Florida Senate - 2022                       CS for CS for SB 758
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education; and Senator
       576-03372-22                                           2022758c2
    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         requiring a charter school applicant to provide a
   19         school district with a copy of the application within
   20         a specified timeframe; authorizing the school district
   21         to provide input to the commission within a specified
   22         timeframe; requiring the commission to consider such
   23         input; providing for the appeal of commission
   24         decisions; amending s. 1002.33, F.S.; providing
   25         legislative intent; authorizing the commission to
   26         solicit and review charter school applications;
   27         requiring that the district school board that oversees
   28         the school district where a charter school approved by
   29         the commission will be located shall serve as the
   30         charter school’s sponsor; prohibiting sponsors from
   31         imposing additional reporting requirements on a
   32         charter school so long as the charter school meets
   33         specified requirements; revising the terms and
   34         conditions for charter renewal; revising the procedure
   35         and causes for nonrenewal or termination of a charter;
   36         providing that any facility may provide space to
   37         charter schools under its existing zoning and land use
   38         designations without obtaining a special exception,
   39         rezoning, or a land use change; requiring that
   40         educational impact fees required to be paid in
   41         connection with new residential dwelling units be
   42         designated instead for the construction of charter
   43         school facilities; requiring the Office of Program
   44         Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to
   45         conduct an analysis of charter school capital outlay
   46         and submit a report to the Governor and the
   47         Legislature by a specified date; providing an
   48         effective date.
   50  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   52         Section 1. Section 1002.3301, Florida Statutes, is created
   53  to read:
   54         1002.3301 Charter School Review Commission.—The Charter
   55  School Review Commission is created within the Department of
   56  Education to review and approve applications for charter schools
   57  overseen by district school boards.
   58         (1)The commission shall consist of seven members who have
   59  charter school experience, selected by the Commissioner of
   60  Education and subject to confirmation by the Senate. The
   61  commissioner shall designate one member as the chair. Each
   62  member shall be appointed to a 4-year term. However, for the
   63  purpose of achieving staggered terms, of the initial
   64  appointments, three members shall be appointed to 2-year terms
   65  and four members shall be appointed to 4-year terms. All
   66  subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. A majority of
   67  the members of the commission constitutes a quorum.
   68         (2)The commission has the same powers and duties as
   69  sponsors pursuant to s. 1002.33 in regard to reviewing and
   70  approving charter schools.
   71         (3)The district school board of the school district where
   72  the proposed charter school will be located shall be the sponsor
   73  of and supervisor for the new charter school and shall provide
   74  an initial proposed charter contract to the charter school
   75  pursuant to s. 1002.33(7)(b) within 30 calendar days after the
   76  commission’s decision granting an application.
   77         (4)Within 3 calendar days after an applicant submits an
   78  application for a charter school to the commission, the
   79  applicant shall also provide the application to the school
   80  district where the proposed charter school will be located.
   81  Within 30 calendar days after receiving a copy of the
   82  application, the school district may provide input to the
   83  commission on a form prescribed by the department. The
   84  commission must consider such input in reviewing the
   85  application.
   86         (5)The decisions of the commission may be appealed in
   87  accordance with s. 1002.33(6)(c).
   88         Section 2. Subsection (2), paragraphs (a) and (b) of
   89  subsection (5), paragraph (c) of subsection (7), paragraph (a)
   90  of subsection (8), and paragraphs (c) and (f) of subsection (18)
   91  of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are amended, to read:
   92         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   94         (a) Charter schools in Florida shall be guided by the
   95  following principles:
   96         1. Meet high standards of student achievement while
   97  providing parents flexibility to choose among diverse
   98  educational opportunities within this the state’s public school
   99  system.
  100         2. Promote enhanced academic success and financial
  101  efficiency by aligning responsibility with accountability.
  102         3. Provide parents with sufficient information on whether
  103  their child is reading at grade level and whether the child
  104  gains at least a year’s worth of learning for every year spent
  105  in the charter school.
  106         (b) Charter schools shall fulfill the following purposes:
  107         1. Improve student learning and academic achievement.
  108         2. Increase learning opportunities for all students, with
  109  special emphasis on low-performing students and reading.
  110         3. Encourage the use of innovative learning methods.
  111         4. Require the measurement of learning outcomes.
  112         (c) Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
  113         1. Create innovative measurement tools.
  114         2. Provide rigorous competition within the public school
  115  system to stimulate continual improvement in all public schools.
  116         3. Expand the capacity of the public school system.
  117         4. Mitigate the educational impact created by the
  118  development of new residential dwelling units.
  119         5. Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
  120  including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
  121         (d)It is the intent of the Legislature that charter school
  122  students be considered as important as all other students in
  123  this state and, to that end, comparable funding levels from
  124  existing and future sources should be maintained for charter
  125  school students.
  126         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
  127         (a) Sponsoring entities.—
  128         1. A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
  129  the county over which the district school board has
  130  jurisdiction.
  131         2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
  132  created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
  133  school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
  134  school.
