Florida Senate - 2012                                    SB 1852
       By Senator Wise
       5-01409-12                                            20121852__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
    3         1002.33, F.S.; providing that a community college may
    4         operate no more than one charter school that serves
    5         students in kindergarten through grade 12, if the
    6         community college operates an approved teacher
    7         preparation program; conforming provisions to changes
    8         made by the act relating to authorized activities of a
    9         high-performing charter school that is part of a high
   10         performing charter school system; authorizing each
   11         district school board to share revenue generated by
   12         its capital outlay millage levy with charter schools
   13         on a per-student, pro rata basis; providing for
   14         recalculation of a school district’s Florida Education
   15         Finance Program allocation if the millage levy revenue
   16         is not shared; providing for distribution of
   17         recalculated funds; requiring payment to charter
   18         schools of certain federal funds received by a
   19         district school board; amending s. 1002.331, F.S.;
   20         revising requirements for designation as a high
   21         performing charter school; revising the restriction on
   22         the establishment of new charter schools that
   23         replicate a high-performing charter school’s
   24         educational program; amending s. 1002.332, F.S.;
   25         authorizing a high-performing charter school that is
   26         part of a high-performing charter school system to
   27         increase student enrollment, expand grade levels,
   28         submit quarterly financial statements, consolidate
   29         charters, and modify charter terms; providing an
   30         effective date.
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   34         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5), paragraph (a)
   35  of subsection (7), paragraph (g) of subsection (9), paragraphs
   36  (h) and (i) of subsection (10), and subsection (17) of section
   37  1002.33, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   38         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   39         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
   40         (b) Sponsor duties.—
   41         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
   42  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
   43  charter.
   44         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
   45  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
   46  1002.345.
   47         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
   48  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
   49  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
   50  it to raise working funds.
   51         d. The sponsor’s policies shall not apply to a charter
   52  school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
   53  charter school.
   54         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
   55  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
   56  1000.03(5).
   57         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
   58  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
   59  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
   60  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
   61  to the Department of Education.
   62         g. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
   63  under state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
   64  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
   65  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
   66         h. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
   67  under state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
   68  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
   69         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall
   70  not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
   71         j. The sponsor may shall not impose additional reporting
   72  requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
   73  and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
   74         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
   75  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
   76  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
   77  section.
   78         3. This paragraph does not waive a district school board’s
   79  sovereign immunity.
   80         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
   81  school district or school districts in its designated service
   82  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
   83  These charter schools must include an option for students to
   84  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
   85  community college operates an approved teacher preparation
   86  program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the community college
   87  may operate no more than one charter school that serves students
   88  in kindergarten through grade 12. District school boards shall
   89  cooperate with and assist the Florida College System institution
   90  on the charter application. Florida College System institution
   91  applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
   92  deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
   93  district school board at any time during the year. Florida
   94  College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
   95  who receive FTE funding through the Florida Education Finance
   96  Program.
   97         (7) CHARTER.—The major issues involving the operation of a
   98  charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
   99  the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing board
  100  of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
  101  hearing to ensure community input.
  102         (a) The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
  103  the charter shall be based on:
  104         1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
  105  ages and grades to be included.
  106         2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
  107  to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
  108  employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
  109  technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
  110  performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
  111  and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
  112  professional standards.
  113         a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
  114  of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
  115  and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
  116  below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
  117  for reading must be consistent with the Sunshine State Standards
  118  and grounded in scientifically based reading research.
  119         b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
  120  instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
  121  technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
  122  provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
  123  21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
  124  methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
  125  traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
  126  Charter schools may implement blended learning courses that
  127  which combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
  128  instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
  129  time students of the charter school and receive the online
  130  instruction in a classroom setting at the charter school.
  131  Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s. 1012.55 who
  132  provide virtual instruction for blended learning courses may be
  133  employees of the charter school or may be under contract to
  134  provide instructional services to charter school students. At a
  135  minimum, such instructional personnel must hold an active state
  136  or school district adjunct certification under s. 1012.57 for
  137  the subject area of the blended learning course. The funding and
  138  performance accountability requirements for blended learning
  139  courses are the same as those for traditional courses.
