Florida Senate - 2014 SB 1124
By Senator Montford
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to charter schools; amending s.
3 1002.33, F.S.; revising the contents of the annual
4 report submitted by the sponsor of a charter school;
5 revising the requirements of the contents of a charter
6 school application and a charter to include a
7 requirement that a governing board demonstrate that it
8 is independent of a management company; requiring that
9 at least one member of the governing board of a
10 charter school be a parent of a student enrolled in
11 the school; providing for the voluntary withdrawal of
12 a student from a charter school; providing an
13 exception; providing for the transfer of funds if a
14 student voluntarily withdraws from a charter school;
15 providing procedures for the withdrawal of a student
16 from a charter school if the withdrawal is initiated
17 by the school; providing for the transfer of funds;
18 prohibiting a student from being dismissed or
19 requested to withdraw from a charter school under
20 certain circumstances; requiring a charter school to
21 post a specified bond; providing requirements for such
22 bond; revising terminology; prohibiting specified
23 conflicts of interest on the part of members of a
24 charter school board of directors or specified
25 contracts; providing an exception; authorizing
26 specified persons to file a complaint with the
27 Department of Education under certain circumstances;
28 providing procedures for investigation of such a
29 complaint; creating s. 1002.346, F.S.; providing
30 procedures and requirements for audits and
31 investigations of charter schools; providing for
32 oversight of a charter school by the district school
33 board; amending s. 1002.451, F.S.; deleting provisions
34 relating to performance contracts for innovation
35 schools of technology; requiring a district school
36 board to notify the department of the establishment of
37 an innovation school of technology; providing
38 requirements for such notification; deleting
39 provisions limiting the number of innovation schools
40 of technology a district school board may operate;
41 amending s. 1002.331, F.S.; conforming a cross
42 reference; providing an effective date.
44 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
46 Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5), paragraph (a)
47 of subsection (6), paragraph (a) of subsection (7), subsection
48 (10), and paragraph (a) of subsection (21) of section 1002.33,
49 Florida Statutes, are amended, paragraph (g) is added to
50 subsection (17) of that section, present subsection (27) of that
51 section is redesignated as subsection (29), and a new subsection
52 (27) and subsection (28) are added to that section, to read:
53 1002.33 Charter schools.—
54 (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
55 (b) Sponsor duties.—
56 1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
57 school in its progress toward the goals established in the
59 b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
60 of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
62 c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
63 before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
65 it to raise working funds.
66 d. The sponsor may shall not apply its policies to a
67 charter school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and
68 the charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any
69 agreed-upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect
70 at the time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
71 modification thereof, must shall remain in effect and the
72 sponsor may not hold the charter school responsible for any
73 provision of a newly revised policy until the revised policy is
74 mutually agreed upon.
75 e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
76 and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
78 f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
79 participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
80 a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
81 the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
82 to the Department of Education.
83 g. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
84 under state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
85 resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
86 agent, or governing body of the charter school.
87 h. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
88 under state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
89 employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
90 i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school do
91 shall not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
92 j. The sponsor may shall not impose additional reporting
93 requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable
94 and specific justification in writing to the charter school.
95 k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
96 Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
97 by the department.
98 (I) The report must shall include the following
100 (A) The number of draft applications received on or before
101 May 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
102 (B) The number of final applications received on or before
103 August 1 and each applicant’s contact information.
104 (C) The date each application was approved, denied, or
106 (D) The date each final contract was executed.
107 (E) The number of students who have voluntarily or
108 involuntarily withdrawn from a charter school, the names of the
109 charter schools attended by such students, the reason for the
110 voluntary or involuntary withdrawal of such students, and the
111 amount of pro rata funds transferred to the district school
112 board pursuant to the requirements of paragraphs (10)(h) and
114 (II) Beginning August 31, 2013, and each year thereafter,
115 the sponsor shall submit to the department the information for
116 the applications submitted the previous year.
117 (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
118 district, and post the report on its website by November 1 of
119 each year.
120 2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
121 subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
122 not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
124 3. This paragraph does not waive a district school board’s
125 sovereign immunity.