  135         3. Because needs relating to educational capacity,
  136  workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities are
  137  constantly changing and extend beyond school district
  138  boundaries:
  139         a. A state university may, upon approval by the Department
  140  of Education, solicit applications and sponsor a charter school
  141  to meet regional education or workforce demands by serving
  142  students from multiple school districts.
  143         b. A Florida College System institution may, upon approval
  144  by the Department of Education, solicit applications and sponsor
  145  a charter school in any county within its service area to meet
  146  workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading
  147  to industry certifications to eligible charter school students.
  148  A charter school established under subparagraph (b)4. may not be
  149  sponsored by a Florida College System institution until its
  150  existing charter with the school district expires as provided
  151  under subsection (7).
  152         c. Notwithstanding paragraph (6)(b), a state university or
  153  Florida College System institution may, at its discretion, deny
  154  an application for a charter school.
  155         d.The Charter School Review Commission, as authorized
  156  under s. 1002.3301, may solicit and review applications for
  157  charter schools overseen by district school boards, and upon the
  158  commission approving an application, the district school board
  159  that oversees the school district where the charter school will
  160  be located shall serve as sponsor.
  161         (b) Sponsor duties.—
  162         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
  163  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
  164  charter.
  165         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
  166  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
  167  1002.345.
  168         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
  169  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
  170  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
  171  it to raise working funds.
  172         d. The sponsor may shall not apply its policies to a
  173  charter school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and
  174  the charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any
  175  agreed-upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect
  176  at the time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
  177  modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
  178  not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
  179  newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
  180  upon.
  181         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
  182  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
  183  1000.03(5).
  184         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
  185  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
  186  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
  187  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
  188  to the Department of Education.
  189         g. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
  190  under state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
  191  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
  192  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  193         h. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
  194  under state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
  195  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  196         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school do
  197  shall not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
  198         j. The sponsor may shall not impose additional reporting
  199  requirements on a charter school as long as the charter school
  200  has not been identified as having a deteriorating financial
  201  condition or financial emergency pursuant to s. 1002.345 without
  202  providing reasonable and specific justification in writing to
  203  the charter school.
  204         k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
  205  Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
  206  by the department.
  207         (I) The report shall include the following information:
  208         (A) The number of applications received during the school
  209  year and up to August 1 and each applicant’s contact
  210  information.
  211         (B) The date each application was approved, denied, or
  212  withdrawn.
  213         (C) The date each final contract was executed.
  214         (II) Annually, by November 1, the sponsor shall submit to
  215  the department the information for the applications submitted
  216  the previous year.
  217         (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
  218  sponsor, and post the report on its website by January 15 of
  219  each year.
  220         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
  221  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
  222  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
  223  section.
  224         3. This paragraph does not waive a sponsor’s sovereign
  225  immunity.
  226         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
  227  school district or school districts in its designated service
  228  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
  229  These charter schools must include an option for students to
  230  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
  231  Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
  232  preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
  233  institution may operate charter schools that serve students in
  234  kindergarten through grade 12 in any school district within the
  235  service area of the institution. District school boards shall
  236  cooperate with and assist the Florida College System institution
  237  on the charter application. Florida College System institution
  238  applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
  239  deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
  240  district school board at any time during the year. Florida
  241  College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
  242  participating under this subparagraph who receive FTE funding
  243  through the Florida Education Finance Program.
  244         5. For purposes of assisting the development of a charter
  245  school, a school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
  246  agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
  247  municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
  248  within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
  249  behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
  250  issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
  251  permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
  252  needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
  253  charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
  254  district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
  255  include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
  256  that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
  257  must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
  258  the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
  259  providing such services. These services and fees are not
  260  included within the services to be provided pursuant to
  261  subsection (20). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
  262  interlocal agreement between a school district and a federal or
  263  state agency, county, municipality, or other governmental entity
  264  which prohibits or limits the creation of a charter school
  265  within the geographic borders of the school district is void and
  266  unenforceable.
  267         6. The board of trustees of a sponsoring state university
  268  or Florida College System institution under paragraph (a) is the
  269  local educational agency for all charter schools it sponsors for
  270  purposes of receiving federal funds and accepts full
  271  responsibility for all local educational agency requirements and
  272  the schools for which it will perform local educational agency
  273  responsibilities. A student enrolled in a charter school that is
  274  sponsored by a state university or Florida College System
  275  institution may not be included in the calculation of the school
  276  district’s grade under s. 1008.34(5) for the school district in
  277  which he or she resides.
  278         (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
  279  a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
  280  applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
  281  The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
  282  use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
  283  which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
  284  approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
  285  proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
  286  contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
  287  be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
  288  sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
  289  violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
  290  to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
  291  governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
  292  a public hearing to ensure community input.
