Florida Senate - 2013                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 1630
                                Barcode 640620                          
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/25/2013           .                                

       The Committee on Appropriations (Bean) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5), paragraph (h)
    6  of subsection (6), paragraph (a) of subsection (7), paragraph
    7  (a) of subsection (8), paragraph (g) of subsection (9),
    8  paragraph (b) of subsection (16), paragraph (a) of subsection
    9  (21), and subsection (27) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes,
   10  are amended, paragraphs (o) and (p) are added to subsection (9)
   11  of that section, paragraph (c) is added to subsection (26) of
   12  that section, present paragraphs (e) and (f) of subsection (17)
   13  of that section are redesignated as paragraphs (f) and (g),
   14  respectively, and a new paragraph (e) is added to that
   15  subsection, to read:
   16         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   17         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
   18         (b) Sponsor duties.—
   19         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
   20  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
   21  charter.
   22         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
   23  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
   24  1002.345.
   25         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
   26  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
   27  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
   28  it to raise working funds.
   29         d. The sponsor’s policies shall not apply to a charter
   30  school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
   31  charter school.
   32         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
   33  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
   34  1000.03(5).
   35         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
   36  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
   37  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
   38  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
   39  to the Department of Education.
   40         g. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
   41  state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
   42  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
   43  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
   44         h. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under
   45  state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
   46  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
   47         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall
   48  not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
   49         j. The sponsor shall not impose additional reporting
   50  requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
   51  and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
   52         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
   53  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
   54  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
   55  section.
   56         3. This paragraph does not waive a district school board’s
   57  sovereign immunity.
   58         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
   59  school district or school districts in its designated service
   60  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
   61  These charter schools must include an option for students to
   62  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation.
   63  District school boards shall cooperate with and assist the
   64  Florida College System institution on the charter application.
   65  Florida College System institution applications for charter
   66  schools are not subject to the time deadlines outlined in
   67  subsection (6) and may be approved by the district school board
   68  at any time during the year. Florida College System institutions
   69  may not report FTE for any students who receive FTE funding
   70  through the Florida Education Finance Program.
   71         5. A school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
   72  agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
   73  municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
   74  within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
   75  behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
   76  issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
   77  permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
   78  needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
   79  charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
   80  district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
   81  include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
   82  that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
   83  must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
   84  the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
   85  providing such services. These services and fees are not
   86  included within the services to be provided pursuant to
   87  subsection (20).
   88         (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
   89  applications are subject to the following requirements:
   90         (h) The terms and conditions for the operation of a charter
   91  school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the applicant in a
   92  written contractual agreement, called a charter. The sponsor may
   93  shall not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that violate
   94  the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility to meet
   95  educational goals. The sponsor has 30 shall have 60 days after
   96  approval of the application to provide an initial proposed
   97  charter contract to the charter school. The applicant and
   98  sponsor shall use the standard charter adopted in state board
   99  rule pursuant to subsection (27) and the application submitted
  100  by the applicant. The parties may file an addendum to the
  101  standard charter contract, not to exceed a page limit prescribed
  102  by the department, that identifies changes to the standard
  103  charter contract. Otherwise, neither the sponsor nor the charter
  104  school may modify the standard charter contract or otherwise
  105  insert or append attachments, addenda, or exhibits to the
  106  standard charter contract. The applicant and the sponsor have 40
  107  shall have 75 days thereafter to negotiate and notice the
  108  charter contract for final approval by the sponsor unless both
  109  parties agree to an extension. The proposed charter contract
  110  shall be provided to the charter school at least 7 calendar days
  111  prior to the date of the meeting at which the charter is
  112  scheduled to be voted upon by the sponsor. The Department of
  113  Education shall provide mediation services for any dispute
  114  regarding this section subsequent to the approval of a charter
  115  application and for any dispute relating to the approved
  116  charter, except disputes regarding charter school application
  117  denials. If the Commissioner of Education determines that the
  118  dispute cannot be settled through mediation, the dispute may be
  119  appealed to an administrative law judge appointed by the
  120  Division of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law
  121  judge may rule on issues of equitable treatment of the charter
  122  school as a public school, whether proposed provisions of the
  123  charter violate the intended flexibility granted charter schools
  124  by statute, or on any other matter regarding this section except
  125  a charter school application denial, a charter termination, or a
  126  charter nonrenewal and shall award the prevailing party
  127  reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred to be paid by the
  128  losing party. The costs of the administrative hearing shall be
  129  paid by the party whom the administrative law judge rules
  130  against.