126 4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
127 school district or school districts in its designated service
128 area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
129 These charter schools must include an option for students to
130 receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
131 Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
132 preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
133 institution may operate no more than one charter school that
134 serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. In
135 kindergarten through grade 8, the charter school shall implement
136 innovative blended learning instructional models in which, for a
137 given course, a student learns in part through online delivery
138 of content and instruction with some element of student control
139 over time, place, path, or pace and in part at a supervised
140 brick-and-mortar location away from home. A student in a blended
141 learning course must be a full-time student of the charter
142 school and receive the online instruction in a classroom setting
143 at the charter school. District school boards shall cooperate
144 with and assist the Florida College System institution on the
145 charter application. Florida College System institution
146 applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
147 deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
148 district school board at any time during the year. Florida
149 College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
150 who receive FTE funding through the Florida Education Finance
152 5. A school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
153 agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
154 municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
155 within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
156 behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
157 issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
158 permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
159 needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
160 charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
161 district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
162 include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
163 that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
164 must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
165 the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
166 providing such services. These services and fees are not
167 included within the services to be provided pursuant to
168 subsection (20).
169 (6) APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.—Charter school
170 applications are subject to the following requirements:
171 (a) A person or entity wishing to open a charter school
172 shall prepare and submit an application on a model application
173 form prepared by the Department of Education which:
174 1. Demonstrates how the school will use the guiding
175 principles and meet the statutorily defined purpose of a charter
177 2. Provides a detailed curriculum plan that illustrates how
178 students will be provided services to attain the Sunshine State
180 3. Contains goals and objectives for improving student
181 learning and measuring that improvement. These goals and
182 objectives must indicate how much academic improvement students
183 are expected to show each year, how success will be evaluated,
184 and the specific results to be attained through instruction.
185 4. Describes the reading curriculum and differentiated
186 strategies that will be used for students reading at grade level
187 or higher and a separate curriculum and strategies for students
188 who are reading below grade level. A sponsor shall deny a
189 charter if the school does not propose a reading curriculum that
190 is consistent with effective teaching strategies that are
191 grounded in scientifically based reading research.
192 5. Contains an annual financial plan for each year
193 requested by the charter for operation of the school for up to 5
194 years. This plan must contain anticipated fund balances based on
195 revenue projections, a spending plan based on projected revenues
196 and expenses, and a description of controls that will safeguard
197 finances and projected enrollment trends.
198 6. Demonstrates and provides documentation showing that the
199 governing board is independent of any management company and has
200 the ability to terminate the contract with the management
201 company at any time and in the sole discretion of the governing
202 board Documents that the applicant has participated in the
203 training required in subparagraph (f)2. A sponsor may require an
204 applicant to provide additional information as an addendum to
205 the charter school application described in this paragraph.
206 7. For the establishment of a virtual charter school,
207 documents that the applicant has contracted with a provider of
208 virtual instruction services pursuant to s. 1002.45(1)(d).
209 (7) CHARTER.—The major issues involving the operation of a
210 charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
211 the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing board
212 of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
213 hearing to ensure community input.
214 (a) The charter must shall address and criteria for
215 approval of the charter must shall be based on:
216 1. The school’s mission, the students to be served, and the
217 ages and grades to be included.
218 2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
219 to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
220 employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
221 technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
222 performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
223 and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
224 professional standards.
225 a. The charter shall ensure that reading is a primary focus
226 of the curriculum and that resources are provided to identify
227 and provide specialized instruction for students who are reading
228 below grade level. The curriculum and instructional strategies
229 for reading must be consistent with the Next Generation Sunshine
230 State Standards and grounded in scientifically based reading
232 b. In order to provide students with access to diverse
233 instructional delivery models, to facilitate the integration of
234 technology within traditional classroom instruction, and to
235 provide students with the skills they need to compete in the
236 21st century economy, the Legislature encourages instructional
237 methods for blended learning courses consisting of both
238 traditional classroom and online instructional techniques.