  140         3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
  141  academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
  142  method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
  143  this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
  144         a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
  145  prior rates of academic progress will be established.
  146         b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
  147  academic progress achieved by these same students while
  148  attending the charter school.
  149         c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
  150  be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
  151  closely comparable student populations.
  153  The district school board is required to provide academic
  154  student performance data to charter schools for each of their
  155  students coming from the district school system, as well as
  156  rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
  157  the district school system.
  158         4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
  159  and needs of students and how well educational goals and
  160  performance standards are met by students attending the charter
  161  school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
  162  to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
  163  student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
  164  efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
  165  charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
  166  statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
  167         5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
  168  that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
  169  s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, or s. 1003.43.
  170         6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
  171  board of the charter school and the sponsor.
  172         7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
  173  including the school’s code of student conduct.
  174         8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
  175  racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
  176  within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
  177  same school district.
  178         9. The financial and administrative management of the
  179  school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
  180  experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
  181  applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
  182  retained to perform such professional services and the
  183  description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
  184  policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
  185  school. A description of internal audit procedures and
  186  establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
  187  properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
  188  private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
  189  such a consideration.
  190         10. The asset and liability projections required in the
  191  application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
  192  compared with information provided in the annual report of the
  193  charter school.
  194         11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
  195  and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
  196  losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
  197  staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
  198  violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
  199  the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
  200  will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
  201  terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
  202         12. The term of the charter, which shall provide for
  203  cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
  204  made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
  205  charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
  206  achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
  207  charter shall be for 4 or 5 years. In order to facilitate access
  208  to long-term financial resources for charter school
  209  construction, charter schools that are operated by a
  210  municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
  211  eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
  212  district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
  213  charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
  214  access to long-term financial resources for charter school
  215  construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
  216  not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
  217  up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the district
  218  school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to annual
  219  review and may be terminated during the term of the charter, but
  220  only according to the provisions set forth in subsection (8).
  221         13. The facilities to be used and their location.
  222         14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
  223  the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
  224  retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
  225         15. The governance structure of the school, including the
  226  status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
  227  required in paragraph (12)(i).
  228         16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
  229  addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
  230  date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
  231  timetable.
  232         17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
  233  converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
  234  current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
  235  for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
  236  school after conversion in accordance with the existing
  237  collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
  238  the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
  239  alternative arrangements are shall not be required for current
  240  teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
  241  as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
  242  that which grants the charter to the lab school.
  243         18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
  244  employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
  245  school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
  246  directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
  247  assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
  248  school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
  249  purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
  250  mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
  251  cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
  252  law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
  253  stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
  254  stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
  255         19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
  256  1002.331 or s. 1002.332 by the charter school when it satisfies
  257  the eligibility requirements for a high-performing charter
  258  school. A high-performing charter school shall notify its
  259  sponsor in writing by March 1 if it intends to increase
  260  enrollment or expand grade levels the following school year. The
  261  written notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment
  262  increase and the grade levels that will be added, as applicable.
  264         (g) In order to provide financial information that is
  265  comparable to that reported for other public schools, charter
  266  schools are to maintain all financial records that constitute
  267  their accounting system:
  268         1. In accordance with the accounts and codes prescribed in
  269  the most recent issuance of the publication titled “Financial
  270  and Program Cost Accounting and Reporting for Florida Schools”;
  271  or
  272         2. At the discretion of the charter school’s governing
  273  board, a charter school may elect to follow generally accepted
  274  accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, but must
  275  reformat this information for reporting according to this
  276  paragraph.
  278  Charter schools shall provide annual financial report and
  279  program cost report information in the state-required formats
  280  for inclusion in district reporting in compliance with s.
  281  1011.60(1). Charter schools that are operated by a municipality
  282  or are a component unit of a parent nonprofit organization may
  283  use the accounting system of the municipality or the parent but
  284  must reformat this information for reporting according to this
  285  paragraph. A charter school shall provide a monthly financial
  286  statement to the sponsor unless the charter school is designated
  287  as a high-performing charter school pursuant to s. 1002.331 or
  288  s. 1002.332, in which case the high-performing charter school
  289  may provide a quarterly financial statement. The financial
  290  statement required under this paragraph shall be in a form
  291  prescribed by the Department of Education.
