the Department of Law Enforcement to
 1684  take fingerprints.
 1685         (c) Instructional and noninstructional personnel who are
 1686  hired or contracted to fill positions that require direct
 1687  contact with students in an alternative school that operates
 1688  under contract with a district school system must, upon
 1689  employment or engagement to provide services, undergo background
 1690  screening as required under s. 1012.465 or s. 1012.56, whichever
 1691  is applicable, by filing with the district school board for the
 1692  school district to which the alternative school is under
 1693  contract a complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized
 1694  law enforcement agency or an employee of the school or school
 1695  district who is trained to take fingerprints.
 1696         (d) Student teachers and persons participating in a field
 1697  experience pursuant to s. 1004.04(5) or s. 1004.85 in any
 1698  district school system, lab school, or charter school must, upon
 1699  engagement to provide services, undergo background screening as
 1700  required under s. 1012.56.
 1702  Required fingerprints must shall be submitted to the Department
 1703  of Law Enforcement for statewide criminal and juvenile records
 1704  checks and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal
 1705  criminal records checks. A person subject to this subsection who
 1706  is found ineligible for employment under s. 1012.315, or
 1707  otherwise found through background screening to have been
 1708  convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude as defined by
 1709  rule of the State Board of Education, shall not be employed,
 1710  engaged to provide services, or serve in any position that
 1711  requires direct contact with students. Probationary persons
 1712  subject to this subsection terminated because of their criminal
 1713  record have the right to appeal such decisions. The cost of the
 1714  background screening may be borne by the district school board,
 1715  the charter school, the employee, the contractor, or a person
 1716  subject to this subsection. A district school board shall
 1717  reimburse a charter school the cost of background screening if
 1718  it does not notify the charter school of the eligibility of a
 1719  governing board member or instructional or noninstructional
 1720  personnel within the earlier of 14 days after receipt of the
 1721  background screening results from the Florida Department of Law
 1722  Enforcement or 30 days of submission of fingerprints by the
 1723  governing board member or instructional or noninstructional
 1724  personnel.
 1725         Section 9. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
 1726  1013.62, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1727         1013.62 Charter schools capital outlay funding.—
 1728         (1) For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, charter school capital
 1729  outlay funding shall consist of state funds appropriated in the
 1730  2020-2021 General Appropriations Act. Beginning in fiscal year
 1731  2021-2022, charter school capital outlay funding shall consist
 1732  of state funds when such funds are appropriated in the General
 1733  Appropriations Act and revenue resulting from the discretionary
 1734  millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2) if the amount of state funds
 1735  appropriated for charter school capital outlay in any fiscal
 1736  year is less than the average charter school capital outlay
 1737  funds per unweighted full-time equivalent student for the 2018
 1738  2019 fiscal year, multiplied by the estimated number of charter
 1739  school students for the applicable fiscal year, and adjusted by
 1740  changes in the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States
 1741  Department of Labor from the previous fiscal year. Nothing in
 1742  this subsection prohibits a school district from distributing to
 1743  charter schools funds resulting from the discretionary millage
 1744  authorized in s. 1011.71(2).
 1745         (a) To be eligible to receive capital outlay funds, a
 1746  charter school must:
 1747         1.a. Have been in operation for 2 or more years;
 1748         b. Be governed by a governing board established in the
 1749  state for 2 or more years which operates both charter schools
 1750  and conversion charter schools within the state;
 1751         c. Be an expanded feeder chain of a charter school within
 1752  the same school district that is currently receiving charter
 1753  school capital outlay funds;
 1754         d. Have been accredited by a regional accrediting
 1755  association as defined by State Board of Education rule; or
 1756         e. Serve students in facilities that are provided by a
 1757  business partner for a charter school-in-the-workplace pursuant
 1758  to s. 1002.33(15)(b); or
 1759         f. Be operated by a hope operator pursuant to s. 1002.333.
 1760         2. Have an annual audit that does not reveal any of the
 1761  financial emergency conditions provided in s. 218.503(1) for the
 1762  most recent fiscal year for which such audit results are
 1763  available.
 1764         3. Have satisfactory student achievement based on state
 1765  accountability standards applicable to the charter school.
 1766         4. Have received final approval from its sponsor pursuant
 1767  to s. 1002.33 for operation during that fiscal year.
 1768         5. Serve students in facilities that are not provided by
 1769  the charter school’s sponsor.
 1770         Section 10. If any provision of this act or its application
 1771  to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity
 1772  does not affect other provisions or applications of the act
 1773  which can be given effect without the invalid provision or
 1774  application, and to this end the provisions of this act are
 1775  severable.
 1776         Section 11. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.