239 Charter schools may implement blended learning courses which
240 combine traditional classroom instruction and virtual
241 instruction. Students in a blended learning course must be full
242 time students of the charter school and receive the online
243 instruction in a classroom setting at the charter school.
244 Instructional personnel certified pursuant to s. 1012.55 who
245 provide virtual instruction for blended learning courses may be
246 employees of the charter school or may be under contract to
247 provide instructional services to charter school students. At a
248 minimum, such instructional personnel must hold an active state
249 or school district adjunct certification under s. 1012.57 for
250 the subject area of the blended learning course. The funding and
251 performance accountability requirements for blended learning
252 courses are the same as those for traditional courses.
253 3. The current incoming baseline standard of student
254 academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
255 method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
256 this subparagraph must shall include a detailed description of:
257 a. How the baseline student academic achievement levels and
258 prior rates of academic progress will be established.
259 b. How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
260 academic progress achieved by these same students while
261 attending the charter school.
262 c. To the extent possible, how these rates of progress will
263 be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
264 closely comparable student populations.
266 The district school board is required to provide academic
267 student performance data to charter schools for each of their
268 students coming from the district school system, as well as
269 rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
270 the district school system.
271 4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths
272 and needs of students and how well educational goals and
273 performance standards are met by students attending the charter
274 school. The methods must shall provide a means for the charter
275 school to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
276 student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
277 efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
278 charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
279 statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
280 5. In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
281 that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
282 s. 1003.428 or s. 1003.4282.
283 6. A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
284 board of the charter school and the sponsor.
285 7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
286 including the school’s code of student conduct.
287 8. The ways by which the school will achieve a
288 racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
289 within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
290 same school district.
291 9. The financial and administrative management of the
292 school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
293 experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
294 applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
295 retained to perform such professional services and the
296 description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
297 policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
298 school. A description of internal audit procedures and
299 establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
300 properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
301 private sector professional experience are shall be equally
302 valid in such a consideration. The charter must demonstrate and
303 include documentation that the governing board is independent of
304 any management company and has the ability to terminate the
305 contract with the management company at any time and at the sole
306 discretion of the governing board.
307 10. The asset and liability projections required in the
308 application which are incorporated into the charter and must
309 shall be compared with information provided in the annual report
310 of the charter school.
311 11. A description of procedures that identify various risks
312 and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of
313 losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of students and
314 staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect others from
315 violent or disruptive student behavior; and the manner in which
316 the school will be insured, including whether or not the school
317 will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the
318 terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
319 12. The term of the charter, which must shall provide for
320 cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
321 made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
322 charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
323 achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
324 charter must shall be for 4 or 5 years. In order to facilitate
325 access to long-term financial resources for charter school
326 construction, charter schools that are operated by a
327 municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
328 eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
329 district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
330 charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
331 access to long-term financial resources for charter school
332 construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
333 not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
334 up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the district
335 school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to annual
336 review and may be terminated during the term of the charter, but
337 only according to the provisions set forth in subsection (8).
338 13. The facilities to be used and their location. The
339 sponsor may not require a charter school to have a certificate
340 of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for such a
341 facility earlier than 15 calendar days before the first day of
343 14. The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
344 the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
345 retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
346 15. The governance structure of the school, including the
347 status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
348 required in paragraph (12)(i). At least one member of the
349 charter school governing board shall be the parent of a student
350 enrolled in that school.
351 16. A timetable for implementing the charter which
352 addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
353 date by which the charter must shall be awarded in order to meet
354 this timetable.
355 17. In the case of an existing public school that is being
356 converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
357 current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
358 for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
359 school after conversion in accordance with the existing
360 collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
361 the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
362 alternative arrangements may shall not be required for current
363 teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
364 as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
365 which grants the charter to the lab school.
366 18. Full disclosure of the identity of all relatives
367 employed by the charter school who are related to the charter
368 school owner, president, chairperson of the governing board of
369 directors, superintendent, governing board member, principal,
370 assistant principal, or any other person employed by the charter
371 school who has equivalent decisionmaking authority. For the
372 purpose of this subparagraph, the term “relative” means father,
373 mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first
374 cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in
375 law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law,
376 stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother,
377 stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
378 19. Implementation of the activities authorized under s.