  292         (10) ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.—
  293         (h) The capacity of the charter school shall be determined
  294  annually by the governing board, in conjunction with the
  295  sponsor, of the charter school in consideration of the factors
  296  identified in this subsection unless the charter school is
  297  designated as a high-performing charter school pursuant to s.
  298  1002.331 or s. 1002.332. A sponsor may not require a charter
  299  school to waive the provisions of s. 1002.331 or s. 1002.332 or
  300  require a student enrollment cap that prohibits a high
  301  performing charter school from increasing enrollment in
  302  accordance with s. 1002.331(2) or s. 1002.332(2)(c) as a
  303  condition of approval or renewal of a charter.
  304         (i) The capacity of a high-performing charter school
  305  identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 or s. 1002.332 shall be
  306  determined annually by the governing board of the charter
  307  school. The governing board shall notify the sponsor of any
  308  increase in enrollment by March 1 of the school year preceding
  309  the increase.
  310         (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
  311  regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
  312  a basic program or a special program, the same as students
  313  enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
  314  for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
  315         (a) Each charter school shall report its student enrollment
  316  to the sponsor as required in s. 1011.62, and in accordance with
  317  the definitions in s. 1011.61. The sponsor shall include each
  318  charter school’s enrollment in the district’s report of student
  319  enrollment. All charter schools submitting student record
  320  information required by the Department of Education shall comply
  321  with the Department of Education’s guidelines for electronic
  322  data formats for such data, and all districts shall accept
  323  electronic data that complies with the Department of Education’s
  324  electronic format.
  325         (b) The basis for the agreement for funding students
  326  enrolled in a charter school shall be the sum of the school
  327  district’s operating funds from the Florida Education Finance
  328  Program as provided in s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations
  329  Act, including gross state and local funds, discretionary
  330  lottery funds, and funds from the school district’s current
  331  operating discretionary millage levy; divided by total funded
  332  weighted full-time equivalent students in the school district;
  333  multiplied by the weighted full-time equivalent students for the
  334  charter school. Charter schools whose students or programs meet
  335  the eligibility criteria in law shall be entitled to their
  336  proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the
  337  total funds available in the Florida Education Finance Program
  338  by the Legislature, including transportation. Total funding for
  339  each charter school shall be recalculated during the year to
  340  reflect the revised calculations under the Florida Education
  341  Finance Program by the state and the actual weighted full-time
  342  equivalent students reported by the charter school during the
  343  full-time equivalent student survey periods designated by the
  344  Commissioner of Education.
  345         (c) Each district school board may annually proportionately
  346  share the revenue generated by the millage levy pursuant to s.
  347  1011.71(2) with charter schools in the school district on a per
  348  student basis. If a district school board does not
  349  proportionately share the revenue generated by the millage levy
  350  pursuant to s. 1011.71(2), the Florida Education Finance Program
  351  allocation for that school district shall be recalculated so
  352  that each charter school in the school district receives, on a
  353  per-student basis, the same amount of funds that it would have
  354  received if the district school board shared the millage levy
  355  revenue with charter schools on a per-student, pro rata basis.
  356  The school district shall, within 30 days after receipt,
  357  distribute the recalculated funds to each charter school in the
  358  district. Charter schools may use these recalculated funds only
  359  for capital outlay purposes.
  360         (d)(c) If the district school board is providing programs
  361  or services to students funded by federal funds, any eligible
  362  students enrolled in charter schools in the school district
  363  shall be provided federal funds for the same level of service
  364  provided students in the schools operated by the district school
  365  board. All federal funds received by a district school board for
  366  the benefit of charter schools, charter school students, or
  367  charter school students as public school students in the school
  368  district, including, but not limited to, Title I, Title II, and
  369  IDEA funds, shall be paid in total to charter schools within 60
  370  days after receipt by the district school board. Pursuant to
  371  provisions of 20 U.S.C. 8061 s. 10306, all charter schools shall
  372  receive all federal funding for which the school is otherwise
  373  eligible, including Title I funding, not later than 5 months
  374  after the charter school first opens and within 5 months after
  375  any subsequent expansion of enrollment.