  131         (7) CHARTER.—The major issues involving the operation of a
  132  charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
  133  the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing board
  134  of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
  135  hearing to ensure community input.
  136         (a) The charter shall address and criteria for approval of
  137  the charter shall be based on:
  138         1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
  139  ages and grades to be included.
  140         2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
  141  to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
  142  employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
  143  technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
  144  performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
  145  and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
  146  professional standards.
  147         a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
  148  of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
  149  and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
  150  below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
  151  for reading must be consistent with the Sunshine State Standards
  152  and grounded in scientifically based reading research.
  153         b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
  154  instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
  155  technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
  156  provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
  157  21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
  158  methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
  159  traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
  160  Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
  161  combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
  162  instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
  163  time students of the charter school and receive the online
  164  instruction in a classroom setting at the charter school.
  165  Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s. 1012.55 who
  166  provide virtual instruction for blended learning courses may be
  167  employees of the charter school or may be under contract to
  168  provide instructional services to charter school students. At a
  169  minimum, such instructional personnel must hold an active state
  170  or school district adjunct certification under s. 1012.57 for
  171  the subject area of the blended learning course. The funding and
  172  performance accountability requirements for blended learning
  173  courses are the same as those for traditional courses.
  174         3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
  175  academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
  176  method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
  177  this subparagraph shall include a detailed description of:
  178         a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
  179  prior rates of academic progress will be established.
  180         b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
  181  academic progress achieved by these same students while
  182  attending the charter school.
  183         c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
  184  be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
  185  closely comparable student populations.
  187  The district school board is required to provide academic
  188  student performance data to charter schools for each of their
  189  students coming from the district school system, as well as
  190  rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
  191  the district school system.
  192         4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
  193  and needs of students and how well educational goals and
  194  performance standards are met by students attending the charter
  195  school. The methods shall provide a means for the charter school
  196  to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
  197  student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
  198  efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
  199  charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
  200  statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
  201         5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
  202  that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
  203  s. 1003.428, s. 1003.429, or s. 1003.43.
  204         6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
  205  board of the charter school and the sponsor.
  206         7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
  207  including the school’s code of student conduct.
  208         8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
  209  racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
  210  within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
  211  same school district.
  212         9. The financial and administrative management of the
  213  school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
  214  experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
  215  applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
  216  retained to perform such professional services and the
  217  description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
  218  policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
  219  school. A description of internal audit procedures and
  220  establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
  221  properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
  222  private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
  223  such a consideration.
  224         10. The asset and liability projections required in the
  225  application which are incorporated into the charter and shall be
  226  compared with information provided in the annual report of the
  227  charter school.
  228         11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
  229  and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
  230  losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
  231  staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
  232  violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
  233  the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
  234  will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
  235  terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
  236         12. The term of the charter which shall provide for
  237  cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
  238  made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
  239  charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
  240  achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
  241  charter shall be for 4 or 5 years. In order to facilitate access
  242  to long-term financial resources for charter school
  243  construction, charter schools that are operated by a
  244  municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
  245  eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
  246  district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
  247  charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
  248  access to long-term financial resources for charter school
  249  construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
  250  not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
  251  up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the district
  252  school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to annual
  253  review and may be terminated during the term of the charter, but
  254  only according to the provisions set forth in subsection (8).
  255         13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
  256  sponsor may not require a charter school to have a temporary
  257  certificate of occupancy or certificate of occupancy for such a
  258  facility earlier than the first day of school.
  259         14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
  260  the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
  261  retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
  262         15. The governance structure of the school, including the
  263  status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
  264  required in paragraph (12)(i).
  265         16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
  266  addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
  267  date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
  268  timetable.
  269         17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
  270  converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
  271  current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
  272  for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
  273  school after conversion in accordance with the existing
  274  collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
  275  the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
  276  alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
  277  teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
  278  as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
  279  which grants the charter to the lab school.
  280         18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
  281  employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
  282  school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
  283  directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
  284  assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
  285  school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
  286  purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
  287  mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
  288  cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
  289  law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
  290  stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
  291  stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
  292         19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
  293  1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
  294  requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
  295  performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
  296  March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
  297  levels the following school year. The written notice shall
  298  specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
  299  levels that will be added, as applicable.
  301         (a) The sponsor shall make student academic achievement for
  302  all students the most important factor when determining whether
  303  to renew or terminate the charter. The sponsor may also choose
  304  not to renew or may terminate the charter for any of the
  305  following grounds:
  306         1. Failure to participate in the state’s education
  307  accountability system created in s. 1008.31, as required in this
  308  section, or failure to meet the requirements for student
  309  performance stated in the charter.