379 1002.331 by the charter school when it satisfies the eligibility
380 requirements for a high-performing charter school. A high
381 performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by
382 March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade
383 levels the following school year. The written notice must shall
384 specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade
385 levels that will be added, as applicable.
386 (10) ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.—
387 (a) A charter school shall be open to any student covered
388 in an interdistrict agreement or residing in the school district
389 in which the charter school is located; however, in the case of
390 a charter lab school, the charter lab school shall be open to
391 any student eligible to attend the lab school as provided in s.
392 1002.32 or who resides in the school district in which the
393 charter lab school is located. Any eligible student shall be
394 allowed interdistrict transfer to attend a charter school when
395 based on good cause. Good cause includes shall include, but is
396 not limited to, geographic proximity to a charter school in a
397 neighboring school district.
398 (b) The charter school shall enroll an eligible student who
399 submits a timely application, unless the number of applications
400 exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or
401 building. In such case, all applicants shall have an equal
402 chance of being admitted through a random selection process.
403 (c)1. For purposes of continuity of educational choice,
404 placement of a student in a charter school shall remain in force
405 until the student voluntarily withdraws from the charter school
406 or successfully completes the highest grade offered in the
407 charter school. A charter school student who voluntarily enrolls
408 in a different charter school, a district-operated public
409 school, a private school, a virtual education program, a home
410 education program, or another education program approved by law
411 is considered to have withdrawn from the charter school for the
412 purpose of determining the end of the student’s enrollment.
413 However, if a student enters a Department of Juvenile Justice
414 detention center for less than 21 days, the student is not
415 considered to have withdrawn from the charter school.
416 2. Before a student is voluntarily withdrawn from a charter
417 school, the parent and charter school personnel must sign a
418 document stating that the student is being voluntarily withdrawn
419 and that charter school personnel have not prohibited,
420 discouraged, or attempted to discourage the student from
421 continued enrollment in the charter school.
422 (d) (c) When a public school converts to charter status,
423 enrollment preference must shall be given to students who would
424 have otherwise attended that public school. The district school
425 board shall consult and negotiate with the conversion charter
426 school every 3 years to determine whether realignment of the
427 conversion charter school’s attendance zone is appropriate in
428 order to ensure that students residing closest to the charter
429 school are provided with an enrollment preference.
430 (e) (d) A charter school may give enrollment preference to
431 the following student populations:
432 1. Students who are siblings of a student enrolled in the
433 charter school.
434 2. Students who are the children of a member of the
435 governing board of the charter school.
436 3. Students who are the children of an employee of the
437 charter school.
438 4. Students who are the children of:
439 a. An employee of the business partner of a charter school
440 in-the-workplace established under paragraph (15)(b) or a
441 resident of the municipality in which such charter school is
442 located; or
443 b. A resident of a municipality that operates a charter
444 school-in-a-municipality pursuant to paragraph (15)(c).
445 5. Students who have successfully completed a voluntary
446 prekindergarten education program under ss. 1002.51-1002.79
447 provided by the charter school or the charter school’s governing
448 board during the previous year.
449 6. Students who are the children of an active duty member
450 of any branch of the United States Armed Forces.
451 (f) (e) A charter school may limit the enrollment process
452 only to target the following student populations:
453 1. Students within specific age groups or grade levels.
454 2. Students considered at risk of dropping out of school or
455 academic failure, including . Such students shall include
456 exceptional education students.
457 3. Students enrolling in a charter school-in-the-workplace
458 or charter school-in-a-municipality established pursuant to
459 subsection (15).
460 4. Students residing within a reasonable distance of the
461 charter school, as described in paragraph (20)(c). Such students
462 shall be subject to a random lottery and to the racial/ethnic
463 balance provisions described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. or any
464 federal provisions that require a school to achieve a
465 racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
466 within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
467 same school district.
