Florida Senate - 2017 SB 696 By Senator Baxley 12-00758-17 2017696__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to charter schools; amending s. 3 1002.33, F.S.; requiring a sponsor to honor 4 irrevocable instructions by a charter school to 5 deposit certain funds; providing that certain sponsor 6 policies and charter contract provisions are void and 7 unenforceable; providing legislative intent; requiring 8 a sponsor to honor security interests, liens, and 9 encumbrances on charter school property, including 10 security interests and liens on public funds, before 11 it reverts to the sponsor; authorizing a charter 12 school to enter into certain financial arrangements; 13 providing for liberal construction; providing that a 14 charter school that pledges or assigns future payment 15 of its funding is not pledging the credit or taxing 16 power of the state or a school district; providing an 17 exception to the requirement that a district school 18 board make timely and efficient payment and 19 reimbursement to a charter school; requiring that a 20 district school board issue payment within a specified 21 period after receiving funds distributed through the 22 Florida Education Finance Program; providing an 23 effective date. 24 25 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 26 27 Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5), paragraph (e) 28 of subsection (8), subsection (14), and paragraph (e) of 29 subsection (17) of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are 30 amended to read: 31 1002.33 Charter schools.— 32 (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.— 33 (b) Sponsor duties.— 34 1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter 35 school in its progress toward the goals established in the 36 charter. 37 b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures 38 of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s. 39 1002.345. 40 c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school 41 before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or 42 personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for 43 it to raise working funds. 44 d. The sponsor shall not apply its policies to a charter 45 school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the 46 charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any agreed 47 upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect at the 48 time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent 49 modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may 50 not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a 51 newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed 52 upon. 53 e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative 54 and consistent with the state education goals established by s. 55 1000.03(5). 56 f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school 57 participates in the state’s education accountability system. If 58 a charter school falls short of performance measures included in 59 the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings 60 to the Department of Education. 61 g. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under 62 state law for personal injury, property damage, or death 63 resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee, 64 agent, or governing body of the charter school. 65 h. The sponsor shall not be liable for civil damages under 66 state law for any employment actions taken by an officer, 67 employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school. 68 i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school shall 69 not constitute the basis for a private cause of action. 70 j. The sponsor shall not impose additional reporting 71 requirements on a charter school without providing reasonable 72 and specific justification in writing to the charter school. 73 k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the 74 Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined 75 by the department. 76 (I) The report shall include the following information: 77 (A) The number of draft applications received on or before 78 May 1 and each applicant’s contact information. 79 (B) The number of final applications received on or before 80 August 1 and each applicant’s contact information. 81 (C) The date each application was approved, denied, or 82 withdrawn. 83 (D) The date each final contract was executed. 84 (II) Beginning August 31, 2013, and each year thereafter, 85 the sponsor shall submit to the department the information for 86 the applications submitted the previous year. 87 (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by 88 district, and post the report on its website by November 1 of 89 each year. 90 l. The sponsor shall honor irrevocable instructions by a 91 charter school to deposit funds due to the charter school 92 pursuant to subsection (17). Any sponsor policy or provision in 93 a charter contract that conflicts with this sub-subparagraph is 94 void and unenforceable. It is the intent of the Legislature that 95 charter schools be authorized to enter into financial 96 arrangements that are consistent with this sub-subparagraph and 97 the guiding principles described in subsection (2). 98 2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under 99 subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions 100 not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this 101 section. 102 3. This paragraph does not waive a district school board’s 103 sovereign immunity. 104 4. A Florida College System institution may work with the 105 school district or school districts in its designated service 106 area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education. 107 These charter schools must include an option for students to 108 receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a 109 Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher 110 preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the 111 institution may operate no more than one charter school that 112 serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. In 113 kindergarten through grade 8, the charter school shall implement 114 innovative blended learning instructional models in which, for a 115 given course, a student learns in part through online delivery 116 of content and instruction with some element of student control 117 over time, place, path, or pace and in part at a supervised 118 brick-and-mortar location away from home. A student in a blended 119 learning course must be a full-time student of the charter 120 school and receive the online instruction in a classroom setting 121 at the charter school. District school boards shall cooperate 122 with and assist the Florida College System institution on the 123 charter application. Florida College System institution 124 applications for charter schools are not subject to the time 125 deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the 126 district school board at any time during the year. Florida 127 College System institutions may not report FTE for any students 128 who receive FTE funding through the Florida Education Finance 129 Program. 