  310         2. Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
  311  management.
  312         3. Violation of law.
  313         4. Other good cause shown.
  315         (g)1. In order to provide financial information that is
  316  comparable to that reported for other public schools, charter
  317  schools are to maintain all financial records that constitute
  318  their accounting system:
  319         a.1. In accordance with the accounts and codes prescribed
  320  in the most recent issuance of the publication titled “Financial
  321  and Program Cost Accounting and Reporting for Florida Schools”;
  322  or
  323         b.2. At the discretion of the charter school’s governing
  324  board, a charter school may elect to follow generally accepted
  325  accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, but must
  326  reformat this information for reporting according to this
  327  paragraph.
  328         2. Charter schools shall provide annual financial report
  329  and program cost report information in the state-required
  330  formats for inclusion in district reporting in compliance with
  331  s. 1011.60(1). Charter schools that are operated by a
  332  municipality or are a component unit of a parent nonprofit
  333  organization may use the accounting system of the municipality
  334  or the parent but must reformat this information for reporting
  335  according to this paragraph.
  336         3.A charter school shall provide the sponsor with a
  337  concise, uniform, monthly financial statement summary sheet that
  338  contains a balance sheet and a statement of revenue,
  339  expenditures, and changes in fund balance. The balance sheet and
  340  the statement of revenue, expenditures, and changes in fund
  341  balance shall be in the governmental funds format prescribed by
  342  the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. A charter school
  343  shall provide a monthly financial statement to the sponsor
  344  unless the charter school is designated as A high-performing
  345  charter school pursuant to s. 1002.331, in which case the high
  346  performing charter school may provide a quarterly financial
  347  statement in the same format and requirements as the uniform
  348  monthly financial statement summary sheet. The financial
  349  statement required under this paragraph shall be in a form
  350  prescribed by the Department of Education.
  351         4. A charter school shall maintain and provide financial
  352  information as required in this paragraph. The information
  353  required in this paragraph must be in a form prescribed by the
  354  Department of Education.
  355         (o)1.Upon notification of nonrenewal or termination of its
  356  charter, a charter school may not expend more than $35,000
  357  without prior written approval from the sponsor, unless such
  358  expenditure was included within the annual budget submitted to
  359  the sponsor pursuant to the charter contract or is for
  360  reasonable attorney fees and costs during the pendency of an
  361  appeal.
  362         2. The charter agreement must immediately terminate when
  363  the charter school closes.
  364         3. Charter school contracts with employees, service
  365  providers, management companies, and other types of service
  366  contracts may not extend beyond the term of the charter
  367  agreement. Payments may be made only for services provided
  368  before the closure, nonrenewal, termination, or immediate
  369  termination of the charter school.
  370         4. If the charter school closes or if the charter agreement
  371  is terminated before the term of the charter agreement expires,
  372  the remainder of the contract is void. This subparagraph applies
  373  to new contracts and to amendments to existing contracts that
  374  are executed after July 1, 2013.
  375         (p) Each charter school shall maintain a website that
  376  enables the public to obtain information regarding the school;
  377  the school’s academic performance; the names of the governing
  378  board members; the programs at the school; any management
  379  companies, service providers, or education management
  380  corporations associated with the school; the school’s annual
  381  budget and its annual independent fiscal audit; the school’s
  382  grade pursuant to s. 1008.34; and, on a quarterly basis, the
  383  minutes of governing board meetings.
  384         (16) EXEMPTION FROM STATUTES.—
  385         (b) Additionally, a charter school shall be in compliance
  386  with the following statutes:
  387         1. Section 286.011, relating to public meetings and
  388  records, public inspection, and criminal and civil penalties.
  389         2. Chapter 119, relating to public records.
  390         3. Section 1003.03, relating to the maximum class size,
  391  except that the calculation for compliance pursuant to s.
  392  1003.03 shall be the average at the school level.
  393         4. Section 1012.22(1)(c), relating to compensation and
  394  salary schedules.
  395         5. Section 1012.33(5), relating to workforce reductions,
  396  for charter school annual contracts to instructional personnel.
  397  This subparagraph does not apply to charter school instructional
  398  personnel who are at-will employees.
  399         6. Section 1012.335, relating to contracts with
  400  instructional personnel hired on or after July 1, 2011, for
  401  charter school annual contracts to instructional personnel. This
  402  subparagraph does not apply to charter school instructional
  403  personnel who are at-will employees.