468 5. Students who meet reasonable academic, artistic, or
469 other eligibility standards established by the charter school
470 and included in the charter school application and charter or,
471 in the case of existing charter schools, standards that are
472 consistent with the school’s mission and purpose. Such standards
473 must shall be in accordance with current state law and practice
474 in public schools and may not discriminate against otherwise
475 qualified individuals.
476 6. Students articulating from one charter school to another
477 pursuant to an articulation agreement between the charter
478 schools that has been approved by the sponsor.
479 7. Students living in a development in which a business
480 entity provides the school facility and related property having
481 an appraised value of at least $10 million to be used as a
482 charter school for the development. Students living in the
483 development shall be entitled to 50 percent of the student
484 stations in the charter school. The students who are eligible
485 for enrollment are subject to a random lottery, the
486 racial/ethnic balance provisions, or any federal provisions, as
487 described in subparagraph 4. The remainder of the student
488 stations shall be filled in accordance with subparagraph 4.
489 (g) (f) Students with disabilities and students served in
490 English for Speakers of Other Languages programs shall have an
491 equal opportunity of being selected for enrollment in a charter
493 (h) (g) A student may voluntarily withdraw from a charter
494 school at any time and enroll in another public school as
495 determined by district school board rule. The charter school
496 from which a student voluntarily withdraws shall transfer a pro
497 rata share of the full-time equivalent student funding for that
498 student to the district school board that governs the school in
499 which the student subsequently enrolls. The transfer of funds is
500 required within 15 days of withdrawal of the student from the
501 charter school. If the charter school does not timely transfer
502 the funds, the district school board in which the charter school
503 is located shall withhold the funds from the next payment due to
504 the charter school.
505 (i) If the withdrawal of a student from a charter school
506 and his or her transfer to another public school is initiated by
507 the charter school as a result of the student’s commission of an
508 expellable offense, as that term is defined by district school
509 board rule, the charter school shall submit a recommendation to
510 the district school board immediately upon suspending the
511 student from the charter school detailing the reasons for
512 recommending expulsion. The charter school shall follow the
513 expulsion process of the district school board. If the district
514 school board grants the expulsion, the student shall be expelled
515 from all public education for the duration of the expulsion
516 period. If the district school board rejects the expulsion, the
517 student shall return to the charter school. If the district
518 school board recommends reassignment of the student to a
519 district alternative placement appropriate to the expellable
520 offense reported by the charter school, the charter school shall
521 transfer a pro rata share of funding for that student to the
522 district school board that governs the school in which the
523 student is subsequently placed. Such funding must be sufficient
524 to pay for the per student cost of actually delivering services
525 to the student in the alternative setting for the balance of the
526 fiscal year or until the student is counted by the district in
527 its FTE funding survey. The transfer of funds is required within
528 15 days after the entry of the district school board decision on
529 the recommendation of expulsion from the charter school. If the
530 charter school does not timely transfer the funds, the district
531 school board in which the charter school is located shall
532 withhold the funds from the next payment due to the charter
534 (j) A charter school student may not be dismissed or
535 requested to withdraw from the charter school because of actual
536 or anticipated poor academic performance, because of actual or
537 anticipated poor performance on statewide assessments, or due to
538 issues related to student behavior unless such behavior is
539 alleged to be an expellable offense as that term is defined by
540 district school board rule.
541 (k) (h) The capacity of the charter school shall be
542 determined annually by the governing board, in conjunction with
543 the sponsor, of the charter school in consideration of the
544 factors identified in this subsection unless the charter school
545 is designated as a high-performing charter school pursuant to s.
546 1002.331. A sponsor may not require a charter school to waive
547 the provisions of s. 1002.331 or require a student enrollment
548 cap that prohibits a high-performing charter school from
549 increasing enrollment in accordance with s. 1002.331(2) as a
550 condition of approval or renewal of a charter.
