Florida Senate - 2022                              CS for SB 758
       By the Committee on Education; and Senator Diaz
       581-01343-22                                           2022758c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to education; creating s. 1002.3301,
    3         F.S.; establishing the Charter School Review
    4         Commission within the Department of Education;
    5         providing the purpose of the commission; specifying
    6         membership of the commission and the duration of
    7         members’ terms; requiring the Commissioner of
    8         Education to appoint members; providing that a
    9         majority of the commission members constitutes a
   10         quorum; providing that the commission has the same
   11         powers and duties as sponsors do in reviewing and
   12         approving charter schools; designating the district
   13         school board where a proposed charter school will be
   14         located as the school’s sponsor and supervisor;
   15         requiring a district school board to take specified
   16         actions within a certain timeframe regarding the
   17         commission’s granting of a charter school application;
   18         providing for the appeal of commission decisions;
   19         amending s. 1002.33, F.S.; providing legislative
   20         intent; authorizing the commission to solicit and
   21         review charter school applications; requiring that the
   22         district school board that oversees the school
   23         district where a charter school approved by the
   24         commission will be located shall serve as the charter
   25         school’s sponsor; prohibiting sponsors from imposing
   26         additional reporting requirements on a charter school
   27         so long as the charter school meets specified
   28         requirements; revising the terms and conditions for
   29         charter renewal; revising the procedure and causes for
   30         nonrenewal or termination of a charter; providing that
   31         any facility may provide space to charter schools
   32         under its existing zoning and land use designations
   33         without obtaining a special exception, rezoning, or a
   34         land use change; requiring that educational impact
   35         fees required to be paid in connection with new
   36         residential dwelling units be designated instead for
   37         the construction of charter school facilities;
   38         requiring the Office of Program Policy Analysis and
   39         Government Accountability to conduct an analysis of
   40         charter school capital outlay and submit a report to
   41         the Governor and the Legislature by a specified date;
   42         providing an effective date.
   44  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   46         Section 1. Section 1002.3301, Florida Statutes, is created
   47  to read:
   48         1002.3301 Charter School Review Commission.—The Charter
   49  School Review Commission is created within the Department of
   50  Education to review and approve applications for charter schools
   51  overseen by district school boards.
   52         (1)The commission shall consist of seven members who have
   53  charter school experience, selected by the Commissioner of
   54  Education and subject to confirmation by the Senate. The
   55  commissioner shall designate one member as the chair. Each
   56  member shall be appointed to a 4-year term. However, for the
   57  purpose of achieving staggered terms, of the initial
   58  appointments, three members shall be appointed to 2-year terms
   59  and four members shall be appointed to 4-year terms. All
   60  subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. A majority of
   61  the members of the commission constitutes a quorum.
   62         (2)The commission has the same powers and duties as
   63  sponsors pursuant to s. 1002.33 in regard to reviewing and
   64  approving charter schools.
   65         (3)The district school board of the school district where
   66  the proposed charter school will be located shall be the sponsor
   67  of and supervisor for the new charter school and shall provide
   68  an initial proposed charter contract to the charter school
   69  pursuant to s. 1002.33(7)(b) within 30 calendar days after the
   70  commission’s decision granting an application.
   71         (4)The decisions of the commission may be appealed in
   72  accordance with s. 1002.33(6)(c).
   73         Section 2. Subsection (2), paragraphs (a) and (b) of
   74  subsection (5), paragraph (c) of subsection (7), paragraph (a)
   75  of subsection (8), and paragraphs (c) and (f) of subsection (18)
   76  of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are amended, to read:
   77         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   79         (a) Charter schools in Florida shall be guided by the
   80  following principles:
   81         1. Meet high standards of student achievement while
   82  providing parents flexibility to choose among diverse
   83  educational opportunities within this the state’s public school
   84  system.
   85         2. Promote enhanced academic success and financial
   86  efficiency by aligning responsibility with accountability.
   87         3. Provide parents with sufficient information on whether
   88  their child is reading at grade level and whether the child
   89  gains at least a year’s worth of learning for every year spent
   90  in the charter school.
   91         (b) Charter schools shall fulfill the following purposes:
   92         1. Improve student learning and academic achievement.
   93         2. Increase learning opportunities for all students, with
   94  special emphasis on low-performing students and reading.
   95         3. Encourage the use of innovative learning methods.
   96         4. Require the measurement of learning outcomes.
   97         (c) Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
   98         1. Create innovative measurement tools.
   99         2. Provide rigorous competition within the public school
  100  system to stimulate continual improvement in all public schools.
  101         3. Expand the capacity of the public school system.
  102         4. Mitigate the educational impact created by the
  103  development of new residential dwelling units.
  104         5. Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
  105  including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
  106         (d)It is the intent of the Legislature that charter school
  107  students be considered as important as all other students in
  108  this state and, to that end, comparable funding levels from
  109  existing and future sources should be maintained for charter
  110  school students.
  111         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
  112         (a) Sponsoring entities.—
  113         1. A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
  114  the county over which the district school board has
  115  jurisdiction.