  404         7. Section 1012.34(2), (3), and (7) 1012.34, relating to
  405  the substantive requirements for performance evaluations for
  406  instructional personnel and school administrators. For purposes
  407  of compliance with this subparagraph, the duties assigned to a
  408  district school superintendent apply to a charter school
  409  administrative personnel or equivalent as specified by the
  410  governing board, and the duties assigned to a district school
  411  board apply to a charter school’s governing board.
  412         (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
  413  regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
  414  a basic program or a special program, the same as students
  415  enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
  416  for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
  417         (e) Unless otherwise mutually agreed to by the charter
  418  school and its sponsor, and consistent with state and federal
  419  rules and regulations governing the use and disbursement of
  420  federal funds, the sponsor shall reimburse the charter school on
  421  a monthly basis for all invoices submitted by the charter school
  422  for federal funds available to the sponsor for the benefit of
  423  the charter school, the charter school’s students, and the
  424  charter school’s students as public school students in the
  425  school district. Such federal funds include, but are not limited
  426  to, Title I, Title II, and Individuals with Disabilities
  427  Education Act (IDEA) funds.
  429         (a) The Department of Education shall provide information
  430  to the public, directly and through sponsors, on how to form and
  431  operate a charter school and how to enroll in a charter school
  432  once it is created. This information shall include a model
  433  standard application form format, standard charter contract
  434  format, standard evaluation instrument, and standard charter
  435  renewal contract format, which shall include the information
  436  specified in subsection (7) and shall be developed by consulting
  437  and negotiating with both school districts and charter schools
  438  before implementation. The charter and charter renewal contracts
  439  formats shall be used by charter school sponsors.
  441         (c) An employee of the charter school, or his or her
  442  spouse, or an employee of a charter management organization, or
  443  his or her spouse, may not be a member of the governing board of
  444  the charter school.
  445         (27) RULEMAKING.—The Department of Education, after
  446  consultation with school districts and charter school directors,
  447  shall recommend that the State Board of Education adopt rules to
  448  implement specific subsections of this section. Such rules must
  449  shall require minimum paperwork and may shall not limit charter
  450  school flexibility authorized by statute. The State Board of
  451  Education shall adopt rules, pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and
  452  120.54, to implement a charter model application form, standard
  453  evaluation instrument, and standard charter and charter renewal
  454  contracts formats in accordance with this section. The standard
  455  charter and charter renewal contracts must be implemented by
  456  September 1, 2014.
  457         Section 2. Full implementation of online assessments for
  458  Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in English/language
  459  arts and mathematics adopted under s. 1003.41 for all
  460  kindergarten through grade 12 public school students shall occur
  461  only after the technology infrastructure, connectivity, and
  462  capacity of all public schools and school districts have been
  463  load tested and independently verified as ready for successful
  464  deployment and implementation.
  465         Section 3. The technology infrastructure, connectivity, and
  466  capacity of all public schools and school districts that
  467  administer statewide standardized assessments pursuant to s.
  468  1008.22, Florida Statutes, including online assessments, shall
  469  be load tested and independently verified as appropriate,
  470  adequate, efficient, and sustainable.
  471         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
  473  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  474         And the title is amended as follows:
  475         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  476  and insert:
  477                        A bill to be entitled                      
  478         An act relating to education; amending s. 1002.33,
  479         F.S.; allowing a school district to enter into certain
  480         interlocal agreements and allowing charter schools to
  481         use the school district for certain related services;
  482         modifying the application process for charter schools;
  483         prohibiting a sponsor from requiring a charter school
  484         to have a certificate of occupancy before the first
  485         day of school; requiring a sponsor to make student
  486         academic achievement for all students a priority in
  487         deciding whether to renew a charter; modifying charter
  488         school requirements for financial records; imposing
  489         rules that follow the closing of a charter school or
  490         termination of a charter; requiring a charter school
  491         to maintain a public website with certain information;
  492         modifying statutory exemptions for charter schools;
  493         restricting the membership of a charter school
  494         governing board; requiring that full implementation of
  495         online assessments for Next Generation Sunshine State
  496         Standards in English/language arts and mathematics for
  497         all kindergarten through grade 12 public school
  498         students occur only after the technology
  499         infrastructure, connectivity, and capacity of all
  500         public schools and school districts have been load
  501         tested and independently verified as ready for
  502         successful deployment and implementation; requiring
  503         that the technology infrastructure, connectivity, and
  504         capacity of all public schools and school districts
  505         that administer statewide standardized assessments
  506         pursuant to s. 1008.22, F.S., be load tested and
  507         independently verified as appropriate, adequate,
  508         efficient, and sustainable; providing an effective
  509         date.