551 (l) (i) The capacity of a high-performing charter school
552 identified pursuant to s. 1002.331 shall be determined annually
553 by the governing board of the charter school. The governing
554 board shall notify the sponsor of any increase in enrollment by
555 March 1 of the school year preceding the increase. A sponsor may
556 not require a charter school to identify the names of students
557 to be enrolled or to enroll those students before the start of
558 the school year as a condition of approval or renewal of a
560 (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school,
561 regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
562 a basic program or a special program, the same as students
563 enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
564 for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
565 (g) Notwithstanding any provision in this section, a
566 charter school is required to post a performance bond with the
567 district school board named as the recipient at the beginning of
568 each school year in an amount equal to one-half of the projected
569 operating funds as defined in paragraph (b). Such bond shall be
570 annually renewed and shall be invoked if the charter school
571 defaults on meeting any of its financial obligations with the
573 (21) PUBLIC INFORMATION ON CHARTER SCHOOLS.—
574 (a) The Department of Education shall provide information
575 to the public, directly and through sponsors, on how to form and
576 operate a charter school and how to enroll in a charter school
577 once it is created. This information must shall include a model
578 application form, model standard charter contract, standard
579 evaluation instrument, and model standard charter renewal
580 contract, which must shall include the information specified in
581 subsection (7) and shall be developed by consulting and
582 negotiating with both school districts and charter schools
583 before implementation. The charter and charter renewal contracts
584 may shall be used by charter school sponsors.
585 (27) CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND ETHICS.—
586 (a) An individual may not serve as a member of the charter
587 school board of directors if the individual or an immediate
588 family member receives a pension or any compensation from the
589 charter school, or if the individual’s partner is an owner or
590 principal with an entity or independent contractor with whom the
591 charter school does business or contracts, directly or
592 indirectly, for professional services, goods, or facilities. An
593 individual may not serve as a board member if an immediate
594 family member is an employee of the school. A violation of this
595 prohibition renders a contract voidable at the option of the
596 sponsor or the charter school board of directors. A member of a
597 charter school board of directors who violates this prohibition
598 is individually liable to the charter school for any damage
599 caused by the violation.
600 (b) A member of the board of directors or an employee,
601 officer, or agent of a charter school may not participate in
602 selecting, awarding, or administering a contract if a conflict
603 of interest exists. A conflict of interest exists if:
604 1. The board member, employee, officer, or agent;
605 2. The immediate family of the board member, employee,
606 officer, or agent;
607 3. The partner of the board member, employee, officer, or
608 agent; or
609 4. An organization that employs, or is about to employ, any
610 individual listed in subparagraphs 1.-3.,
612 has a financial or other interest in the entity with which the
613 charter school is contracting. A violation of this paragraph
614 renders the contract void.
615 (c) An employee or board member of the sponsor who
616 participates in the initial review and approval, ongoing
617 oversight and evaluation, or renewal or nonrenewal of the
618 charter may not serve on the board of directors of a school
619 chartered by that sponsor.
620 (d) An individual may serve as a member of the board of
621 directors if no conflict of interest under paragraph (a) exists.
622 (e) This subsection does not apply to compensation paid to
623 a teacher employed in that capacity by the charter school.
624 (28) UNLAWFUL ACTS.—A parent, other individual, or group
625 who believes that a charter school has violated or is violating
626 any state or federal law or regulation may file a complaint
627 directly with the Department of Education. If the department
628 determines that the complaint demonstrates reasonable cause to
629 suspect that an unlawful act has been committed, the department
630 shall conduct an investigation and produce a fact-finding report
631 within 90 days after receiving the complaint. The department
632 shall provide the district school superintendent of the
633 complainant’s district and the complainant with a copy of the
634 fact-finding report, which is admissible in any subsequent or
635 related administrative or judicial review.
636 (29) (27) RULEMAKING.—The Department of Education, after
637 consultation with school districts and charter school directors,
638 shall recommend that the State Board of Education adopt rules to
639 implement specific subsections of this section. Such rules must
640 shall require minimum paperwork and may shall not limit charter
641 school flexibility authorized by statute. The State Board of
642 Education shall adopt rules, pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and
643 120.54, to implement a charter model application form, standard
644 evaluation instrument, and model standard charter and model
645 charter renewal contracts in accordance with this section.