  116         2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
  117  created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
  118  school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
  119  school.
  120         3. Because needs relating to educational capacity,
  121  workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities are
  122  constantly changing and extend beyond school district
  123  boundaries:
  124         a. A state university may, upon approval by the Department
  125  of Education, solicit applications and sponsor a charter school
  126  to meet regional education or workforce demands by serving
  127  students from multiple school districts.
  128         b. A Florida College System institution may, upon approval
  129  by the Department of Education, solicit applications and sponsor
  130  a charter school in any county within its service area to meet
  131  workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading
  132  to industry certifications to eligible charter school students.
  133  A charter school established under subparagraph (b)4. may not be
  134  sponsored by a Florida College System institution until its
  135  existing charter with the school district expires as provided
  136  under subsection (7).
  137         c. Notwithstanding paragraph (6)(b), a state university or
  138  Florida College System institution may, at its discretion, deny
  139  an application for a charter school.
  140         d.The Charter School Review Commission, as authorized
  141  under s. 1002.3301, may solicit and review applications for
  142  charter schools overseen by district school boards, and upon the
  143  commission approving an application, the district school board
  144  that oversees the school district where the charter school will
  145  be located shall serve as sponsor.
  146         (b) Sponsor duties.—
  147         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
  148  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
  149  charter.
  150         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
  151  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
  152  1002.345.
  153         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
  154  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
  155  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
  156  it to raise working funds.
  157         d. The sponsor may shall not apply its policies to a
  158  charter school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and
  159  the charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any
  160  agreed-upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect
  161  at the time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
  162  modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
  163  not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
  164  newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
  165  upon.
  166         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
  167  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
  168  1000.03(5).
  169         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
  170  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
  171  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
  172  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
  173  to the Department of Education.
  174         g. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
  175  under state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
  176  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
  177  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  178         h. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
  179  under state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
  180  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  181         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school do
  182  shall not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
  183         j. The sponsor may shall not impose additional reporting
  184  requirements on a charter school as long as the charter school
  185  has not been identified as having a deteriorating financial
  186  condition or financial emergency pursuant to s. 1002.345 without
  187  providing reasonable and specific justification in writing to
  188  the charter school.
  189         k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
  190  Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
  191  by the department.
  192         (I) The report shall include the following information:
  193         (A) The number of applications received during the school
  194  year and up to August 1 and each applicant’s contact
  195  information.
  196         (B) The date each application was approved, denied, or
  197  withdrawn.
  198         (C) The date each final contract was executed.
  199         (II) Annually, by November 1, the sponsor shall submit to
  200  the department the information for the applications submitted
  201  the previous year.
  202         (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
  203  sponsor, and post the report on its website by January 15 of
  204  each year.
  205         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
  206  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
  207  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
  208  section.
  209         3. This paragraph does not waive a sponsor’s sovereign
  210  immunity.
  211         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
  212  school district or school districts in its designated service
  213  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
  214  These charter schools must include an option for students to
  215  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
  216  Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
  217  preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
  218  institution may operate charter schools that serve students in
  219  kindergarten through grade 12 in any school district within the
  220  service area of the institution. District school boards shall
  221  cooperate with and assist the Florida College System institution
  222  on the charter application. Florida College System institution
  223  applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
  224  deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
  225  district school board at any time during the year. Florida
  226  College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
  227  participating under this subparagraph who receive FTE funding
  228  through the Florida Education Finance Program.
  229         5. For purposes of assisting the development of a charter
  230  school, a school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
  231  agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
  232  municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
  233  within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
  234  behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
  235  issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
  236  permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
  237  needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
  238  charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
  239  district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
  240  include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
  241  that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
  242  must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
  243  the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
  244  providing such services. These services and fees are not
  245  included within the services to be provided pursuant to
  246  subsection (20). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
  247  interlocal agreement between a school district and a federal or
  248  state agency, county, municipality, or other governmental entity
  249  which prohibits or limits the creation of a charter school
  250  within the geographic borders of the school district is void and
  251  unenforceable.
  252         6. The board of trustees of a sponsoring state university
  253  or Florida College System institution under paragraph (a) is the
  254  local educational agency for all charter schools it sponsors for
  255  purposes of receiving federal funds and accepts full
  256  responsibility for all local educational agency requirements and
  257  the schools for which it will perform local educational agency
  258  responsibilities. A student enrolled in a charter school that is
  259  sponsored by a state university or Florida College System
  260  institution may not be included in the calculation of the school
  261  district’s grade under s. 1008.34(5) for the school district in
  262  which he or she resides.
  263         (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
  264  a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
  265  applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
  266  The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
  267  use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
  268  which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
  269  approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
  270  proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
  271  contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
  272  be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
  273  sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
  274  violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
  275  to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
  276  governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
  277  a public hearing to ensure community input.