130 5. A school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal 131 agreements with federal and state agencies, counties, 132 municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate 133 within the geographical borders of the school district to act on 134 behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection, 135 issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary 136 permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school 137 needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A 138 charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school 139 district for these services. The interlocal agreement must 140 include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees 141 that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees 142 must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for 143 the school district to recover no more than actual costs for 144 providing such services. These services and fees are not 145 included within the services to be provided pursuant to 146 subsection (20). 147 (8) CAUSES FOR NONRENEWAL OR TERMINATION OF CHARTER.— 148 (e) When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the 149 school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under 150 which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public 151 funds, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter 152 school program grant funds, from the charter school shall revert 153 to the sponsor. Capital outlay funds provided pursuant to s. 154 1013.62 and federal charter school program grant funds that are 155 unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed 156 among eligible charter schools. In the event a charter school is 157 dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all district school board 158 property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased 159 with public funds shall automatically revert to full ownership 160 by the district school board, subject to complete satisfaction 161 of any lawful liens or encumbrances. Any unencumbered public 162 funds from the charter school, district school board property 163 and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with 164 public funds, or financial or other records pertaining to the 165 charter school, in the possession of any person, entity, or 166 holding company, other than the charter school, shall be held in 167 trust upon the district school board’s request, until any appeal 168 status is resolved. The sponsor shall honor any lawful security 169 interests, liens, and encumbrances on property, including 170 security interests and liens on public funds, held by a charter 171 school before such property reverts to the sponsor. 172 (14) CHARTER SCHOOL FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS; INDEMNIFICATION 173 OF THE STATE AND SCHOOL DISTRICT; CREDIT OR TAXING POWER NOT TO 174 BE PLEDGED.— 175 (a) In addition to the powers prescribed in s. 617.0302, 176 and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a charter school 177 authorized in this section may enter into arrangements to borrow 178 or otherwise secure funds and to assign, pledge, and encumber 179 its assets consistent with s. 617.0302(7). This paragraph shall 180 be liberally construed. 181 (b) Any arrangement entered into to borrow or otherwise 182 secure funds for a charter school authorized in this section 183 from a source other than the state or a school district shall 184 indemnify the state and the school district from any and all 185 liability, including, but not limited to, financial 186 responsibility for the payment of the principal or interest. Any 187 loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are not obligations 188 of the state or the school district but are obligations of the 189 charter school authority and are payable solely from the sources 190 of funds pledged by such agreement. The credit or taxing power 191 of the state or the school district shall not be pledged and no 192 debts shall be payable out of any moneys except those of the 193 legal entity in possession of a valid charter approved by a 194 district school board pursuant to this section. A charter school 195 that pledges or assigns the future payment of its funding is not 196 deemed to be pledging the credit or taxing power of the state or 197 a school district. This paragraph does not relieve the sponsor 198 of its obligations to fund a charter school pursuant to this 199 section or to honor any lawful security interests, liens, and 200 encumbrances on property, including security interests and liens 201 on public funds, held by the charter school in accordance with 202 paragraph (8)(e). 203 (17) FUNDING.—Students enrolled in a charter school, 204 regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in 205 a basic program or a special program, the same as students 206 enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding 207 for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32. 208 (e) District school boards shall make timely and efficient 209 payment and reimbursement to charter schools, including 210 processing paperwork required to access special state and 211 federal funding for which they may be eligible, unless a charter 212 school’s contract has been terminated and the charter school has 213 failed to file a timely appeal pursuant to subsection (8). 214 Payments of funds under paragraph (b) shall be made monthly or 215 twice a month, beginning with the start of the district school 216 board’s fiscal year. Each payment shall be one-twelfth, or one 217 twenty-fourth, as applicable, of the total state and local funds 218 described in paragraph (b) and adjusted as set forth therein. 219 For the first 2 years of a charter school’s operation, if a 220 minimum of 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered 221 into the sponsor’s student information system by the first day 222 of the current month, the district school board shall distribute 223 funds to the school for the months of July through October based 224 on the projected full-time equivalent student membership of the 225 charter school as submitted in the approved application. If less 226 than 75 percent of the projected enrollment is entered into the 227 sponsor’s student information system by the first day of the 228 current month, the sponsor shall base payments on the actual 229 number of student enrollment entered into the sponsor’s student 230 information system. Thereafter, the results of full-time 231 equivalent student membership surveys shall be used in adjusting 232 the amount of funds distributed monthly to the charter school 233 for the remainder of the fiscal year. The payments shall be 234 issued no later than 10 working days after the district school 235 board receives a distribution of state or federal funds, 236 including funds distributed through the Florida Education 237 Finance Program pursuant to s. 1011.66, or the date the payment 238 is due pursuant to this subsection. If a warrant for payment is 239 not issued within 10 working days after receipt of funding by 240 the district school board, the school district shall pay to the 241 charter school, in addition to the amount of the scheduled 242 disbursement, interest at a rate of 1 percent per month 243 calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid balance from the 244 expiration of the 10 working days until such time as the warrant 245 is issued. The district school board may not delay payment to a 246 charter school of any portion of the funds provided in paragraph 247 (b) based on the timing of receipt of local funds by the 248 district school board. 249 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.