646 Section 2. Section 1002.346, Florida Statutes, is created
647 to read:
648 1002.346 Charter school audits and investigations.—
649 (1) A charter school is subject to the audits, audit
650 procedures, and audit requirements established in the charter
651 and may be audited or investigated by the Auditor General, the
652 Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, and the
653 district school board, at their discretion. Such procedures and
654 requirements must be consistent with generally accepted audit
655 standards. The school and its governing board shall allow the
656 sponsor and state officials full access to its financial and
657 educational records, reports, files, and documents of any kind.
658 (2) During the course of audits and investigations, the
659 state and sponsor may access, review, and audit records of other
660 entities that do business with the charter school if a member of
661 the school’s governing board or a director, an officer, a
662 principal, an assistant principal, or any other person employed
663 by the charter school who has equivalent decisionmaking
664 authority also serves as a member, director, or officer of such
665 other entities.
666 (3) The district school board shall oversee each charter
667 school it has approved and may visit, examine, enter into, and
668 inspect the charter school, including the records of such
669 school, under its oversight. Oversight by the district school
670 board must be sufficient to ensure that the charter school is in
671 compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and charter
673 (4) The Department of Education’s Office of Inspector
674 General or the district school board may conduct reviews,
675 pursuant to a complaint received or on its own initiative, to
676 ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules, and charter
677 provisions. The charter school and the specific individuals
678 involved shall cooperate to the fullest extent with such review.
679 (5) A party who believes that his or her complaint has not
680 been adequately addressed by the charter school’s governing
681 board or the district school board may submit the complaint in
682 writing to the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector
683 General, which shall investigate such complaint and provide a
684 written response within 90 days after receipt of the complaint.
685 Section 3. Subsections (3) and (6) of section 1002.451,
686 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
687 1002.451 District innovation school of technology program.—
688 (3) TERM OF OPERATION PERFORMANCE CONTRACT.—An innovation
689 school of technology may operate pursuant to a performance
690 contract with the State Board of Education for a period of 5
692 (a) Before expiration of the performance contract, the
693 school’s performance shall be evaluated against the eligibility
694 criteria, purpose, guiding principles, and compliance with the
695 contract to determine whether the contract may be renewed. The
696 contract may be renewed every 5 years.
697 (b) The innovation school of technology shall be terminated
698 performance contract shall be terminated by the State Board of
699 Education if:
700 (a) 1. The school receives a grade of “F” as an innovation
701 school of technology for 2 consecutive years;
702 (b) 2. The school or district fails to comply with the
703 criteria in this section;
704 (c) 3. The school or district does not comply with district
705 school board rules that terms of the contract which specify that
706 a violation results in termination; or
707 (d) 4. Other good cause is shown.
708 (6) NOTIFICATION TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
709 APPLICATION PROCESS AND PERFORMANCE CONTRACT.—
710 (a) A district school board shall notify may apply to the
711 State Board of Education of the establishment of for an
712 innovation school of technology if the district:
713 1. Has at least 20 percent of its total enrollment in
714 public school choice programs or at least 5 percent of its total
715 enrollment in charter schools;
716 2. Has no material weaknesses or instances of material
717 noncompliance noted in the annual financial audit conducted
718 pursuant to s. 218.39; and
719 3. Has received a district grade of “A,” or “B,” or “C” in
720 each of the past 3 years.
721 (b) A district school board may operate one innovation
722 school of technology upon an application being approved by the
723 State Board of Education.
724 1. A district school board may apply to the State Board of
725 Education to establish additional schools of technology if each
726 existing innovation school of technology in the district:
727 a. Meets all requirements in this section and in the
728 performance contract;
729 b. Has a grade of “A” or “B”; and
730 c. Has at least 50 percent of its students exceed the state
731 average on the statewide assessment program pursuant to s.
732 1008.22. This comparison may take student subgroups, as defined
733 in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), 20
734 U.S.C. s. 6311(b)(2)(C)(v)(II), into specific consideration so
735 that at least 50 percent of students in each student subgroup
736 meet or exceed the statewide average performance, rounded to the
737 nearest whole number, of that particular subgroup.