  278         (c)1. A charter may be renewed provided that a program
  279  review demonstrates that the criteria in paragraph (a) have been
  280  successfully accomplished and that none of the grounds for
  281  nonrenewal established by paragraph (8)(a) has been expressly
  282  found documented. The charter of a charter school that meets
  283  these requirements and has received a school grade lower than a
  284  “B” pursuant to s. 1008.34 in the most recently graded school
  285  year must be renewed for no less than a 5-year term except as
  286  provided in paragraph (9)(n). In order to facilitate long-term
  287  financing for charter school construction, charter schools
  288  operating for a minimum of 3 years and demonstrating exemplary
  289  academic programming and fiscal management are eligible for a
  290  15-year charter renewal. Such long-term charter is subject to
  291  annual review and may be terminated during the term of the
  292  charter.
  293         2. The 15-year charter renewal that may be granted pursuant
  294  to subparagraph 1. must shall be granted to a charter school
  295  that has received a school grade of “A” or “B” pursuant to s.
  296  1008.34 in the most recently graded school year 3 of the past 4
  297  years and that is not in a state of financial emergency or
  298  deficit position as defined by this section. Such long-term
  299  charter is subject to annual review and may be terminated during
  300  the term of the charter pursuant to subsection (8).
  302         (a) The sponsor shall make student academic achievement for
  303  all students the most important factor when determining whether
  304  to renew or terminate the charter. The sponsor may also choose
  305  not to renew or may terminate the charter only if the sponsor
  306  expressly finds that one of the grounds set forth below exists
  307  by clear and convincing evidence:
  308         1. Failure to participate in the state’s education
  309  accountability system created in s. 1008.31, as required in this
  310  section, or failure to meet the requirements for student
  311  performance stated in the charter.
  312         2. Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
  313  management due to deteriorating financial conditions or
  314  financial emergencies determined pursuant to s. 1002.345.
  315         3. Material violation of law.
  316         4. Other good cause shown.
  317         (18) FACILITIES.—
  318         (c) Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a
  319  charter school whose charter has been approved by the sponsor
  320  and the governing board, pursuant to subsection (7), is shall be
  321  exempt from ad valorem taxes pursuant to s. 196.1983 and.
  322  Library, community service, museum, performing arts, theatre,
  323  cinema, church, Florida College System institution, college, and
  324  university facilities may provide space to charter schools
  325  within their facilities under the facility’s existing their
  326  preexisting zoning and land use designations without obtaining a
  327  special exception, rezoning, or a land use change.
  328         (f) To the extent that charter school facilities are
  329  specifically created to mitigate the educational impact created
  330  by the development of new residential dwelling units, pursuant
  331  to subparagraph (2)(c)4., some of or all of the educational
  332  impact fees required to be paid in connection with the new
  333  residential dwelling units must may be designated instead for
  334  the construction of the charter school facilities that will
  335  mitigate the student station impact. Such facilities shall be
  336  built to the State Requirements for Educational Facilities and
  337  shall be owned by a public or nonprofit entity. The local school
  338  district retains the right to monitor and inspect such
  339  facilities to ensure compliance with the State Requirements for
  340  Educational Facilities. If a facility ceases to be used for
  341  public educational purposes, either the facility shall revert to
  342  the school district subject to any debt owed on the facility, or
  343  the owner of the facility shall have the option to refund all
  344  educational impact fees utilized for the facility to the school
  345  district. The district and the owner of the facility may
  346  contractually agree to another arrangement for the facilities if
  347  the facilities cease to be used for educational purposes. The
  348  owner of property planned or approved for new residential
  349  dwelling units and the entity levying educational impact fees
  350  shall enter into an agreement that designates the educational
  351  impact fees that will be allocated for the charter school
  352  student stations and that ensures the timely construction of the
  353  charter school student stations concurrent with the expected
  354  occupancy of the residential units. The application for use of
  355  educational impact fees shall include an approved charter school
  356  application. To assist the school district in forecasting
  357  student station needs, the entity levying the impact fees shall
  358  notify the affected district of any agreements it has approved
  359  for the purpose of mitigating student station impact from the
  360  new residential dwelling units.
  361         Section 3. (1) The Office of Program Policy Analysis and
  362  Government Accountability shall conduct an analysis of the
  363  current methodologies for the distribution of capital outlay
  364  funds to charter schools. Based on its analysis, the office
  365  shall recommend any changes to provide an equitable allocation
  366  of capital outlay funds for all public schools. The analysis
  367  must include, at a minimum:
  368         (a) An analysis of the calculation methodology for the
  369  allocation of state funds appropriated in the General
  370  Appropriations Act under s. 1013.62(2), Florida Statutes.
  371         (b) An analysis of the calculation methodology to determine
  372  the amount of revenue that a school district must distribute to
  373  a charter school under s. 1013.62(3), Florida Statutes.
  374         (c) For the most recent three years, a comparison of the
  375  charter school capital outlay amounts between the allocation of
  376  state funds and revenue that would result from the discretionary
  377  millage authorized under s. 1011.71(2), Florida Statutes.
  378         (d) Other state policies and methodologies for the
  379  distribution of charter school capital outlay funds.
  380         (2) The office shall submit a report of its findings and
  381  recommendations to the Governor, the President of the Senate,
  382  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1,
  383  2023.
  384         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.