  293         (c)1. A charter may be renewed provided that a program
  294  review demonstrates that the criteria in paragraph (a) have been
  295  successfully accomplished and that none of the grounds for
  296  nonrenewal established by paragraph (8)(a) have has been
  297  expressly found documented. The charter of a charter school that
  298  meets these requirements and has received a school grade lower
  299  than a “B” pursuant to s. 1008.34 in the most recently graded
  300  school year must be renewed for no less than a 5-year term
  301  except as provided in paragraph (9)(n). In order to facilitate
  302  long-term financing for charter school construction, charter
  303  schools operating for a minimum of 3 years and demonstrating
  304  exemplary academic programming and fiscal management are
  305  eligible for a 15-year charter renewal. Such long-term charter
  306  is subject to annual review and may be terminated during the
  307  term of the charter.
  308         2. The 15-year charter renewal that may be granted pursuant
  309  to subparagraph 1. must shall be granted to a charter school
  310  that has received a school grade of “A” or “B” pursuant to s.
  311  1008.34 in the most recently graded school year 3 of the past 4
  312  years and that is not in a state of financial emergency or
  313  deficit position as defined by this section. Such long-term
  314  charter is subject to annual review and may be terminated during
  315  the term of the charter pursuant to subsection (8).
  317         (a) The sponsor shall make student academic achievement for
  318  all students the most important factor when determining whether
  319  to renew or terminate the charter. The sponsor may also choose
  320  not to renew or may terminate the charter only if the sponsor
  321  expressly finds that one of the grounds set forth below exists
  322  by clear and convincing evidence:
  323         1. Failure to participate in the state’s education
  324  accountability system created in s. 1008.31, as required in this
  325  section, or failure to meet the requirements for student
  326  performance stated in the charter.
  327         2. Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
  328  management due to deteriorating financial conditions or
  329  financial emergencies determined pursuant to s. 1002.345.
  330         3. Material violation of law.
  331         4. Other good cause shown.
  332         (18) FACILITIES.—
  333         (c) Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a
  334  charter school whose charter has been approved by the sponsor
  335  and the governing board, pursuant to subsection (7), is shall be
  336  exempt from ad valorem taxes pursuant to s. 196.1983 and.
  337  Library, community service, museum, performing arts, theatre,
  338  cinema, church, Florida College System institution, college, and
  339  university facilities may provide space to charter schools
  340  within their facilities under the facility’s existing their
  341  preexisting zoning and land use designations without obtaining a
  342  special exception, rezoning, or a land use change.
  343         (f) To the extent that charter school facilities are
  344  specifically created to mitigate the educational impact created
  345  by the development of new residential dwelling units, pursuant
  346  to subparagraph (2)(c)4., some of or all of the educational
  347  impact fees required to be paid in connection with the new
  348  residential dwelling units must may be designated instead for
  349  the construction of the charter school facilities that will
  350  mitigate the student station impact. Such facilities shall be
  351  built to the State Requirements for Educational Facilities and
  352  shall be owned by a public or nonprofit entity. The local school
  353  district retains the right to monitor and inspect such
  354  facilities to ensure compliance with the State Requirements for
  355  Educational Facilities. If a facility ceases to be used for
  356  public educational purposes, either the facility shall revert to
  357  the school district subject to any debt owed on the facility, or
  358  the owner of the facility shall have the option to refund all
  359  educational impact fees utilized for the facility to the school
  360  district. The district and the owner of the facility may
  361  contractually agree to another arrangement for the facilities if
  362  the facilities cease to be used for educational purposes. The
  363  owner of property planned or approved for new residential
  364  dwelling units and the entity levying educational impact fees
  365  shall enter into an agreement that designates the educational
  366  impact fees that will be allocated for the charter school
  367  student stations and that ensures the timely construction of the
  368  charter school student stations concurrent with the expected
  369  occupancy of the residential units. The application for use of
  370  educational impact fees shall include an approved charter school
  371  application. To assist the school district in forecasting
  372  student station needs, the entity levying the impact fees shall
  373  notify the affected district of any agreements it has approved
  374  for the purpose of mitigating student station impact from the
  375  new residential dwelling units.
  376         Section 3. (1) The Office of Program Policy Analysis and
  377  Government Accountability shall conduct an analysis of the
  378  current methodologies for the distribution of capital outlay
  379  funds to charter schools. Based on its analysis, the office
  380  shall recommend any changes to provide an equitable allocation
  381  of capital outlay funds for all public schools. The analysis
  382  must include, at a minimum:
  383         (a) An analysis of the calculation methodology for the
  384  allocation of state funds appropriated in the General
  385  Appropriations Act under s. 1013.62(2), Florida Statutes.
  386         (b) An analysis of the calculation methodology to determine
  387  the amount of revenue that a school district must distribute to
  388  a charter school under s. 1013.62(3), Florida Statutes.
  389         (c) For the most recent 3 years, a comparison of the
  390  charter school capital outlay amounts between the allocation of
  391  state funds and revenue that would result from the discretionary
  392  millage authorized under s. 1011.71(2), Florida Statutes.
  393         (d) Other state policies and methodologies for the
  394  distribution of charter school capital outlay funds.
  395         (2) The office shall submit a report of its findings and
  396  recommendations to the Governor, the President of the Senate,
  397  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1,
  398  2023.
  399         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.