738 2. Notwithstanding subparagraph 1., the number of schools
739 of technology in a school district may not exceed:
740 a. Seven in a school district that has 100,000 or more
742 b. Five in a school district that has 50,000 to 99,999
744 c. Three in a school district that has fewer than 50,000
746 (b) (c) A school district that meets the eligibility
747 requirements of paragraph (a) may apply to the State Board of
748 Education at any time to enter into a performance contract to
749 operate an innovation school of technology. The notification to
750 the State Board of Education application must, at a minimum:
751 1. Demonstrate how the school district meets and will
752 continue to meet the requirements of this section;
753 2. Identify how the school will accomplish the purposes and
754 guiding principles of this section;
755 3. Identify the statutes or rules from which the district
756 is seeking a waiver for the school;
757 4. Identify and provide supporting documentation for the
758 purpose and impact of each waiver, how each waiver would enable
759 the school to achieve the purpose and guiding principles of this
760 section, and how the school would not be able to achieve the
761 purpose and guiding principles of this section without each
762 waiver; and
763 3. 5. Confirm that the school board remains responsible for
764 the operation, control, and supervision of the school in
765 accordance with all applicable laws, rules, and district
766 procedures not waived pursuant to this section or waived
767 pursuant to other applicable law.
768 (d) The State Board of Education shall approve or deny the
769 application within 90 days or, with the agreement of the school
770 district, at a later date.
771 (e) The performance contract must address the terms under
772 which the State Board of Education may cancel the contract and,
773 at a minimum, the methods by which:
774 1. Upon execution of the performance contract, the school
775 district will plan the program during the first year, begin at
776 least partial implementation of the program during the second
777 year, and fully implement the program by the third year. A
778 district may implement the program sooner than specified in this
779 subparagraph if authorized in the performance contract.
780 2. The school will integrate industry-leading technology
781 into instruction, assessment, and professional development. The
782 school may also restructure the school day or school year in a
783 way that allows it to best accomplish its goals.
784 3. The school and district will monitor performance
785 progress based on skills that help students succeed in college
786 and careers, including problem solving, research,
787 interpretation, and communication.
788 4. The school will incorporate industry certifications and
789 similar recognitions into performance expectations.
790 5 . The school and district will comply with this section
791 and the performance contract.
792 (c) (f) Three or more contiguous school districts may apply
793 to enter into a joint performance contract as a Region of
794 Technology, subject to terms and conditions contained in this
795 section for a single school district.
796 (d) (g) The State Board of Education shall monitor schools
797 of technology to ensure that the respective school district is
798 in compliance with this section and the performance contract.
799 (h) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant
800 to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section,
801 including, but not limited to, an application, evaluation
802 instrument, and renewal evaluation instrument.
803 (e) (i) This section does not supersede the provisions of s.
805 Section 4. Paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of section
806 1002.331, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
807 1002.331 High-performing charter schools.—
808 (2) A high-performing charter school is authorized to:
809 (e) Receive a modification of its charter to a term of 15
810 years or a 15-year charter renewal. The charter may be modified
811 or renewed for a shorter term at the option of the high
812 performing charter school. The charter must be consistent with
813 s. 1002.33(7)(a)19. and (10)(k) (10)(h) and (l) (i), is subject
814 to annual review by the sponsor, and may be terminated during
815 its term pursuant to s. 1002.33(8).
817 A high-performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in
818 writing by March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or
819 expand grade levels the following school year. The written
820 notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment increase and
821 the grade levels that will be added, as applicable. If a charter
822 school notifies the sponsor of its intent to expand, the sponsor
823 shall modify the charter within 90 days to include the new
824 enrollment maximum and may not make any other changes. The
825 sponsor may deny a request to increase the enrollment of a high
826 performing charter school if the commissioner has declassified
827 the charter school as high-performing. If a high-performing
828 charter school requests to consolidate multiple charters, the
829 sponsor shall have 40 days after receipt of that request to
830 provide an initial draft charter to the charter school. The
831 sponsor and charter school shall have 50 days thereafter to
832 negotiate and notice the charter contract for final approval by
833 the sponsor.
834 Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.