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The Florida Senate

2007 Florida Statutes

Authority to enforce public school improvement.
Section 1008.33, Florida Statutes 2007

1008.33  Authority to enforce public school improvement.--It is the intent of the Legislature that all public schools be held accountable for students performing at acceptable levels. A system of school improvement and accountability that assesses student performance by school, identifies schools in which students are not making adequate progress toward state standards, institutes appropriate measures for enforcing improvement, and provides rewards and sanctions based on performance shall be the responsibility of the State Board of Education.

(1)  Pursuant to Art. IX of the State Constitution prescribing the duty of the State Board of Education to supervise Florida's public school system and notwithstanding any other statutory provisions to the contrary, the State Board of Education shall intervene in the operation of a district school system when one or more schools in the school district have failed to make adequate progress for 2 school years in a 4-year period. For purposes of determining when a school is eligible for state board action and opportunity scholarships for its students, the terms "2 years in any 4-year period" and "2 years in a 4-year period" mean that in any year that a school has a grade of "F," the school is eligible for state board action and opportunity scholarships for its students if it also has had a grade of "F" in any of the previous 3 school years. The State Board of Education may determine that the school district or school has not taken steps sufficient for students in the school to be academically well served. Considering recommendations of the Commissioner of Education, the State Board of Education shall recommend action to a district school board intended to improve educational services to students in each school that is designated with a grade of "F." Recommendations for actions to be taken in the school district shall be made only after thorough consideration of the unique characteristics of a school, which shall include student mobility rates, the number and type of exceptional students enrolled in the school, and the availability of options for improved educational services. The state board shall adopt by rule steps to follow in this process. Such steps shall provide school districts sufficient time to improve student performance in schools and the opportunity to present evidence of assistance and interventions that the district school board has implemented.

(2)  The State Board of Education may recommend one or more of the following actions to district school boards to enable students in schools designated with a grade of "F" to be academically well served by the public school system:

(a)  Provide additional resources, change certain practices, and provide additional assistance if the state board determines the causes of inadequate progress to be related to school district policy or practice;

(b)  Implement a plan that satisfactorily resolves the education equity problems in the school;

(c)  Contract for the educational services of the school, or reorganize the school at the end of the school year under a new school principal who is authorized to hire new staff and implement a plan that addresses the causes of inadequate progress. A contract to administer an alternative school may not be entered into with a private entity which contract changes the character of the alternative school population as it existed when the alternative school was administered by the public school system. The term "character of the alternative school population" means the percentage of students having learning disabilities, physical disabilities, emotional disabilities, or developmental disabilities, as well as the percentage of students having discipline problems;

(d)  Allow parents of students in the school to send their children to another district school of their choice; or

(e)  Other action appropriate to improve the school's performance, including, if the school is a high school, requiring annual publication of the school's graduation rate calculated without GED tests for the past 3 years, disaggregated by student ethnicity.

(3)  In recommending actions to district school boards, the State Board of Education shall specify the length of time available to implement the recommended action. The State Board of Education may adopt rules to further specify how it may respond in specific circumstances. No action taken by the State Board of Education shall relieve a school from state accountability requirements.

(4)  The State Board of Education may require the Department of Education or Chief Financial Officer to withhold any transfer of state funds to the school district if, within the timeframe specified in state board action, the school district has failed to comply with the action ordered to improve the district's low-performing schools. Withholding the transfer of funds shall occur only after all other recommended actions for school improvement have failed to improve performance. The State Board of Education may impose the same penalty on any district school board that fails to develop and implement a plan for assistance and intervention for low-performing schools as specified in s. 1001.42(16)(c).

History.--s. 377, ch. 2002-387; s. 1954, ch. 2003-261; s. 45, ch. 2006-74; s. 175, ch. 2007-5.