  376         (e)(d) Charter schools shall be included by the Department
  377  of Education and the district school board in requests for
  378  federal stimulus funds in the same manner as district school
  379  board-operated public schools, including Title I and IDEA funds
  380  and shall be entitled to receive such funds. Charter schools are
  381  eligible to participate in federal competitive grants that are
  382  available as part of the federal stimulus funds.
  383         (f)(e) District school boards shall make timely and
  384  efficient payment and reimbursement to charter schools,
  385  including processing paperwork required to access special state
  386  and federal funding for which they may be eligible. The district
  387  school board may distribute funds to a charter school for up to
  388  3 months based on the projected full-time equivalent student
  389  membership of the charter school. Thereafter, the results of
  390  full-time equivalent student membership surveys shall be used in
  391  adjusting the amount of funds distributed monthly to the charter
  392  school for the remainder of the fiscal year. The payment shall
  393  be issued no later than 10 working days after the district
  394  school board receives a distribution of state or federal funds.
  395  If a warrant for payment is not issued within 10 working days
  396  after receipt of funding by the district school board, the
  397  school district shall pay to the charter school, in addition to
  398  the amount of the scheduled disbursement, interest at a rate of
  399  1 percent per month calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid
  400  balance from the expiration of the 10 working days until such
  401  time as the warrant is issued.
  402         (g)(f) Funding for a virtual charter school shall be as
  403  provided in s. 1002.45(7).
  404         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) and paragraph
  405  (b) of subsection (3) of section 1002.331, Florida Statutes, are
  406  amended to read:
  407         1002.331 High-performing charter schools.—
  408         (1) A charter school is a high-performing charter school if
  409  it:
  410         (c) Did not receive a financial audit that revealed one or
  411  more of the financial emergency conditions set forth in s.
  412  218.503(1) in the most recent 3 fiscal years for which such
  413  audits are available. However, this requirement is deemed met
  414  for a charter school-in-the-workplace if there is a finding in
  415  an audit that the school has the monetary resources available to
  416  cover any reported deficiency or that the deficiency does not
  417  result in a deteriorating financial condition pursuant to s.
  418  1002.345(1)(a)3.
  420  A virtual charter school established under s. 1002.33 is not
  421  eligible for designation as a high-performing charter school.
  422         (3)
  423         (b) A high-performing charter school may not establish more
  424  than three one charter schools school within the state under
  425  paragraph (a) in any year. A subsequent application to establish
  426  a charter school under paragraph (a) may not be submitted unless
  427  each charter school established in this manner achieves high
  428  performing charter school status.
  429         Section 3. Paragraph (c) is added to subsection (2) of
  430  section 1002.332, Florida Statutes, to read:
  431         1002.332 High-performing charter school system.—
  432         (2)
  433         (c) A high-performing charter school that is part of a
  434  high-performing charter school system may:
  435         1. Increase its student enrollment once per school year by
  436  up to 15 percent more than the capacity identified in the
  437  charter.
  438         2. Expand grade levels within kindergarten through grade 12
  439  to add grade levels not already served if any annual enrollment
  440  increase resulting from grade level expansion is within the
  441  limit established in subparagraph 1.
  442         3. Submit a quarterly, rather than a monthly, financial
  443  statement to the sponsor pursuant to s. 1002.33(9)(g).
  444         4. Consolidate under a single charter the charters of
  445  multiple high-performing charter schools operated in the same
  446  school district by the charter schools’ governing boards,
  447  regardless of the renewal cycle.
  448         5. Receive a modification of its charter to a term of 15
  449  years or a 15-year charter renewal. The charter may be modified
  450  or renewed for a shorter term at the option of the high
  451  performing charter school. The charter must be consistent with
  452  s. 1002.33(7)(a)19. and (10)(h) and (i), is subject to annual
  453  review by the sponsor, and may be terminated during its term
  454  pursuant to s. 1002.33(8).
  456  A high-performing charter school that is part of a high
  457  performing charter school system shall notify its sponsor in
  458  writing by March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or
  459  expand grade levels the following school year. The written
  460  notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment increase and
  461  the grade levels that will be added, as applicable.
  462         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.